I need to find an answer to a problem that I have with my training, in that I cannot seem to relax enough. I have been told many times that I am too stiff even though I do not feel so. Could anybody please help me with a tip or advice that may help me get over this problem?
I sympathize with rich--we're always told to relax more, but if we were really to relax completely then we would collapse in a heap onto the mat, leaving open the possibility only of aiki nage
, and it's an iffy possibility at that.
My suspicion is that your partner's perception of stiffness comes primarily from the point of contact. The clearest example of this is when you're holding uke's wrist. Make the contact between your hand and uke's wrist very soft without losing your grip. My instructor describes this as holding a child's hand while crossing the street. Your grip must be completely secure--but as soft as possible.
I'll also pass along something I heard from Kanai Sensei--when your aikido feels as if you're using muscle, it's generally because you're engaging your flexors (e.g. biceps). Relaxed power in aikido comes primarily from using your extensors (e.g triceps).