Rachel Massey wrote:
Could you please elaborate on any techniques you have used to help your students overcome extreme stiffness. It manifests itself in ukemi and as nage.
Sorry for starting this here Rachel, but I can't reply in the Voice of Experience forum
We do a similar exercise to Steven. Have both partners start in ai hanmi, tori offers a hand palm down, uke then places his middle finger lightly against the back of tori's hand. Tori now moves slowly wherever he wants, trying to get uke off balance, uke has to follow and try to maintain a light contact. Variations on this are using two fingers (mddle and index together) and doing it with eyes closed.
The idea behind this exercise is to lead and follow maintaining a connection throughout. The slower the movement and lighter the touch, the more relaxed your partners will be.