Just to toss in my 2 cents, regardless of Aikido techniques, "intention", etc., etc., there are still out-of-the-ordinary strengths that must be developed in real Aikido (and in other Asian arts). If Leon had had training in those strengths he could be more "relaxed" and yet should have still had increased competitive ability against those people of other styles. It should not take "many years" to develop those strengths if there is a good teacher who knows how to do these things (rare) and is willing to teach (even rarer). Using those strengths in the subtleties of Aikido waza, etc., is, of course, another story entirely.... on the other hand, I have a question about how "subtle" anyone's Aikido truly becomes if they don't have appreciable skill-level in those basic strengths.
Here's a short clip of O-Sensei demonstrating various techniques, etc., but interspersed among them are a few direct applications against thigh, hip, and chest pushes that are not "subtle" in the use of waza... they are only subtle (read "experienced" as a better term) in the use of the basic "strengths" that don't require being muscularly strong. These are the specialized strengths and applications that help close the gap against people who have trained in more external modes of fighting.