It did strike me as uncommon, but I've trained with a person who I would describe as almost completely limp. No amount of asking to try with more force would yield more than the slightest sense of contact even. I've felt it when people just grab on lightly and don't do anything; what I'm remembering was somehow even less than that.
I'd like to hear more from the OP as well though.
When they noodle... stuff their arms into their bodies and then use their arms to throw their bodies. There's no point in letting their lack of understanding be reinforced. Keep throwing them till they get that, that type of "relaxed" is nonsense.
You see some aikido people lumbering around, flat on their feet, and sliding their feet all over the place with their arms dead. It's just plain stupid, and it's not low
level, it's no
level... of understanding.
Relax completely and extend ki is one of the poorest or incomplete descriptions I have ever heard. It has led to a whole bunch of people limping around or flexing their arms under stress because they don't know how to connect to their center..