Chuck Clark wrote:
I'm one of the folks who clicked the 100 button.
I think all aikido movements come from and are really sword cuts. Atemi does not mean just striking for an effect from the impact with damage being done. Atemi also means something akin to " stunning with your energy" if that makes any sense.
All aikido principle and waza contains atemi in some way.
I went for 90% just because that was what I was always taught. It is my understanding that atemi is implicit in every technique and that it is only necessary to make it expicit in certain circumstances. The idea of stunning with your energy includes the mere possibility of stunning with your energy. The state of potential that makes the atemi possible is a good part of what cathes the mind of the attacker.
It is the possibility of atemi that produces the physical connection between opponents in Aikido. Everyone always emphasizes the blending aspect of Aikido in which the attacker initiates and the defender blends with the attack. But what happens when the attacker doesn't like the direction that the blend is taking him. Unlike the interaction on the mat with an Aikido partner, a real attacker will seek to cut his energy and either stop the technique or break connection and escape in order to regroup.
Aikido people seem to think that by grabbing the attacker they can keep the attacker from "changing his mind" and hold him in the technique. Just try that against someone who is used to doing traps and stripping traps. Your grab will be defeated in the blink of an eye.
It is the possibility of the atemi on a given line of attack (an opening) that forces the attacker to defend that line and thereby stay connected to the nage. He can't pull his hand away to avoid the lock because that would vacate the line of the atemi and result in his being struck. If he acts to defend the line or opening, the nage might not actually throw the atemi but can use the coinnection to effect a balance break or a lock. What Saotome said was that if your partner knew that you would not strike him he could stop any technique. In other words every technique involves a flow of energy. An attacker could put all his energy into countering a given technique if not for the necessity of keeping his energy or attention spread out to cover the many openings he has. It is the possibility of atemi that forces an attacker not to put all his energy into defeating a given technique. If both partners are trained to recognize this then the atemi can stay implicit and there can be a complex interaction that doesn'r overtly seem to have any atemi. But they are there even if you don't see them.