1. I feel that Aikido is an effective martial art.
2. I wish that everyone could train with the mindset of the person who started this thread. I truly believe that if we all trained with the concept that this stuff doesn't really work, but it sure is fun, and maybe we can learn some other stuff, we'd all let go of the stiffness that comes about as a result of concern for "what will work". If you train long enough, you just start to believe that it can work, and change the focus a bit to MAKE it more effective. It takes years to get to the point of being a serious enough student to know what is important.