Re: Value of atemi
I think the whole value of aikido is the fact that it can show us applications more so figuratively than literally. That is, we can interpret the meaning through reaching a deeper understanding of the causes, effects, and the options available in resolving conflict.
That said, in order to reach this deeper understanding, we need to honestly and fully explore as much as possible conflict, in aikido we explore the physical causes and attempt to link them to the many other mental and spiritual aspects as well.
What is important in our learning, no matter how we eventually interpret it, is that atemi is real as possible in the parameters in which work with it.
Anything short of that...we are not being honest with ourselves or uke...and that will cause problems in our ability to grasp the messages of aikido honestly.