Re: Atemi and Aikido
In a life threatening situation against probably a bigger, heavier attacker you need to be able to deliver full power atemi to vital points, if you are using atemi in your aikido to defend yourself. Even on soft vital points, your probability of success increases with how hard you can strike those targets, all other things being equal. To deliver the full power strikes requires training at full power strikes. To do the training with a heavy bag (without gloves) or a makiwarra requires some degree of hand conditioning. If your skin on your knuckles breaks or your wrist collapses, or your hand becomes sore after one or two hard strikes against a makiwarra or a heavy bag, then you really can't do the necessary training to develop those strikes. Try hitting a heavy bag or a makiwarra without any hand conditioning, then see how hard that same bag or makiwarra can be hit by someone who conditions their hands (or feet). There is a significant difference in power. I agree that not all atemi requires hand conditioning. Tomiki Sensei identified two types of atemi, one which uses a strike to a vital point and the other which uses a strike to off-balance to effect a throw. The second type does not need the hand conditioning. I also agree that accuracy, timing, speed etc are also extremely important in atemi.