For sure, Maggie, you're right - I guess what I was really thinking about is, I haven't seen much actual, real teaching out there about "painless Nikkyo" - mostly I see just hard joint locks that are either designed to be painful, or have to be because there's nothing else to them that would make them otherwise....
Sometimes techniques hurt, but it has always been made very clear to me that pain compliance is a crutch, and center control is preferred above it.
I know that ever since I began Aikido my instructors and my Sensei have promoted this principle. (I have found memories of working on yonkyo with my Sensei. The Yonkyo is never painful for my fiance, because of how he's built. My Sensei threw him regardless and explained that it shouldn't matter if you can get the pain, it should work with just technique. In fact people like my fiance should be a good enough reason to learn not to rely on pain compliance.)
Also from my training experience(for what it is worth), our Shidoin and Shihan have promoted this principle as well. I frankly am very appreciative to have access to this level of teacher. That includes my Sensei, our Shidoin and Shihan.