I haven't read the other replies, so I am going out on a limb here, but this is just my gut reaction:
Wynand van Dyk wrote:
..... Have anyone every played, on their own time or as part of dojo training with strikes? Not in the sense of delivering / defending against them but rather trying to alter the "depth" of the strike, making it penetrate more or diffusing it on the surface of your partner.
I think that you need a partner to practice strikes, you cannot get the correct kind of feedback from a punching bag, I believe that you also dont need to deliver the strikes very hard to get the desired result .....
If you are suggesting that your partner just stands there while you deliver strikes so you can see what happens, I have three words on this idea: DON'T DO IT! Even striking "lightly," there is too much risk of injury for you and a potential partner to risk it. Forget it. Put it out of your mind. It's a bad idea.
Consider the fact that, AFAIK, full contact fighters who, as a regular part of sparring or competing, "receive" and "deliver" hits to each other all the time, don't do the kind of training you appear to be suggesting. They either work the heavy bag or with a parnter who is holding different forms of focus mits, and even that kind of training requires instruction to be done safely. Follow that example.
If I am wrong about what you are proposing, mea culpa. But if I am right, DON'T DO IT! It sounds too freakin' risky to me to even think about it.
... I also want to know what the opinion is of breaking the support / taking the balance of your partner with your legs. Not in the sense of fancy high kicks but maybe dropping a knee into the back of their knee or placing a foot in the spot where you suspect they would want to step to if they wanted to regain their balance and thus foiling their attempt. I understand that tripping and judo style footsweeps are pretty much out of the window when it comes to training Aikido but I believe that being comfortable with using your legs to affect your partner's balance has much worth and should not be ignored.
Opinions and further ideas are welcome.
You have a point, and those are valid techniques, but again, you are playing with techniques that carry a significant risk of injury, especially the knee into the other person's knee. You know what I say on that point? Unless your sensei teaches those techniques, DON'T PLAY WITH THEM! You shouldn't even try without supervision of an instructor who knows those techniques and knows how to do them safely.
Bottom line: Unless you can cross-train under an instructor who teaches the sort of techniques you are interested in, DON'T DO IT! Period.