Re: "Yes there is kicking and punching in Aikido..."
I agree with alot of the things mentioned in the thread.
For example we used to train without regard to our bodies (bad!), but were also taught striking drills in order that we could deliver a correct attack. In fact I still do these drills - especially with juniors.
Just one other thing; INMHO Aikido is a striking art in that as Tori we should always be in a position to strike Uke. The fact that we don't makes it Aiki DO rather than Aiki jutsu.