Re: To Test, or not to Test
I've never heard of a blue belt samurai. I've never read anything about Musashi having to wait 6 months before he could take his 3rd kyu test. At this stage, I care about learning and improving and pushing myself past my own goals and milestones. I care very little about being told how qualified I am by someone else (except my own sensei). And if my sensei were to express that he felt I had reached a certain degree of understanding regarding some of the techniques of Aikido, Great, but I don't feel that a piece of paper or a different colored belt is gonna make the situation any better (or any worse). To each his own.
If a 4th Kyu and a Sandan get jumped walking down the street by a guy with a knife and the Sandan freezes up (because no one has ever pulled a knife on him before), but the 4th kyu (who's been in lots of streetfights) takes the attacker down and pins him, then how does rank fit in to reality?
I think ranking is convenient because generally (with exceptions) you can identify who, in a group of people practicing, would be capable of giving sound, accurate advice on a technique or other point. However, if there is an obstacle in your path, as it seems like there is, then let your technique speak for itself.
Just train as hard as possible, and then do it a little harder than that.