Re: Beginners with delusions of grandeur...
I've often experienced this from aikido newbies with previous martial arts experience. The problem is that they do have enough sophistication to understand whether your technique might be working, but not enough knowledge in aikido to understand how or why it doesn't. Most recently I had one such newbie try to correct me and explain the technique to me. I've been practicing aikido consistently for 6 years, he had about 6 classes. I just pulled rank on him after his about 10th attempt at doing this. It turns out he has a judo background, he could take good ukemi and catch on to the techniques quickly, so he was jumping to the conclusion that he understood aikido as well as me. He definently understands JUDO better than me but not AIKIDO. But now, he's turning out to be a great training partner, and I just helped him pass his 5th kyu test.
Usually when newbies are just plain awkward and don't know where to go a good strong lead in your technique is better than going way too soft. If you go too soft they don't feel the lead, you most often do sacrifice the essence of the technique, and then they think you're technique isn't working right. You can still be soft and not sacrifice the essence of the technique. Take the balance and keep them off-balance the whole way. It's harder to do technique slowly and effecitively, but you really do discover you own technical flaws that way. If your just sacrificing the essence of the technique then you are just going too easy rather than going softly with them.