I have been training since Febuary this year 3 times a week. A couple of months ago grading came up in general conversation with sensei after class. I was told by sensei that I am more than ready for my first grading yet it is now the middle of September nearly 8 months and I still have not been graded. I am feeling kinda fed up. I am unsure whether to ask sensei whether I am to be graded or not. I feel that either I am really crap or sensei has forgotten about me. After all I am training to achieve goals that I have set my self and feel that I am not getting anywhere.
Could I have some honest opinions please.
Speaking from 20+ years as an Aikidoist: rank is not some gold-star you get for doing your time, and dedication. Rank is awarded because Sensei thinks you're ready to accept the new challenges and responsibilities, that that ranking demands.
It's not even a measure of proficiency. I've trained with some yudansha who, I felt: barely deserved 4th kyu (of course, I kept my opinions to myself...who am I, to question that person's Sensei, in her/his choice?).
My advice to you? it depends upon your Sensei. If he's approachable to discussion about it: talk about your feelings of frustration in being told you're ready to test, and then having to wait 8 months.
At all costs, tho: do NOT approach your Sensei with the attitude that "I did my time: now gimme my kyu." Traditionally, the time to test is solely the decision of the Sensei, and to suggest otherwise is very, very poor etiquette.
BUT; to go to Sensei and talk about your feelings of frustration over being told you're ready, and then left alone...well, IMO: that IS a legitimate point.
One thing, tho: rank is not an indicator of achieving "goals" in Aikido. Setting goals (e.g., can I improve my tenkan? can I learn all 13 kumitachi bokken katas? Can I perform a breakfall without feeling pain?) is your own, personal quest, and is an internal process. Sensei/other doka can help you get closer to your goals, but rank, in relation to your goals, means nothing.
Hope that this helps.