Re: Poll: Do you think telling someone to "relax" is helpful in aikido training?
No. my sensei told me to relax all the time, but i wasn't. took awhile to realize the reason. used to train in karate which taught you to "tense at moment of impact and relax all other times". took a long time to de-program my body responses with the tense at moment of impact.
attended a systema workshop recently. they (systema folks) have lots of interesting drills which teach you to relax when dealing directed force. you can't tell folks to relax, but you can teach them how to relax. Hooker sensei once said "teach the mind through the body" then later you can "teach the body through the mind" (hopefully, sensei would forgive me from mangling his quote).