Originally posted by Jørgen
I'm actually a bit puzzled, since to me it seems that there is a great deal of disagreement about what atemi really is.
You and me both. One of the points made in the Shishida/Nariyama book that just came out (yes this is a plug) is that traditionally Atemi in the Japanese martial arts primarily used the soft parts of the body. For example shote (base of the palm) versus a bunched fist. One is also not limited to the hands and feet. Both points are illustrated through five examples of atemi waza shown here
My feeling is that when Ueshiba M. talks about Aikido being [insert your favourite percentage here] atemi he is not limiting it to the very narrow sense of punch in the nose. I am also sure that he varied the number he gave at different times and not for any profound reason. The exact number is not so important.
Secondly atemi definately implies contact. Atemi as feint sure but just shifting your body position requires your opponent to do no more than the same. Again we are talking in the broader sense, not just waving your hand in front of his nose.
Hope this helps.