Re: Value of Atemi (when & how often)
What is Atemi? Atemi is what ever you do to off-balance your opponent. That (IMHO) does not necessarily require punching. A very good Atemi is, a split second before the grab is preformed by Uke (like Katate-dory) fake a flinch, a hop or a small drop. Many times this will startle even a veteran enough to get his balance. The fake flinching is a 100% legitimate Atemi just as if you punched him on the nose.
The speed between the strike and the following technique should be appropriate. Example, when performing Koshi-Nage one may want to punch the face, the Uke will bend backwards and then compensate forwards before regaining balance. It is the forward bend that you want, so being too quick to enter the technique will not do.
We thrive to do everything right and full heartedly. Using Half-Assed punches is not good Aikido. When training with someone that is giving me a brush on my Gi rather then a good punch I (sometimes) stop and let them punch me in the gut or kick my legs until I feel Uke does it properly before we proceed with the actual technique.