Re: Aikido does not work at all in a fight.
good stuff Michael. I think you stop worrying about if you are working within the confines of aikido and simply worry if what you are doing is simply effective to reaching your desired endstate or scenario.
What I do is conceptualize a particular scenario, then figure out a strategy for defeating that scenario, it may be something I learned in class, something I heard on the internet, or something I saw in a book.....then I go into the dojo and work on it with several people to see if it will work. I have one guy in particular that is a pain in the butt. If it works on him, then it will pretty much work on anyone. This same guy is not very cooperative and has a real hard time with aikido concepts! (thats another issue and why he doesn't improve in other areas of his training!)
All that said, scenario based training is good to do, however, it really does not fit well into many traditional aikido dojos from my experiences and can really defeat the dynamic you are trying to create in an aikido dojo to teach people aikido principles. That is why you probably don't see much of the grappling going on. it would be disruptive and not serve much function...in fact it would probably be counterproductive to a degree in many situations.
Do aikido principles apply to grappling and fully resistive opponents? Oh you bet they do! Ask Jason Delucia and his dojo. Watch or roll with some of some really good BJJ guys. Omaplata became much easier for me once I realized that it was basically ikkyo with your leg around uke's arm!
as always, i reiterate...make sure you really understand why you are studying what you are studying, question it, and figure out what methodologies accomplish those goals.
I find aikido to be a very, very good practice in refining many of my martial skills. I wish I had much more time to spend on it than I do right now! However, based on what my goals are, aikido does not fill all my needs. again, it has nothing to do with if it works in a fight or not!