A question of practicality
I'm new to this forum but I've been around a bit; I don't want to step on any toes, but I have some concerns meant to get us talking in constructive ways:
1) Even (or especially) in aikido jyu-waza it seems that attacks are necessarily prearranged;
2) Kicks as attacks are virtually nonexistent;
3) Even a novice karateka has an idea about how to fake (i.e. how to disguise his intentions) and the whole concept of aikido depends on the obviousness of uke's intention, so that a novice karateka can easily fool an advanced aikidoka in jyu-waza;
4) In aikido there is no such attack as a reverse punch (that is, a punch with the arm opposite to the leading leg - arguably the most powerful punch in the karate repertoire);
5) The most advanced aikido techniques rely the most heavily on uke following the above rules - in addition, of course, to uke's advanced ability in ukemi;
6) Thus aikido is almost the least practical of the Japanese unarmed martial arts.
7) Even given all this, none of it matters, in that it is ultimately the state of mind of the practitioner which is paramount, PERIOD. Practicality should simply not be a concern - or, if it is, it must ALWAYS be subordinate to the supreme concern - zen, as we understand it, in technique.
I believe that we all wrestle, or have wrestled, with the question: how practical is this endeavour of mine? Some wrestle all their lives. But the truth is, every martial art follows its own set of rules - aikido, boxing, karate, 'shoot' fighting, and full-contact included - and to worry about things like which set of rules is most martially comprehensive just ends in depression. If we just 'let go' and devote ourselves to our own practice we end up much happier. In fact, if I were to do it all over again, I think I might choose something like kendo or iaido where practicality is a non-issue from the get-go. Then at least this undignified and ultimately unnecessary wrestling is nipped before the bud; it's not even in the program.