Re: Martial Ineffectiveness
As everyone else has stated, it all depends on the situation. If you have a gun and I am more than 10 ft away from you I am running my ass off to remove my body from your sight.
If we are talking about physical confrontation with someone with equal or greater martial skill, good strong atemi is very likely the only way you will be able to gain control of your opponents center and execute any aikido technique.
I train and spar with a very talented long time martial artist trained in Ninjutsu from time to time and maybe one out of 7 battles I can control his center and pull off an aikido technique. This is always due to irimi, timing and a quality atemi. Quite frankly he is a far better Martial Artist then I, and he generally kicks my ass all over the place, so I am tickled to death when my timing, Atemi, and Irimi is correct and I can take his center, Hell I am overjoyed when I can land a strike!! *laughs*.
Some drunk yahoo at a bar who's feeling angry and real tough, I feel sorry for them cause they are going to be pinned with their nose to the floor in a couple of seconds after they decide to commit to violence. Anyone with a basic understanding of Aikido body movement and a few techniques under their belt should have no problem defending against a roundhouse punch and taking drunk bar guy to the ground.
Lastly I have to say that I agree I see weak attacks all the time in the dojo. A good attack doesn't have to be fast and strong, or full speed, in fact slow to medium with good intention and ki and good but not intense resistance is an amazing learning tool for how to do a technique properly and know if you have done it correctly. You can just feel when it is right and when you have taken Uke's center.
You don't have to go full speed but you should be trying to hit me, if I am there when the punch lands then that is my fault...