Re: Poll: How often do you get to choose your uke(s) for your rank testing at your aikido dojo?
Our tests are, almost without fail, with pre-arranged uke.
Usually two people who are testing work together during test training (anywhere from two weeks to a month). They also often get their own instructor for this test training time, this can be either an instructor who is participating in the class or someone who already has achieved the rank going for.
Sometimes, if there is only one person testing for a particular level, their uke will be chosen on the day, but still before the test.
For dan gradings, all ukes are still pre-arranged. There is one main uke and then two others for Futari Dori and Sannin Dori jiyuwaza.
I can see the benefit of having uke's be a surprise, but I would worry about knowing them and their ukemi. Even with an uke you know well it is easy to hurt someone. With someone you don't know, then the odds increase, especially if that person isn't in top form and ready for the test themselves.