Don McConnell wrote:
I believe that aikido like other arts to a greater or lesser extent suffers from "promotion gifting". A sensei wants their student to keep coming so they push them up even if they are quite not ready. (Yeah I know no one will admit to this but I've seen it more than once, and I know some of you have too...)
I certainly have seen that, too but
sometimes people deserve to be promoted for reasons other than technical ability, perhaps if they have demonstrated a lot of dedication to the art that is also important (through other contributions, such as teaching, showing up a lot over the years despite obstacles, etc.... but I do mean a lot
). I think that testing or promoting someone to get them to keep coming is ridiculous. I've seen people (I'm thinking of one example in particular, not from my current dojo) who get a really arrogant attitude when they are fast tracked. If an organization has established standards for promotion, I believe that those standards should be applied in a fair, consistent, and even-handed manner.
I almost wish that my own shodan test had been longer. I was exhausted after 15 minutes, but I could also have kept going for another 10-15 minutes, and I didn't get a chance to do a lot of what I had practiced. I had to sit a while before my turn for randori came around, and I really would have liked a longer randori -- I was just getting started! But, as a spectator, 15 minutes per test, plus randori, is plenty long.