I wonder how people could tell (or if) when they stopped being a beginner at Aikido and moved onto "comfortable" or "intermediate". Was it a belt rank? Was it something internal? Was there a mile-stone involved? Maybe it was such gradual process that you didn't notice!
I ask because I'm beginning to feel a little more comfortable about this martial art, but I still have classes where I leave more puzzled than when I came in! Maybe I can learn from you about your experience in progressing
Zach, Brattleboro, VT
(Without going past post #2) IMHO I will never stop being a beginner in Aikido because to get 'comfortable' is to get complacent.
Part of that is my own personal discovery of something new every time I train. Part of that is my instructors never-ending job, reminding me that I have more to learn.
I remember my first test, my first promotion. The very next class, I'm lined up in my new position, proudly in seiza. My instructor for the day sees me; see's my new position, and my pride (but no crime in that, of course). Went to work on me, having me do forward and backward rolls. For some reason, I was not rolling right for him, even though it was right two days ago... Needless to say, 50 rolls later, he explains to me that my exam was pretty much a snapshot of my peformance, to a certain level or standard; now began a new evolution of training.
I understand what you mean, about things becoming easier for you to do (tenkan, irimi, ukemi). Here's how I test myself; I make it a point to train most of the time with someone who has less experience than me so I can have the opportunity express what I've learned with them in training. For me, that's be best measurement of my training; how well I can convey it to someone else on the mat.