Re: Leading your uke?
The problem with discussions of this type come from the generally low level of understanding that people within Aikido have about a term like "leading". The result is many serious teachers and practitioners say they don't like the term or think it is just something "aiki bunnies" talk about.
In fact, what skilled teachers have meant by "leading" is fundamentally based on ones ability to do static technique with "aiki", requiring a good understanding of how "connection" works. Since not that many folks in Aikido actually understand this very well, what has passed for "leading" has been nage staying ahead of an attack with uke being trained to chase him. Try that with someone from another art who hasn't been trained to run around his partner chasing a grab.
In actuality, if a body movement is simply moving away from an attack, there is no reason for the attacker to deal with it. It is actually a break in connection and is not "leading" anything. Real leading has to do with how one places ones "intention" creating a feeling in the attacker that he actually does just about have you. It starts with a mental connection. That energetic connection must be there, flowing inside the energy of the attack so that the physical "lead" is not perceived as moving away from the attacker. A real lead creates a feeling that uke must follow, wants to follow. But we can't get to an understanding of what this means with ukes who are taught from day one to follow or chase any moving target. Ukes need to be taught to recognize the difference between something they need to deal with and something they do not need to deal with. If someone attempts to "lead" an attack and doesn't do it properly, the uke should apply a counter.