Although I'm struggling to "stay connected" to the thread.... some thoughts:
1. The meaning and usage of "connection" is central to my own answer to the question in the OP. But... it is such a rich topic it may be a great separate thread.
2. I would like to tell everyone that I am mentally treating this blog post
as a very strong response to the original question. I think it is worth the read. I think it refers to something important that is slightly outside of what I perceive as the basics.. but it is a great answer.
3. Hugh, I forgot to point out that I have no idea what you meant about spirals and elbow power being related to letting force go around you as opposed to connecting to uke's center. I guess I'm too much of a neophyte. I don't even have a good definition for elbow power. I'm sure the term was coined to refer to something specific, probably having to do with "IS." Maybe another good thread idea?