Ahh, suckered into yet another one of "these" discussions.
I think when Ueshiba Sensei founded aikido, he developed a system derived from daito ryu aikijujutsu that could be practiced vigorously and without "pulling" the techniques, as would be necessary when practicing many older-style techniques that involve breaking the joint. This is purely my hypothesis, but I bet in older days different jujutsu schools were able to actually practice these bonebreaking techniques. They would have prisoners and the like to practice on, and most definitely not themselves. It is my understanding that samurai would test the effectiveness of armor and weapons against prisoners. So in the old days, they wouldn't have to "pull" the techniques, because they weren't practicing against each other. You couldn't really do that in a dojo these days, there'd be no students left after one day of practice. However, it would be one's own folly to think that aikido techniques can't be used to break a joint, or that an aikidoka can't strike. Though maybe many aikidoka do not have effective striking skills, this is a product of poor training methodology, and not the art. But I don't believe strong atemi skills to be necessary, I'll get to that in a bit.
So here's another instance of aikido getting shit slung at it, by an outsider, observing the "weak attacks" and complex movements to be ineffective. When attending an iaijutsu demonstration about a month back, the sensei made a point of relating how samurai schools would hide their techniques within the kata, and broke down a two-person bokken kata, showing what the "outsider" sees, and what the practitioner would actually do in a combat situation. It was really cool to see, and quite informative. Dare I suggest it?? Could this be true in aikido as well, or is it unique among Japanese arts in that it has no secrets? This question has me reexaming aikido from the ground up, and has been yeilding some interesting results.
I also take issue with the statement, "this is not your mother's aikido," in reference to certain styles which the Painbringer evidently deems ineffective. O'Sensei was hardly a feeble old lady, and styles based off of his teachings when he was in his later years of his life are far from ineffective. Which of the shihans did he ask to introduce Aikido to the western world again?? I can say that I am not at that point in my training where I can be sure what I am doing is 110% combat effective (I've always wanted to make the stupid 110% cliche, thanks for indulging me), but who, in any art, can make such a claim. Dojo versions of throws teach balance, principle, and discipline-it's easier to teach one to shorten up a technique than to lengthen it, IMHO. In my club we have made a consorted effort to up the intensity, resistance, etc. and I will admit it can be quite frustrating at times. I'm still very new to the art in a relative sense, and realise how many aikidoka practice their art is pretty flawed, but then again, how is that different from most arts (point sparring anyone??)
Anyway, if anyone is actually interested in aikido, genuinely interested, I challenge you to go check it out. Hopefully you will be lucky enough to have a good dojo in your area. If not, well, too bad, maybe your situation will change some day. A good friend of mine, ex-Navy, and a bouncer at a big KC club, had similar criticism of aikido as those that are offered in this thread and on this website. I finally got him into practice, and, being a big guy and experienced in martial arts, at his request we didn't really "hold back." After having the wind knocked out of him multiple times and eating the tatami (not literarly) at least as often he's coming back, and loving it. He's a strong guy, and is helping us all improve by his presence.
The moral of the story, I guess, is don't flop as an uke. You're doing no one a favor, and it invites this sort of nonsensical criticism of aikido. I don't really care to change the mind of those who already have their minds made up about aikido, especially when they haven't been on the mat, but misinformation may keep those away from aikido who aikido would be a great benefit to. It certainly isn't for everyone, nor would I want it to be, but most of the criticisms that I've read are pretty much BS if aikido is being practiced as I believe it should be.
Anyway, enough with my rant.