Re: Why do we do it?
Everyone does things for different reasons. Thousands of people paint and have no desire to be Rembrandt. Many own and like to shoot guns, but will never have the skill or composure of a soldier.
Aikido, IMO, was never about fighting. A martial art at it's core, budo? Sure, but not fighting. The day Ueshiba said aikido was an art for everyone, it was no longer simply about fighting.
An MMA fighter could likely raise similar questions about what he does.
There are degrees to everything.
or you can always use the out of "what exactly do you mean by a fight?". It's a tired out, but it's also a valid one. I've used my aikido in fights, but to some, those instances don't qualify as a fight. It has to be some more realistic version of MMA, but you could easily respond to that by comparing it to what a soldier has to contend with and if you aren't going that far, you're still wasting your time.
As I said, there are degrees to everything and society affords us that luxury.