Re: getting harder
This is a natural part of learning anything, like Ruth wrote.
When I was about a yr into my self-taught Spanish, I was doing basic home hospice intake interviews, apologizing often for my mangling of the language, and of course sticking to the present tense.
Now that I know all of the tenses and rules, and have about 10 times the vocabulary, it seems I get MORE tongue-tied sometimes because 1. there are so many more choices/decisions to make and 2. all that knowledge still hasn't been fully integrated by practice, practice, practice.
Coming back to the dojo, its why after my 4th kyu test, and every test since, I say "My aikido sucks at a higher level."