Hi Tony. Agreed on the points of finding least resistance and that it includes atemi.
Partners resisting thus forcing you to find those points and indeed those paths is very good training so no disagreement there.
I got invited to a Yoshinkan seminar many moons ago in Bushey, near watford and watched a great exhibition from Aikidoka from all over. It finished with the great man of Yoshinkan doing his demos which were very humourous and had the audience laughing.
However, due to how I had been trained I came away wondering why the students and most of the teachers used resistance and thus got thrown around like toys. I soon got to meet some of them as they visited our dojo, a lot of them knew my teacher and it was there I found the answer to my question.
They hadn't been taught how to hold without such resistance, how to hold in such a way that was centered, relaxed, yet unenterable by someone attacking or trying to do a technique using force. In other words they hadn't been taught the other side of the coin so to speak.
You could say that when you experience someone holding with full non-resistance you enter a whole new arena for to them they say they feel like they are bumping into a wall or something similar yet to you it feels like you are doing 'nothing' and may I say from the outside it looks so as well.
Now before you jump on me there may I say that on reading your recent comments you have experienced this. That's one thing that made me smile. I mean, if you spent all those years getting up to 4th dan then I knew you must know about this side of things to whatever degree. Am I right?
I teach my students to resist me fully and let them learn from an uke point of view, if they don't quite get it, I then show them where the angle or least point of resistance is and it always gets a giggle and shaking of heads.... It's where the fun is G, call it I/P or whatever, it can only be done from that option in my opinion. I use my son regularly to test my theories on..... He has a sceptical but healthy respect and passing interest for what I can do as he is massively and naturally strong at 20 yrs, 6'2" and weighs 240 lbs.... I move him with ease and he will spot any weakness in my waza straight away. He is able to do the jo trick and the pushing against his head in a sitting position after I taught him Isometrics, which he has taken up fairly recently. I think that once I am able to resurrect a dojo he will want to come and practice..... I hope he does....