Re: Martial Ineffectiveness
Japanese martial arts have a long tradition of linking philosophy/religion with practice but I do think Aikido tends to suffer more of the philosophy dictating the practice rather than growing out of and guiding the practice. This manifests itself at the beginners level and all the way up to instructors.
I still remember being visited in the first dojo I opened up with an earnest young man clutching his little red book (shades of Mao but it was John Steven's) insisting what I was doing was not Aikido. I still wonder how his views changed once he actually started training but the truism is that many people who come to the art already have a very strong opinion what that art is supposed to be.
The principles of Aikido practice are in the waza. The training using paired practice, drills and randori are meant to make those waza martially effective and through them we can incorporate the philiosophy.