To have a stab...
Aiki is a unification of center; a grafting of a dominated center onto a dominating center. I am not sure I would use the term "clash" because that implies there is a period of oppositional struggle. There is not. I believe Takeda sensei used to refer to this unification as defeating your opponent in an instant [by glancing at him]. I also believe Ueshiba sensei used a similar reference.
Atari is the point at which centers meet, a confrontation. I like this term better because it leaves out an implied action to follow. This is an older term and I think Endo sensei uses it well; to be fair, several of his students use it also with clarity too, Gleason sensei comes to mind (I think he talks about this topic in one of his books).
So yes, for me aiki has confrontation. Of confronted centers, one will become dominant and others will be dominated. For me, this is what I call kihon - the root of anything we will do in aikido must first begin by unifying and dominating my partner's center. The trick to it is making your center dominate without resorting to "doing" something to your partner.
That part I still disagree on. I get it, I can do it...I don't want it. It makes good "Martial arts" but it's a disaster in a fight.
I aint ever, going to connect to your center. And you're never going to find mine if I can help it.
As I say to people who keep yaking about this "make connect" "center to center" make a fourlegged animal"
"Okay, we are going to make an experiment. You are going to fight.
Lets pretend that the outcome is that if you lose the fight, you lose everythng you own.
Here is Morihei Ueshiba
Your mission is to "Make connect" to his center.
I'm going to go stand in the corner.
So, how's that working out for ya?
Personally I love it that ya''l keep thinking that connecting, center to center is a good thing.
You couldn't convince me to move that way for anything. And honestly once you experience the other way to move, I doubt you would EVER go back.
Aiki and clashing
You may not have to clash doing "Martial arts" You are
going to clash when you fight. Anyone who doesn't think so has never been in a fight with someone who actually knows how to fight
The contact point or points, will be the meeting place.
1. There are reasons that dantian is present at that point.
2. Because it is present the point is supported without localized muscle firing ans weakness
3. Because it is supported aiki can be created with In/yo which can be basic to sophisticated
Now, even if you somewhat suck
There are things you can even do without a developed dantian to pull off aiki to a degree.