I have also heard it said that aikido is meant to deal with multiple attackers.
Basically, you position yourself to deal with them one at a time and, what I think, is that you aim to go right through them, just like Ellis was explaining with the sword = irimi. Think about it. If you are surrounded by ten mad samurai like in the movies the only thing you can do is cut them all - one at a time. You won't have much time to avoid anything at all. In fact, even the tiniest avoidance will be the death of you - you have no time at all for defence. And as Musashi would say, they way you fight 1 on 1 is no different to the way you fight 1 on 10, or 1000 against 10,000. Anyway, what do I know. Just read Ellis's article again - it is excellent, in my opinion.