Re: Did aikido ever fail you?
Can't tell personal stories. The late Kawahara Shihan related stories of sandan aikikai people being held up at knifepoint, while telling us not to depend on our aikido waza. I think because he thought most of us don't "get it"... And we practice at really slow speeds.
When I took my gokyu test I thought I was under HEAPS of control and my uke said "SLOW DOWN" (whispered, of course), since then only the "jiuwaza" parts of my shodan and nidan tests have felt anywhere close to "competitive" speeds (from the judo days)..
I think Kawahara was making the point that we (the "we" at those seminars) were practicing way too slow, and not "clean" enough to cope with anything real life...