Good points....However (and with all due respect) Most don't suffer from such philosophical or tactical confusion (For example Shoji Nishio didn't nor do some other important Shihan) only practical application with intent. And while the whole "Aiki power" argument has certain important merits it suffers from a lack of competent experienced teachers to teach it and to infer that folks should not step outside of Aikido in order to improve aspects of their practice including "Aiki" power is self defeating.
I've read all the discussions about "aiki" power and agree with most of them so let's not beat a dead horse...If you need to go to a boxing or MMA class to learn how to "atemi" or Chinese IMA class to experiance "Aiki" by all means go. Make the use of all the best resources available to improve your Aikido. Nishio Ryu practitioners are encouraged to do this since and as far as I know O'Sensei never objected to it either...Aikido should go "back to the future" and include Aiki and should also improve it's syllabus and continue to evolve.
Your Aikido journey should be on the widest possible path of experience...
"In order for Aikido to be considered (a) budo it must be effective against other Martial Arts."-Shoji Nishio Shihan.
I agree with some of your points, especially your final quote
. While I'm all for going outside the aikido establishment to get core aiki and power skills (as there are common baseline skills present in various Asian arts), when we talk about atemi-waza we're talking about techniques, and techniques tend to be bound by art (era-, place- and context-specific); thus my question: which atemi techniques to use in Aikido training? Any? Some? None? And most importantly, why?
Being reliant on disrupting an aikido "uke" with atemi is I must say (and again with respect) something I tend to question (I am not
disregarding it, we often use it in our aikido training) as there is very little to no fighting back from uke's part in response to these atemi, not to mention I often see "atemi" as a scapegoat or default strategy to make up for lack of connection/aiki. Many times atemi is shown in aikido as a highly disruptive or "finisher" move, it assumes an uke being startled or undone by things than in other training paradigms or arts, well, it wouldn't happen (no matter how new age-y or purportedly badass any aikido style claims to be, the fact remains that it's still reliant on an uke-nage training paradigm and thus a limited test ground for technique or combat efficiency. Sure, Koryu has kata, but at least they are very specific about ate-waza. The how, when, where and why of ate-waza in koryu is well-documented, consistent and demonstrable, so introducing a "foreign" atemi waza would have to go through some rigorous scrutiny before being adopted -- not saying people in aikido aren't going through similar scrutiny when using atemi, I'm only looking for information regarding the theory behind it.
And not to beat a dead horse as you say, but I'd like to add that at the body level, some common uses of the arms, legs and hips when striking might actually run contrary and be counter-productive to certain aiki and power-building goals. So I htink it's very important to consider the how
of atemi in aikido at the fundamental body level.