Re: Did aikido ever fail you?
not trying to be difficult but I guess it all depends what you consider failure? By failure do you mean the inability to restrain an attacker or successfully defend yourself from harm, or do you mean the inability to use Aikido as practised in the dojo on the street? For example today at AJJ I was practising sitting Nidan kata. Surware waza is incredibly difficult to apply to a real life scenario because the paradigm of the kata is so historically specific. Would I ever have need of it in a self-defence situation? Perhaps not. Nevertheless I love learning it because it teaches you that have to remain calm and relaxed and how this is the key to the successful execution of the waza. That has application to how you react to hostile or volatile situations in the street.
If on the other hand you are referring to times when you have attempted to use Aikido in self-defence but failed, I think many martial artists might choke under the pressure and adrenaline surge of a real life attack. I don't have any personal experience of being in a street fight, but one of the guys I've trained with does - he was jumped by a gang of guys who thought he was cheating on one of their girlfriends. They surrounded him and started to punch him and beat him with tools they were using as weapons. He didn't fight back but said he never panicked and remained calm that in the end the thugs ran off after seeing they were unable to intimidate him. He put his calmness down to his AJJ training. I guess you could consider this a failure as he didn't employ his experience but I found this story rather inspirational, I guess if they had been more serious about harming him he may have felt the need to defend himself, but in the situation he didn't feel it was the right thing to do.