Re: Wanted for a Beginner: Information, Suggestions, ?
Good home work exercises:
1. cutting with a bokken (just the basic cut, moving off centre line) - maybe about 300 at a time. Excellent for developing body movement and hip power.
2. keeping physically fit (press-ups, sit-ups, running/swimming, circuits)
3. Get a heavy punch bag and practise punching (and/or kicking) to improve speed and power*
4. get two house bricks, stand in horse stance and throw them up and catch them using your fingers only - this helps develop grip strength.
(*) Since real aikido is 80/90% atemi (according to Ueshiba), I think it is important to be able to strike at any instant. The techniques open up your opponent for these strikes, but unless you practise serious full power striking you will never develop the reactive ability to apply 80/90% of real aikido!
Develop the simple things well and forget about anything complex. Don't worry about progression in terms of grades. Keep grading, but focus on what you have to do at the moment.