I've definitely been making progress in the past 5ish weeks in many ways. My stamina has gotten better, posture is slowly improving (but still needs work), I can do techniques that really eluded me in my first few weeks, I'm not stomping around as much. I know that rank isn't as important as some make it out to be, but it does serve a purpose for me, and that purpose is to serve as a sort of flag or marker that I'm making progress along my journey. It's nice to earn that next belt because it's an acknowledgement that yes, I am getting better and I'm learning more. So it gave me a big confidence boost yesterday when my sensei told me what I needed to do for my first test and had me go through the sequence of techniques a few times. The next test isn't for several months of course, but I'm happy that I'll probably get to earn my first colored belt soon. On a side note, testing for Shotokan seems quite different than my old style. For my test, I have to memorize the order of the techniques I'm being tested on and perform them in sequence. In my old style, I was given a list of things I had to know (along with the Japanese words for them). On test day, I'd be asked to demonstrate a random selection of the techniques (and they'd use Japanese to make sure I had learned the name). Perhaps this is more related to the fact that the Shotokan test is done at a regional seminar, unlike my old school which did their tests in house (and thus they didn't need to see every single technique performed since they already knew I could do it).