Re: Unhappy being pushed to test
Given your story so far
I must ask - when will you have the quality for the test?
I can not recall a single veteran in our dojo who felt he deserves his last or prior to last ranking. All continuously try to postpone their rankings (maybe next fall/summer/ another few months in a repetitive manner) and tell Sensei their level is far from sufficient for their ranks.
On the other hand, if Sensei lowered his standards, it was not by much, and it definitely was not due to financial considerations. If anything, it could have been trying to get closer to the Japanese concept of the Shodan as the first stepping stone, and not a destination almost impossible to achieve.
At some point he even got to putting me and a friend on an unannounced test (as in "congratulations, the presentation you gave today was a test and you are now Nidan") for the previous rank.
We will always have much more to improve. Talking to Sensei he tells me how his techniques are so far from perfect and says he may have one or two passable techniques, and he is so far ahead of me...