Re: back to basics, punch
I can train for self-defense. I can train for "martial" correctness. I can train to learn to imbalance someone. I can train to win a fight. I can train to beat the snot out of a black belt in any number of styles. Each purpose is best served by a different style of attack.
I can accomodate my nage if he or she is training for one of those purposes. The attack I give will be in line with what they want to work on. But when my body hits the mat, what I will have given them in each case is a puzzle to work out. The pieces of the puzzle are the mass of my fist (and body behind it), the acceleration I impart to the strike through my efficient use of body mechanics and muscle, and the directional vectors my fist follows. The gift of energy is a huge physics word problem.
So yes, I should punch "well", but only as far as my nage's needs are met.
Lots of folk train for self-defense. They are not as served by facing a dispassionate, perfectly performed oi-zuki as they are by an off-balanced, poorly timed haymaker coming out of the deep south. The skill level of attack I see the most of in aikido class is pretty much the skill level of attacks I see when I am bouncing. Crappy punches that will mess a person right the hell up if they land.
The really funny thing is that my dojo is blessed with a godan in aikido who is also pretty far up there in a hard style striking art. His attacks are virtually indefensible. Really hard to stop him from reaching out and touching a person, anywhere, anyhow, anywhen he wants. And I have rarely if ever seen him throw a "correct" punch of the sort this thread is about. A whole different look at power, purpose and alignment. And it looks really wrong to a classic puncher.
I think it boils down to sensei (also ranked well in both aikido and a hard style) not telling me my attacks suck and showing me how to do them better.