When I came into aikido, I joined a small USAF dojo in Texas. The dojo developed a bad habit of "holding" both the regional and the federation dues because people would sign up and then quit aikido before their first test. The treasurer seeing that as a waste of money got the idea that if they used the money instead to pay the rent, the dues money wouldn't be wasted and since the rent was so hard to pay and the seniors usually had to put in extra every month to keep the dojo open. It seemd like a good idea to everyone including the sensei. Unfortunately, I and my two children didn't quit and when we came up for our first test, we were told we couldn't test because our "mother" dojo had messed up the paperwork. The dojo had a policy of sending the money in after the fact if you in fact stayed around but it usually meant that you wouldn't get to test for 5th kyu on schedule. In my case, they all thought I was going to quit even after that so they didn't send the money the second time either and that's when I blew because I had the cancelled checks. When the test came up, I was told that the shihan was saying I couldn't test and the sensei of the "mother" dojo was saying I couldn't test because I had just barely joined the federation (a year though had gone by). I told them that the shihan, the fukushidoin and my sensei had better sit down and come up with a good answer because if not, me and my kids were out of aikido. They went into that room and came out saying I could test. I don't think that the shihan or the fukushidoin ever found out why my paperwork was "late". The sensei and the fukushidoin just prevailed on the shihan to let me test and he said ok but never again. It's interesting to note that the fukushidoin never got another promotion out of that shihan and our dojo was never made an official memeber of the federation but stayed an affilate sponsored by the "mother dojo". That was all almost ten years ago. I am still in aikido but not in the USAF anymore. These things just happen because someone in the chain thinks of a "good" shortcut but the innocents become the victims.
I agree with you, BUT will adopt Rachel's tip of contacting the "in-charge" at the federation. I would do it, though, very gently (the way of harmony, ha
). It might be that your sensei is just an administrative disaster and all paper work was too much for him/her. How was training with your sensei ? after all you've stayed for some good time...