George S. Ledyard wrote:
Since Jun in his wisdom has opted for another controversial poll, I'd be ineterested in finding out a bit more about the backgrounds of the respondents. Are they instructors, with whom did they train, do they think Aikido is a martial art or not, ....?
First let me "answer the mail":
o I'm not an instructor. I'm an ikkyu testing for shodan in a couple of weeks. I lead one class per week and any class that the instructor can't make. I've been leading the one class for two years and any class the instructor can't make for five years. These are unhappy circumstances due to there being no one else to fill the void. One has to make do with what one has.
o My instructor is Ron Myers Sensei. He was a student of Donald Moriyama Sensei of Pearl City Aikikai in Hawai'i. He has been training since 1972. Our practice is nominally of the Iwama school.
o I've never trained with any other Aikido instructor for any length of time. I have trained in collegiate style wresting, chinese kick boxing (their term, not mine) and karate.
o For me, Aikido is a martial way. As such, again just for me, it needs must have a martial art aspect. Everyone else is welcome to practice in their own way.
Now on to the meat of the question:
I can't even remember if I took part in the poll or not. I looked at the question and found it very hard to answer.
To me Aikido is using every means available to bring about resolution of conflict with the minimum harm to all parties involved (including me!).
As such, in some cases Aikido might be 100% atemi. IOW, if my, atemi to a vulnerable part of an aggressor's anatomy ends the conflict, then to me it's certainly still Aikido.
OTOH, if someone gets an attitude that looks like it's leading up to physical confrontation and I verbally blend with them and end the conflict with 0% atemi, then it's certainly still Aikido.
Looking at it in another way, during training whether the technique being practiced explicitly includes atemi or not, and just for the record, most of ours do, I'm always looking for atemi; either to apply or to defend from. I guess to extend that idea, whether I'm nage or uke, I'm always looking for holes to exploit.
I also don't think that an atemi necessarily has to connect to be atemi or to be effective. It just has to generate a reaction. E.g., my favorite randori/jiyuwaza technique is to shoot a tegatana to uke's face in ai hanmi and get them to parry it with their leading hand leading directly to ikkyo. This as the canonical form of shomenuchi ikkyo in the Iwama kihonwaza, BTW.
Oh, well, I've practiced enough kuchiwaza for the evening.