Re: Introduction + The missing Atemi
I have heard several individuals make the qualified claim that the explicit use of atemi is not required to train aikido, provided uke respected the implied use of atemi. George Ledyard's article on striking still remains one of the best articles on atemi; in it he not only advocates for its presence in aikido, but outlines the uses of atemi in training. Separating the absence of striking knowledge from the abstinence of striking is important, too.
Second, I think there is distinction between [your] ability to receive force and [your] ability to exert force. Striking is an exertion of force. The assumption of predatory response is going to suggest that victim selection is based upon a favorable odds of success. To avoid victimization, we do what we can to tips the odds. Striking is a tactic can can do this, independent of our ability to receive abuse during the attack.
Third, the physical advantages of size and power are important considerations. The separation of weight and power is common not just in combat sports, but athletics in general. Also, there is also separation by experience in combat sports and athletics. So we are not just claiming that you cannot be bigger or stronger, but also more experienced. We sometimes do not give this the proper consideration because a PR point of aikido is the fact that "size does not matter."
Aikido is a creative solution to deal with that fact that God cursed me to be average size, which puts me on the radar for predators. The best I can do is work towards keeping that scale tipped in my favor.