Re: Value of atemi
LC, Kevin, my understanding is quite diffrent. People don't attack when they don't think they can win. Unless you are in a situation, like sparring, someone attacking you is going to give you full energy without any regaurd for if you have atemi or not; they don't know or care because they can kick your butt. The full energy is what is needed to apply a technique. Why would someone attack you harder when they know they can and will be hit?
I agree that if uke grabs you and keeps his center he has not taken his own balance, but why does he have to? If he grabbed you you have been given energy. He is either going to pull his energy back or extend more foward via push or strike. Him grabbing you staying centered means nothing. If he has grabbed you and kept his center, he is harmless until he pushes or pulls, at which point his spine will either elongate or compress, either way you can take him. Granted, a quick strike to his throat and he will be as helpless as a baby if you want to try and kote gaeshi him from static motion, but he MUST apply more energy to you to accomplish his goal.
My argument is not that atemi are worthless, I am just debating where they belong in Aiki arts.