You need to know how to crawl before you can run. Saito sensei used to say " if you are held strongly and can't move, you are not doing a martial art"
So, can you move if you are held with full strength? Without huffing and puffing, without lashing at your opponent, without get-out-of-jail atemi, can you move?
I find the "without lashing at your opponent, without get-out-of-jail atemi" interesting. Do you consider atemi superfluous to Aikido or am I misunderstanding your statement?