As to the idea of "surpassing" one's instructors.... isn't that their goal?
When I was in high school I had a history teacher who taught exactly the same lessons from year to year. His method of presentation was to come into class, write a bunch of questions on the blackboard and then sit back while we students looked up the answers in our books. That was it, no discussion, no debate, no interpretation of the "facts" as they appeared in the book. His tests were composed of the same questions he wrote on the blackboard.
That man's growth as a teacher had stopped. His boundary of knowledge of the subject he was presenting was delineated by the contents of the pages between the covers of his textbook. Any student with a desire to go beyond that teacher's self imposed universe of knowledge could easily have surpassed him with a modicum of outside work.
An instructor, in any discipline, has by definition a broader universe of knowledge with respect to the subject matter than the large majority of students being taught (I am purposely ignoring genius outliers such as Einstein or Mozart). And as long as the instructor keeps growing that large majority of students will be playing catch-up.
While one of my goals as an Aikido instructor is to have my students eventually surpass me (whatever that may mean in the context of Aikido), I don't expect to see it happen until I eventually reach a plateau in my ability to continue growing in Aikido.