Re: dojos with no kyu advancement or promotion?
Here's what I don't get: Advanced aikidoka (by and large) cannot seem to get their heads around the notion of being taught something advanced without having an advanced rank. "But how can they learn the advanced techniques if they're not a dan grade?" I have heard far more times than I care to think about.
The amount of times I have tried to explain the idea of just not bothering with rank and instead teaching people -- and going into more depth and 'advanced' stuff when each person clearly has the ability to do so -- consistently, class-in, class-out, and have been met with completely blank looks... People just don't get it. 'Rank' is so central to modern martial arts that many cannot even so much as gauge ability without a shiny colour or pair of baggy trousers to point them in the right direction.
I would love to train somewhere where you didn't have to take tests. Where you could just show up and be 'that guy with ten years of experience' rather than 'that sandan'. And be as good as any ranked sandan because you'd got just as much bloody mat-time.