Re: My aikido is at the crossroads
I am going to +1 Cherie on this for the same reasons she says: Been there, done that, got the lecture from Sensei... the whole class gets the lecture... every time she demonstrates techniques.
Sensei shows us very slowly. She takes the time to explain each angle of every part of the body, foot work, hip/hara, arms/elbows - no shoulders please. She does the technique with Uke very slowly and several times each time repeating key areas to focus on and other aspects to mindful be of.
Then we all get up and tend to do it a little to a lot faster anyway... because we think/feel we are doing it slower than we actually are. We make many mistakes because we cannot feel them happening while they are happening... because we are not going slowly enough.
You cannot change the others in your class. You can only change yourself.
Slow down, learn to do shihonage properly. I still make mistakes with this technique when I do not enter deeply enough to take balance, turn fully so that the uke's wrist comes to their shoulder and then almost let them fall as opposed to throwing them. Slow it down so you can 'feel' that balance go, follow your lead...
Any time your partner can 'turn' out of a technique, you are doing it wrong. No offense, we all do it wrong for a long time until we slowly, very slowly start to get parts of it right.
Take your time. Learn to take your partners balance right from the start and keep it, lead it for the rest of the technique... while you do it slowly. Ask your Sensei/Sempai for a slow and details explination of what they are doing (if they do not already do that for you.)
When you start to get it working this way you will be so happy that it 'works' more frequently that you will not care who you practice with because you can 'make it work' on them. You can take the older people to the point of throw because you have their balance the entire time and then 'choose' to not throw them because you know they do not like it or cannot handle it. That is 'ok' too.
But when you do get to train with someone who can take the throw.. you will really appreciate being able to do properly with as few mistakes in it as possible. You will feel those mistakes starting to 'creep' in and you will slow down and stop yourself from doing the technique poorly, not throw your partner and instead say... "may I start again please? I did not catch your balance right and would like to try to get it again."
I hope that helps.