Although you are preaching to the choir about there being a different way, I was hoping my level of development would be self-evident in the video. Maybe it is and that is what you are correctly telling me, or maybe you are not seeing what I am. Hard to say about that. Although I certainly can know how far I have come in the last 2 years, I don't know how far I have to go, and it sounds like you believe I have a ways to go.
BTW, what I was working on just before I made this video was connection in the compressive and tensile directions. No leverage. I could move the uke to and fro easily. But it wasn't kuzushi. I studied that Ikeda clip, and saw him do this buckling action-- that came straight from there. I think that is the aspect you are talking about as "leverage." It is a trick I saw him employ that I was not doing, so I copied that and made the vid.
It is an interesting comment to hear that being one of the main parts called NOT Ikeda-like. It could be because I am doing it wrong. Thanks!!
Don't take what I said as an insult, I think that what you're doing and your interest level is great. You asked for opinions and gave one that I thought would help. You're in good shape, I can see your biceps and shoulders pop up through your shirt when they kick in. Your ideas about connecting to uke are good, but you're doing it through a more muscularly supported connection (in yourself) than you want to have. You're connecting to uke and pushing him away with muscle/leverage rather than letting him connect to the ground through you and then moving him away from you with your whole body. Someone with softer skills could neutralize what you're doing and connect back to your center through the tension those muscles create in you.
That's why I recommend meeting with someone who has experience in that and can show you things you can do to condition your body so that those muscles don't need to kick in unless you want them to do so. Do not feel bad, you are not the first aikido person who thinks they're relaxed and aren't. I think it's safe to say that every aikido person who starts working on these things thinks that and quickly learns that we weren't anywhere near as relaxed as we thought we were.