Aikido Ranks and Tests : worthwhile or not.
I've been training in Aikido for 6 years on a regular basis and have never really focused that much on tests ( presently 2nd Kyu ).Recently I've been questioning whether taking tests is helpful in Aikido or whether it hinders our progress - the Art as a whole as well as individual.
As Eric Sotnak wrote elsewhere on this site
"...it is important to bear in mind that rank promotion does not necessarily translate into ability.The most important accomplishments in Aikido or any other martial art are not external assessments of progress,but rather the benefits of your training to yourself."
However, I also read Jun's account of his Shodan test with great interest.It seems that the preparation and being pushed to the limits can be a valuable tool for progression.
And yet I think we are all aware of the over-emphasis that some Aikidoka give to their Rank - last year my Sensei went to a National Aikido seminar and forgot to take Hakama and Black belt with him.One Yudansha present refused to practice with him as " I don't practice with Kyu grades."
In the Aikiweb poll of 9/9/2000, 79% of you said that Ranking should stay in Aikido.What are your reasons for saying this? This is a modern system, as far as I'm aware, and fits in with our modern goal oriented way of life.Is it not at odds with our aim of Harmony and Peace when it can become so connected to subtle competition and ego?
Come on, convince me otherwise.