Re: Student ability
I may be reading this wrong, but I think Dave was saying that -he- doesn't judge the student's progress, or perceived lack thereof, but he was worried that the student might think he was, and give up on this dojo as well.
Speaking as another of those unfortunate students for whom mental pictures do not translate at all well to accurate body movement, I thank you for trying hard with him, as my Sensei/assistant instructors/anyone ever who has tried to improve my ukemi have with me.
In my case, I know why I have trouble with my aikido - a combination of minor birth defects, irritating illnesses and increasingly dodgy knees. But still, very now and again, I get down when I see people who joined 3 months ago execute ukemi, body movements or techniques with far greater ease than I ever have. And of course, they grade. I'm a 6th kyu (in a school that starts at 7th) and I've been at this about 3 years. But, as I say, I -know- why I find so many things difficult. Perhaps some would say, I have an excuse.
As some people have pointed out, try and encourage him to concentrate on -his- progress. It's obvious he finds this difficult, but still enjoys it, or he wouldn't still be doing aikido anywhere.... what has anyone else to do with that? I know that's easier said than done (to put it mildly!) but it is always worth keeping in mind on the bad days. And if - again, like me, I'll admit - he insists he hasn't made any progress, try and prove that he has. You say he finds some parts quite easy, - perhaps try and find out why?
*is going to stop rambling now...*