What makes this "self-defense" and other aikido not? This is just as static and just as contrived as anything in any aikido dojo.
Do not know what or where you trained in your own training.When I was in San Diego Aikikai for example , studying with Chiba Sensei /Murashige Sensei there was nothing static or contrived when you practiced in that particular dojo. If you think that this is typical of the vast majority of aikido dojos maybe you should get about more???Cheers, Joe.