Re: intuition vs. speed
In Korindo Aikido many technique variations require one step, and the rest is completed based on very sophisticated hip movement. I do not think this is easier for the beginners, if anything, it is much harder, since beginners normally learn from the outside in, e.g. from hands and feet to the center. Beginners find it much easier to perform several more steps then to use their hips. And as a matter of fact, we often use longer variations for teaching them, which are then cut down to minimal movement as they progress on.
The step is often the evasion, often taken towards Uke. In most cases, even when one does not step, he should stay out of the line of the attack. The hip movement is sufficiently strong to base the technique on it without any stepping.
As far as I have seen in other M.A. they have similar approaches with regards to staying out of the line of the attack, based on the foot work and anticipation of the enemy, or if you would prefer, a much shorter mental reaction time (opposed to muscular and neural response times).
The sophisticated hips movement is taught in Korindo by practicing the 8 Tai-Sabaki step types developed by Hirai.