with all this said and done, the point is if u dont use atemi in your practice, then u are grossly limiting yourself. to say that training should solely be focused on energy movement, well you are missing a part of the training. i think Aikido is about options and control. the option to soften technique to allow no harm befall uke, but to remain in control. but on the same token have the option to "deal out the business end of a technique." atemi is a much a part of Aikido as energy is. even if you choose not use atemi waza as an Aikido practitioner; you ought to be aware of the possibilty to interject an atemi. atemi is but another asset by which nage can use to control and guide uke. and once again atemi is a good tool to buy time and re-direct uke's focus and intent
the way i feel is that the more tools u have in the shed the better. and all training is good training if u keep your mind open. something is to be had everytime u step on to the mat. i find i never train the same way twice. in our dojo we change partners often, so there is time to sample all the different types of training and the different paces of training. and i value the "snot-knocking" training as much as the soft, more flowing training. as both are essential to my growth in Aikido. its the same i feel about atemi, sometimes its need and should be used and other times it should not be the focus where balance and timing and flow are trying to be taught.
but hey what do i know. and those that know; know