Ian Dodkins wrote:
. A good teacher is one that tells you only what you are ready to hear.
As a newbie, I strongly disagree
A good teacher has to raise the bar just a notch above your possibility, else you wouldn't improve, and you don't feel compelled to improve yourself.
Improving isn't an internal process; is an external one, driven by continuous confrontation with things you see, hear, try.
Sensei can't wait that you develop spontaneously; he HAS to force your way to improvement.
This is how I see things, and worked perfectly with me.
Don't try and impress people (inc. sensei), just work out what is most effective for you and practise it. It is your aikido and you are the only one responsible for making it good.
Relaxation and thinking are difficult to do simultaneously. People may be asking too much from you. Focus on learning the techniques first, and then you can start doing aikido. Above all, don't worry!
As a newbie, I strongly agree
Actually, I'm doing just this: first, focus on every single step of kihon techniques; second, try to "feel" the flow and trust my body (this, for sure, is an extremely difficult task for us newbies).
I can't do that simultaneously; I think this is the difference between masters and practitioners, talented and untalented, (almost) no matter the rank.