We are told that we should be able to do most techniques as evasions, escapes, controls, or throws depending on circumstances.
Exactly! So the main reason for doing so much trowing in class with ukes bouncing all over the mat is the sheer fun of doing this?! (Or maybe lack of knowledge or interest in searching for controlling techniques?) I like your approach better, Bronson - that's also why we pratice like you described, actual throwing being only a very small portion of the curriculum (an approach which is still very true to the heart of Aikido, I believe).
Are there any reasons FOR doing lots of throwing and breakfalls?
Also, what about the high stress of breakfalls on the body (no matter what flooring is used) - shouldn't we be able to do Aikido still even when getting older? Learning to protect ourselves and others should in my POV include taking care of our bodies while training for many years...