Re: No-one wants to practice with me
seniors should be mingling with the junior students throughout class. I, along with many of my friends, are guilty of pairing up...particularly if its a robust technique...to train with each other based on each other's knowledge about how hard we like to train. Its a joy to be able to go 'all-out,' at least for me, because its not always possible every class.
With that, the more mature attitude (on the part of the senpai) is to ensure students are paired up with peers being reviewed by seniors, or paired with seniors. Whenever I am training with a friend and see a couple white belts struggling to get through a technique I feel really bad and run over to help. Sometimes it just happens and its not always personal.
However, the physical aspect of aikido, whether its self-defense or fitness, is a small part of the benefit of training in budo. Overcoming negative aspects of yourself; fear, selfishness, lack of empathy, can all be trained in budo. With that, realize others reflect back what you put out there. If you are shy and awkward interacting with people, then its likely those people will feel awkward interacting with you...though your seniors should be used to shy and awkward people in the dojo and know how to bring them along. If you don't feel comfortable interacting with others....fake it. Your brain doesn't know the difference and you can develop recruitment patterns that will eventually hardwire you to feel more comfortable around others. One homework assignment for an advanced aikido class in our dojo is to go out to strangers, give them a big ole grin, extend your hand and ask them how they are doing. More often than not, if you are genuine, they will respond in kind. If they shirk you off, it doesn't matter. Like bowing, you are putting yourself out there, extending positive energy toward that person. That is your training and its already benefitted you. If they shirk you off, that is their loss, not yours. Its a good exercise. Think about it, if someone approaches you like that, you will probably, without knowing it, have a silly grin on your face, shake that persons hand, and feel good around that person. Conversely, if someone at the dojo comes up to you and asks how you are, and you respond by complaining, or hanging your head and mumbling, not making eye contact, that person won't want to interact with you much longer. But anyway, this is getting longer than intended and I am loosing my train of thought. Point is, if you put positive energy out there you will eventually get it back. And, if you conduct this training and you no longer are nervous around others and don't mind getting rejected occasionally, well that's way more beneficial training than learning a pin or throw.
Hope it works out!