I just happened to browse Aiki-web and came across this old topic. I agree with what you said. I would even venture to say that not just Aikido (where Uke actually helps the Nage to complete the throw..kata) but for practical purposes, a real fight regardless of reason, is totally different from inside a dojo. I believe that their is no way to explain it except to experience it. When I was young in HK, different schools of martial arts would meet in roof tops in the evening to fight it out like MMA just so that the students can experience what it is like in a real situation. In my opinion and ONLY my opinion and not intended to offend anyone or any dojo, Aikido as most of us practicing it today would be "killed" in a real fight unless we learn Internal Power and Aiki and the principle of Yin-Yang etc. as O-Sensei envision it. Then and only then can Aikido be what it is supposed to be..... a very effective fighting "peace-warrior" art. Even then, all things being equal, one has to abandon oneself in a real fight to win. It is not easy to do in this day and age regardless of reason to fight.