Re: Aikido does not work at all in a fight.
O-Sensei devoted the last part of his life to creating what he called 'Warriors for Peace'.
He lost many of his pre-WWII students to violent deaths in that conflict. I think he came to the conclusion that having a martial art that just trains somebody to fight and best someone else as physical combat was pointless.
Wouldn't it be better to develop martial arts into something that would defend and protect life instead of harming life and taking it?
During the War he moved to Iwama and I think he was already thinking along these lines.
He could envision a martial art where through skilled training a person could face a violent event and resolve it peacefully without any harm coming to himself or the other person/s.
Having watched his country start a war to 'prove' it's great destiny and then suffer horribly from consequences, I think O-Sensei knew well how precious life is because he saw alot of it destroyed for pointless reasons.
George is absolutely correct that someone who looks at Aikido soley as a 'fighting style' and gauges it's effectiveness in a street hand to hand combat situation is only seeing the tip of an iceberg. There is so much more to Aikido than 'can I win a fight with it?'.
Study Aikido diligently for many years, and the question becomes: "How would I ever get into a fight in the first place?"
Ever notice how some people just seem to always be drawn into conflicts with others, whether verbal or physical? Every time you turn around they've got a new feud going with somebody.
Ever notice how some people never seem to get into any sort of conflict at all, no matter how long you've known them, even though they've often been in the same type of situations as the first person described above?
Some people are always 'out of harmony' with others, while some people, no matter who they are with or what is going on, seem to be 'on the same wavelength' with everyone no matter how different they are.
Beyond the physical throwing and locking, Aikido does have something to teach people in this regard; I know because I've experienced it. It is far more than just a 'fighting system'. It's an art that can teach you to seek harmony with even the most unharmonious of people.