Well, as far as repetition, I believe in mindful repetition if you're going to do that. No move will be exactly the same twice. Besides I'm a little afraid of reinforcing bad habits by repetition of techniques I know poorly.
As for relaxation, I've begun meditation practice as well as abdominal breathing(throughout the day), but I still wonder if I'll remain relaxed in a stressful situation. Not just a martial situation, but ANY kind of sudden stress. I guess the only way to test it is to subject myself to stressful situations...unless you have a better suggestion.
Lowly 1.5 Dan. I wouldn't say so. I live in a town where we're pretty lucky to even HAVE aikido. The only blackbelt is the master who is 6th dan. The two seniors who do much of the instructing in his absence(and they do a great job as far as I can tell), are both kyu rated. One is almost 1st dan. Just out of curiosity(and please don't feel you need to answer this question), how long have you been practicing aikido?