Re: Why Aikido has such strange strike defense.
The aikido techniques done in paired practice have zero use in and of themselves outside of the dojo. They are not street fighting or self defense techniques. Their purpose is for training on applying aiki in a paired practice setting (training aiki itself is a whole separate thing). It teaches you to move freely, in opposition with yourself, while standing on the floating bridge of heaven. The ultimate goal, and the martial implications of all this, is to attain what O-sensei called "Takemusu Aiki' - where when you move, technique happen spontaneously. Because when you move aiki is present at every point on your body, with no one able to stop you. They are defeated on contact.
This is the Way of Aiki. The way of freedom.