Re: how long does it take aikido to work
About six months after you realise it's not about technique and start being all freestyle with what you know from learning the various kata with atemi.
The bit that Aikidoka seldom get to is the bit where they figure out what they can do with what they know. So they can do an awesome irimi nage but they never really think about what all the different elements needed for a good irimi nage mean they can now do.
The other thing is that people always like to introduce limitations into what they're doing because "It's not Aikido". Like you have to do irimi nage, you can;t use the irimi movement, put a rear naked choke on or drag them to the ground and ground them and pound them or drop on them with both knees.......the possibilities are pretty much endless but it's not what sensei taught so somehow it's not Aikido or something, supposedly or it's not what Aikido is about. People like to squeeze their Aikido into a box but Aikido is like lego: you don't have to make what's on the front of the box, you can make whatever you like.
O Sensei said that Aikido is the art where "we try not to kill people" so if you've managed to avoid killing them it's all good as I see it.