My sensei is happy that so many women have started, but he's getting frustrated by how quickly they vanish. He's decided to push a few of the female mid-rank students through their belts faster hoping that having a few 1st kyu/shodan women around the dojo might encourage the newbies to stick around.
As one of these women, I'm torn between being flattered that he thinks I'm worth the effort it takes to move me through the ranks faster, and being frustrated that I'm being pushed through tests faster than I feel I'm ready. Although I can perform the techniques for each test, I'm not happy with the quality at which I'm performing them, and so even though I'm passing I don't feel I'm at the level I should be for my rank.
I've tried politely bringing this up with my sensei, but he's stubborn (me: "I don't feel I'm ready for this test", him: "well then practice until you are ready"). Should I just ignore my inner perfectionist and accept that there are a wide variety of skills at each rank? Should I get my butt on the mat every single day and train until I'm sore because I know I'm testing whether or not I want to? Should I put my foot down and refuse? I don't understand dojo politics at all, so I'm just looking for advice on how normal this is, and how much say I get in putting my needs before those of the dojo.
Not sure if you're still here, but in case you are.
The 2nd sentence quoted here, "He's decided to push a few of the female mid-rank students through their belts faster hoping that having a few 1st kyu/shodan women around the dojo might encourage the newbies to stick around". Do you know that for a fact, that he decided to do that - or is it your interpretation? How about asking him?
I think that if ten male and ten female students were left to decide for themselves how fast to test, then on average the men would pass through the ranks faster than the women - regardless of who were the most talented or skilled. So perhaps your teacher is simply trying to compensate for this tendency he has seen, that women don't take the tests and then they stop coming to the dojo? Perhaps he isn't pushing you for the sake of the dojo, that you and your aikido sisters in the dojo will act as role models for female newbies. Perhaps he is pushing you trying to make at least a couple of you stick around?