Re: What is atemi really for?
What is atemi really for... in aikido training?
To me this is a bit of a chicken and egg situation. If you have aiki and power you can kick, punch, etc. with aiki and power in which case you'd be doing... aikido.
If you have no aiki and power to begin with, no amount of importing striking techniques from karate, muay-thai, boxing, etc., is going to help you gain aiki or the kind of power that Ueshiba or Shioda were using. I see this in many aikido schools -- adding unarmed fighting arts to their curriculum -- which might result in better fighters but not necessarily improve the core aikido skills.
I agree that atemi is extremely important for fighting. But since not all atemi-waza are created for equal purposes, which ones are we supposed to to use in aikido waza/applications? Then you have a wide variety of ate-waza from armed and unarmed koryu -- are we supposed to be using any of that? Which ones are better for aikido waza? Perhaps importing the "wrong" striking technique would technically and tactically make the situation worse (in practical terms)? I guess I'm interested to know of any specific direction O Sensei gave in the matter of atemi other than the quote posted above by Mark Murray.