Re: Aikido is useless without atemi...
I dunno... "ability to" and "intent/willingness to" are 2 completely different things IMO. One might be willing to do so, under specific, and perhaps life-threatening, circumstances. But whether one has the ability to do so under any given circumstance is a completely different matter. And whether that's "necessary to do so", is yet another matter.
But I think the discussion relating to whether one is able or willing to, seems to be digressing from the premise that aikido, without atemi, is useless... Useless for what? Under what circumstances?
I think the short answer would be "it depends"... on the situation and the variables relevant to that situation.
I like what Dan R wrote... To me atemi is just another set of tools, which also provide a different avenue for study and expression. You don't have to use all the tools in your toolbox, and you wouldn't use the wrong tool for the job either. But knowing which tool to use and how to use it to do the job efficiently and effectively... helps, no?