Paula Lydon wrote:
~~I've come across this feeling often over the years where intensity during training is interpreted as aggression/violence or just plain makes partner nervous or feel threatened, even when the utmost control is being used and the intensity is just the level of focused concentration being maintained. Any thoughts on this?~~
I've also experienced this at times. Some people will even stop in the middle of doing a technique because they are so timid. I just try to keep as obviously a friendly face as possible while gently coaxing them to assert more effort. I would lessen my intensity to match their receptibility out of fear of scaring them away even further. I've been told my face can have a very severe look which I know can frighten some, so i strive to maintain as relaxed (though focused) a mental connection as possible.
I usually experienced this when I taught Children's Aikido, and the way I found to best make them more assertive is to first show them that they can assert great effort in knocking me over without either of us getting hurt...and i'd let them knock me over several times so they get used to reaching through their target. Sometimes they would forget and withdraw again, so I'd remind them, "I should be able to fall 'hard' without getting hurt." I guess how this might translate into adults is in simply reassuring them. If they think you're being too violent and resisting too much, maybe remind them that the path of non-resistance should be irresistable...at least, that's what I think I remember reading OSensei as saying. Hard to say, though, if it more or less seems to come down to conflicting ideologies. My view is that I should be both soft and sensitive while capable of being forcefull and intense all at the same time, and I'd try to offer that as reasonably as i could to reassure my partner. If visiting their dojo, I'd be inclined to adjust my behavior to match theirs. If they're visiting mine, I'd be inclined to ask they give my way a try while perhaps graduating my intensity so they can ease into the new way of behaving...to make them more receptive to it.
Hard for me to say though. I don't trust my perspective as much as I used to...I need to get more time intensively training again. I'm just now getting back into the swing of things so please forgive my rambling.