Atemi accounts for 99% of Aikido.
--Traditional Aikido written by Morihiro Saito
Here's another interesting quote also attributed to O'Sensei.
In a real battle, atemi is seventy percent, technique is thirty percent.
--The Founder of Aikido, Morihei Ueshiba written by Ueshiba Kisshomaru
It is certainly possible that O'Sensei said both these things at different times. Both of them point to the importance of atemi, striking, to the effective use of Aikido. Atemi was the focus of last night's class, with an emphasis on responding to a boxing style attack.
Because it's one thing to execute a flowing kokyu-nage with a known attack and a compliant uke. It would be an entirely different thing to meet a real attacker throwing a series of jabs and crosses. Once again I am left wondering if I know anything about this art at all.