there's another thread on the forum of an instructor who's practiced for about the same amount of time as your friend, but has been kept at sandan, and was finally 'asked' to test for yondan. this is also an interesting question of respect/lack thereof ...
Sounds like favortism to me. Everyone seems to be TOO concerned with rank and following traditions. Just enjoy the art. Personally I think promotions have a lot to do with how much one can kiss up. Not al
ways but sometimes.
Here's an example. Steven Seagal goes to Japan for what...12 or 14 years. Then comes back to the States with a 7th degree.
THAT isn't possible. I know some who have been doing Aikido for 25 years and they are 4th dans. Seagal married the daughter of the dojo owner and they popped out a couple of kids.
No wonder Bruce Lee made fun of the crazy non sense like belts and rank. I f I practice Aikido for 2 years and never test, while others in my dojo test and get high ranks, that doesn't mean they are better than I am just because I don't have a certain color belt hanging around my waste.
Personally I like the spiritual side of Aikido. I hope I have offended no one but sometimes it drives me crazy at how people are only focused on a tradition or what color belt they have.