Not really sure about what you mean, but your "binary" approach (go airborne or get hurt) leaves out the duck, parry, block, counter striking, etc options available for when you see an incoming strike. People do what are conditioned to do.
"Bashed out" is a way of saying "typed"...one example, typed, and I was in a hurry at the time.
Yes, there are lots of things a person can do to not get hit. Hit first with 168 grains of copper jacketed lead from 900 m is a good option but that's not the context. Another real good option is to not be where the hit is aimed at when it gets there. When someone's on the street trying to hit me I'd rather be sitting inside, enjoying a nice glass of Guinness or Murphy's, or a Dalwhinnie, or Lagavulin, or a Talisker, or, or...
However - the context was - if "sensei" or "master" is about to take my head off (in an aikido practice), I'm taking ukemi. Ukemi can be hitting the ground (as I mentioned), joining (but that might defeat sensei's demonstration of the technique - or it might just help sensei demonstrate the technique, depending on how the blend/join goes) or countering, but... that wasn't the point.
The point was - the guy's actually got to be a real threat to make contact for me to crank up the ukemi, or he's just waving his arms. Mentalists aside, people can wave their arms all they want until the maai is such that contact is possible...