Should power be put into punches and blocks? From what I've seen in aikido, punches and blocks are like a dance - no power. You couldn't block a real punch. Or execute a real punch.
Upper punch, punch up - above my head (not at it) and I'll simulate a block. Gimme a break!
Aikido punches are for setting up uke/nage period. Don't fool yourselves.
Do what you do best ... don't punch! Or train for it.
Jim, I don't know if you're meaning to be insulting, however I doubt that.
This is probably just due to the fact that you've either witnessed a beginner's class, or has been to an unbelievably horrible dojo.
Or you have bad eyesight (like myself).
Either way, you seem to be disappointed in what you saw.
Again, I don't know what you saw, but at our dojo we always aim for the forehead, with a certain sincerity/power to the strike, even when it's done slowly, so that if the person didn't block, you actually hit them.
You don't wait for the nage to block, you just trust that they can, or if they can't then they might get an imprint of your hand on their forehead
And we do practice punches.
Of course we're not really all that concentrated on crushing someone's skull with a punch, but rather intercepting one and using the attacker's lack of stable base at that moment to subdue them.
Of course, all my explanations are for nothing, due to 2 facts :
1) You must participate yourself instead of watching. And yes everyone will tumble for you and expect you to tumble for them in the beginning, for yours and their mutual safety.
I remember when I was naive enough to ask some of the ranked students to "throw me faster" because I felt somewhat insulted that they were still baby-sitting me.
Let's just say I won't be making that mistake again.
2) I've only been studying for a year and I don't know jack
Someone from my dojo is probably reading this and having a good laugh at how I try to explain stuff which I don't know myself