Alright, against every gut instinct in my body I am going to add my two cents...
I am going to do this because for over a decade of toiling through the Aikido dojos in my area I struggled to find a form I thought would not get me killed in a fight. It was a very lonely and discouraging journey that I had begged, in vain, for help on.
So anyone seeking a more practical Aikido, this post is intended for you. I have nothing against the spiritual side of Aikido and do not mean to offend if I accidently do so.
Now, let me start off by saying I don't have all the answers. However, I would like to share what I have learned so far:
The first thing learned when seeking a more practical Aikido was different attacks. So yes, IF you are seeking a more practical Aikido, in my experience, the attacks need to change.
In our dojo, kicks, combos and quick punches to the face are far more prevalent than grabs, and performed like you would punch a real opponent (especially the recoil after the strike).
Deflections are used to control the line and keep from eating an attack when the opponent's strikes are faster than your feet can move you off the line.
We still use the standard Shomen, Yokomen, and all the grabs (it is afterall still aikido), but the strikes are executed a bit differently. In fact, Shomen and Yokomen are performed in our dojo as deflections and counterstrikes. This does not matter whether attacking or defending. The motion is the same, so Uke should not be just throwing his arm out there, he should be practicing a very tight and precise strike that can also be a counter attack.
Hard to explain, but at about the 10 second mark on this video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wb_lU4AC9vg
) is a demonstration of a Yokomen counter strike used in defense of a roundhouse punch.
Good striking opens other doors as well, like learning to use your opponent's defenses against them. The first 3:50 of this video demonstrates that: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XuTHn_gIiGo
This is just my take on Aikido and the importance of attacks.