After speaking/training with a variety of Aikido folks in different styles over time, I have met a recurring concept that feels a bit strange to me.
Often, whenever the question of effective application of Aikido comes up, many folks immediately state that atemi is crucially
important, if not the be all and end all of effective Aikido. In fact I have found that this reliance on Atemi for effectiveness sometimes comes without a thorough examination of other elements of engagement that may be as, if not more useful to rendering effective technique.
To me, it is as if many use atemi to make up for poor tai sabaki, timing, ma ai control and kuzushi. Iow, if they had spent the time developing these other areas of applying technique, this reliance on atemi alone for effectiveness may not be so high.
In my experience, proper timing and kuzushi have been much more empowering in applying effetive technique, with the option for atemi always there in case it is needed. Even this is funny, as often these folks (mostly yudansha) think of atemi as a mere strike to a vital point without the acompanying disruption of balance that imho is so important in making atemi effective.
This just occurred to me recently when cross training with some folks.