I think the big leap that happens for those that get what you are talking about is, that the one point moves the body, not the other way round. It is a quantum leap to go from thinking that mechanical movement (stepping, rotating hips, bending knees etc) turns or drops the hara, to the mind/hara/big ball initiating everything.
took me awhile to realize this too. i have always thought that in order to move the one point i have to physically move my body by stepping and other motions you described. the key is the mind directs the one point/ball to move and the body follows. mind leads ki. ki leads movement. this is what i believed differentiate internal arts from external arts. external arts use the body to move the one point. internal arts use the one point to move the body.
it's a totally different mindset and way of moving. from the outside movements look the same, but from the inside, very different. you often heard Ikeda sensei said "you don't see it, but he knows" (pointing to his uke who often have a big grin and nodding his/her head vigorously).