I'm not upset by reality checks. That's why I've hung with many different kinds of arts/practitioners over the years. But here's a reality check of a different kind. Work with a good BJJ practitioner, or a good Wing Chun person, or several arts - or a boxer who has been hit a thousand times - and see how far your atemi gets you, or what the ultimate results are.
Exactly the reason one should take Atemi practice seriously. With practice it can be very effective and you MUST use Atemi in your practice if you expect your Aikido to be effective against other Martal Arts. To say it can be effective without it is to ignore reality.
That being said there are many ways to Apply it in Aikido and I have found the Tomiki, Shodokan, Yoshinkan, Iwama, and our Style ( Shoji Nishio) equally effective in the hands of a good Aikidoka.
Hopefully there will be another Aiki-Expo soon and I can get a good taste from some of the other flavors of Atemi from unique teachers like John Goss and others.