Re: Aikido as an actual Martial Art
First, I believe aiki is an effective tool in many martial arts and I believe aikido is a great foundational education in aiki with a great selection of waza that are found in many other arts. It's not like what we do is drastically different from many similar throws or locks you will find in judo, jujutsu or karate.
I think you can be over-invested in the kata of aikido. I think you can be under-committed to your training. And I think you can be isolated in your exposure to a great world of martial arts. Aikido does have people who commit these sins; other arts have similar offenders, too. If your critique is "aikido people do not train enough and they do not condition their bodies enough", then that may be true. But that is a critique of the person, not the art.
Second, kata is a different process than what other arts call randori. Much of our training is kata oriented, not randori. Kata in not bunkai (applied) fighting. If your critique is "aikido people do not practice enough randori," then that may be true. But that is a critique of the dojo curriculum, not the art. My opinion is that good kata will teach you the technique shapes, which you can then execute in a fight.
Your aikido training does not need to stop when class ends. Visit a judo dojo, or karate dojo. Put some gloves on and spar. Hit the gym. Just because you saw someone in aikido who does not reflect your self-image does not mean you cannot work towards realizing your self-image.
Aikido is dangerous. Many arts are dangerous. Walking on a slippery sidewalk is dangerous. We have a rule in class that if nage can use atemi, so can uke. The distillation of aikido kata was designed to focus developing aiki. The reason there is no fighting in aikido is because it is difficult to manifest aiki in a fight. The learning process of aikido is not to win a fight, it's to manifest aiki. There is no rule that you cannot fight in aikido. There are many people to use their aikido in other sports like judo and karate.
Having been on the wrong end of some people who do aiki I will tell you, yes, it is dangerous. Probably moreso than putting on pads and sweating out a good sparring session with some rules and protective gear. But that is what makes sport fighting something that can be practiced regularly. Enjoy what you have in your art and don't worry about that grass that looks greener on the other side of the fence.