I am getting increasingly confused about this whole testing business. I have been training at a dojo for over a year, and took my 6th kyu exam a year ago.
Senior students have often told me how well I am doing, and how quickly I learn. I train casually, two or three times a week, and while I certainly have no dellusions of great skill, I do feel comfortable with Aikido training and think I have made a lot of progress - so when senior students tell me this unsolicited, I presume they are being sincere.
I have also been told that the "first few ranks" come quickly for most people.
Yet I am repeatedly not included on the testing list, in spite of having more than enough hours. I have not taken it personally, because it hasn't just been me, but *all* the Rokyus. I have not asked about it because it seems like something you aren't supposed to ask about. Although once when a testing list was put up, I did finally ask a senior student why one of my fellow Rokyus was not included on the testing list - this particular person had been a Rokyu for an excessively long time, trained about twice as much as I did, and in my albeit uninformed opinion, was at a skill level that obviously exceeded many of the mid/higher ranking Kyus. To this the senior student sort of stammared, and the name ended up being appended to the list 2 days before the exam. This student opted not to test, and hasn't been seen at the dojo since.
Anyways, it is all very confusing. I do not understand why none of the Rokyus I know - which are several all training a year give or take a few months, are testing. Are none of us ready? And if we aren't ready, why are we (or at least I) being frequently told how well we are doing? It it just insincere encouragement? Is it normal to go a year of training consistently after Rokyu without a test? Because that isn't what I have been led to believe.
So you might ask who *does* test. People test *for* Rokyu, which as far as I can tell is just an automatic thing for beginners who complete x numer of hours. And a few mid and higher rank kyus.
What do you make of this?
I'm seriously thinking of just giving up on rank and just train with the plan of not testing (as a few students I know have chosen to do.). The dojo fees are not cheap, and I am paying a yearly fee to our Aikido organization in order to be able to participate in testing, and there is a testing fee as well. I enjoy Aikido and will continue to train regardless, but I'm going to test this rarely and with no feedback, I'm not sure if the testing aspect is worth my energy or money to think about/pay for.