Atemi has historically been an integral part of aikido and I find it good we are starting to get more interest in the topic. Stanley even mentioned it recently.
I have found in training students that some prior knowledge of a striking art helps them pick up atemi easier. With no prior training they have to be instructed in how to even throw a basic punch. With prior knowledge, it seems to me it is easier for the student to understand suki (openings) and integrate the strike or punch in the flow of the the defensive aspect of the technique.
Just my $.99.