Sometimes my students have better ideas than I do.
A few days ago, one of my students was pedaling accurately but heavily, with a telltale thunka-thunka-thunka every time the pedal went up or down. I told him that with pedaling, you need to hear its effects but without hearing the pedaling itself.
“You mean Ninja pedaling,” he calmly said. “You never hear them coming, but you know when they’ve been around.”
A brilliant analogy.
He tried it. It worked first time. The same correct pedaling, but this time without any extraneous sounds.
Now when any of my students pedal too loudly, I calmly tell them that they need to pedal like a ninja. The same syncopated, rhythmic, or flutter pedaling that they're used to, but silent. Furtive. Invisible.