George S. Ledyard
This actually ties in with the whole Aikido is not about fighting issue... Saotome Sensei doesn't "fight" with you. He does not "contend", he does not "defend".
He accepts an attack. He joins with it. This takes place before the attacker even starts moving. On a psychic level, Sensei is ALREADY in before the physical attack commences. This is precisely what Ushiro Sensei talked about at length.
The whole concept of "fighting" is essentially dualistic. In fighting I need to "beat you". If I am completely connected in my mind, there is no need to be faster, that is dualistic. Your attack literally creates my technique. It is not contentious, it is automatic. This all takes place on the psychic level before physical action commences. That's why Sensei never looks like he is hurrying. He was ALREADY where he needed to be in his mind, he just hadn't actualized it yet with his movement. When you start being able to do this in your parctice, it completely shifts your sense of time.
I have discovered this to be true in my own practice after seeing (and feeling ) it with my own teacher for a number of years.
You have a gift for explaining these concepts in text George, I strive to convey these ideas to my own students where at least I have the added extra media of the kinesthetic experience.