"Don't use strength!"
I wanted to ask some advice. I am about to test for Shodan and I think I have reached a plateau in my training. When ever I train with my sempai I am constantly told I am using too much strength and my arms. I am given "tips" on what to do and one and once and a while can do what they are saying but for the most part cannot reproduce the same effect on a consistent basis. When I practice with my sempai most of the time doing the technique is taken up on me trying to reproduce the effect without strength getting frustrated. When they do the technique I will be honest for the most part it feels the same as when I do it. I know understand why some people quit after making shodan as it is like pushing a boulder uphill and you fall back two steps after making one step up.
The problem is that there is only so much time to practice in the dojo and it seems to be taken up being told "too much strength" or "use your center" with out explicit instructions. It doesn't help I am a big guy also. I do understand that Aikido is a lifelong method and may take years of practice to learn relaxation and proper body movement. I think that solo efforts at home rather than at the dojo need to be practiced to understand Aikido. Is there practice methods I can practice at home to emphasis more center movement or less strength?