Ted Ehara (tedehara) wrote:
I had a chance to talk to my chief instructor Eley Sensei about the Ki Society tagi. He noted that the strikes in the taigi were large, observable strikes designed to get a reaction from the uke. Actual atemi is shorter and should not be noticed until it lands. So perhaps that is why tagi "atemi" can be called "strong leads".
He also noted that there was a definite change from Aiki Budo to Aikido. The pre-WWII art had atemi while the post-WWII art didn't emphasize atemi and took it out of the teaching curriculum. You might assume that this was the founder's doing. Since K. Tohei mentioned that atemi got in the way with learning a technique's movement, you might also assume that this was a reflection of the founder's thoughts.
I have the utmost respect for Eley Sensei, but since he started Aikido in the 1960's, he really hasn't any way of knowing this other than by second-hand stories.
Taigi wasn't created till the late 1970's and has certainly undergone some evolution since then.
I have been taught variations of taigi that would meet Eley Sensei's definition of atemi (unnoticed until it lands) by Ki Society teachers more senior than him. They may not be the current form that would give you a high score in a taigi competition but they do (did) exist. Taigi itself actually is not considered self-defense or martial art so much as
the filtered pure core essence of aikido where Shin Shin Toistu Do is expressed.
An obvious example of atemi that comes to mind is a short quick thrust inserting the second joint of the middle finger between two ribs as you pass through on technique 5 of taigi 3 (Yokomenuchi Kokyunage Sudori Nage) giving uke a sharp jolt create weight upperside.
Tohei Sensei over the last thirty years has been constantly evolving his ideas. I am not sure that you could ever make the assumption that what Tohei Sensei says is necessarily a reflection of the founder's thoughts. Tohei Sensei very much has his own ideas about aikido.