Ted Ehara (tedehara) wrote:
Almost all these comments and I include myself among these respondents, are irrelevant to the original question. "Did the founder take out atemi in Aikido?"
In response to Jun and Craig, there are some "strong leads" in the taigi, which I would call atemi. In particular there is a back fist strike, which I have been told is a "lead" because you roll your fist, rather than just letting it drive through the other person's face. Of course you pull back your fist before you actually hit.
I am assuming that a nage would use an open hand to indicate a strike during the execution of a technique. This would indicate an atemi and help maintain correct ma-ai. However most people just do the technique and don't indicate the atemi. Many times, doing the strike breaks up the motion of the technique. In some techniques, the atemi has evolved into a stylized movement.
I'm going to start asking around. Perhaps I'll find something worth reporting.
When I talk about atemi being intrinsic to Aikido I mean a number of things:
a) the possibility
of a physical atemi at any instant b) a strike that has the juice to catch an attacker's attention but may not actually be intended to physically land (you know this but the uke doesn't c) a strike which would land if the uke didn't block it and d) a strike which does land causing pain and / or physical dysfunction
The wider sense of atemi includes anything designed to capture the attention of the uke for an instant or momentarily effect his will to resist: a) kiai as an audible form of sonic atemi b) the "silent kiai", an energetic form of kiai by projecting a sharp intense mental focus outwards at the uke c) anything unexpected which can capture the uke's mind for a second (Joanne Veneziano Sensei in Seattle would sometimes plant a kiss on the cheek of the uke just before she threw him in irimi nage)
All of this comes under the general heading of atemi they way I was taught. If atemi only means the striking of vital points to cause physical pain and dysfunction then one is looking at only the very narrowest of the meanings of atemi. There would certainly be teachers whose Aikido was sophisticated enough that this type of atemi would only account for a relatively small anmount of their practice.