We spend a lot of time questioning whether the art is effective or not but I'm not really sure what constitutes effectiveness. I think the tendency is to think we must be able to whip all the folks in all the other arts or it isn't effective. In other words, if one Gracie jiu jitsu dude can kick our butts, our art sucks. I'm not so sure on this one, so just for whatever's sake, here's some questions/thoughts I had on effectiveness.
If you got into it with someone, and significantly hurt them (broke something or worse). Is your aikido effective?
If you escaped an attack unharmed (or significantly less harmed than you might have been), while only getting off the line, is your aikido effective?
What if you got off the line before the attack even began by just being more aware of someone's intent. In other words, the attack never happens. Is your aikido effective?
What if because of your aikido practice you responded differently in a verbal confrontation. Is your aikido effective?
What if you learned something about yourself through your training but you never physically use your aikido. Is your aikido effective?
What if because of all the blending and connecting that most of us do in our practice, you found yourself able to be more open, receptive and willing to listen to your mother, girlfriend, boss, whatever? Is your aikido effective?
[Edited by Erik on March 8, 2001 at 11:23am]