Nick Simpson wrote:
The other thing about rank, ok, someone who trained with o'sensei has a certain advantage over the rest of us, but, his students, todays shihan, roughly took something like 10 years to reach the sort of 6-9th dan mark. For anyone else it takes about 20-30 years to reach 6th dan and a lifetime to reach 9th dan ...
That shows you are worried about grading, equality, etc. and, well, why? After 20+ years at it, all I can come up with is, So What?
It is quite simple to see that the current grading system is as much about money collection as it is about skill. For an org, both, of course, are important, but as an individual, after time it should click that it is not really much of a big deal. Like, how many soccer sandans are there out there and who would care if there were? On the field, everyone knows who is better than who and all settle into their natural place, but in the pub, all are equal.
Incidentally, my highschool in Japan had teenage girls who were Sandan and above at Shodo (calligraphy, and I seem to remember one girl being Rokudan) and several teenage boys of Sandan and above in Go (and Sandan in these arts is not to be scoffed at lightly, they have real skill). Tell them you are Shodan, Nidan, or Sandan at something and it won't mean much to them. Indeed, if you proudly state that you are Nidan after 20 years (me), they'll probably think, What a bafoon!