Re: To Test, or not to Test
I've never encountered a dojo where the politics was as pathological as you describe. You can't help having politics in a dojo, it's an organization of people run by people. But what you describe is just poisonous.
For those who think rank doesn't matter:
Okay, well, it's a communication tool. When I show up at a dojo that I don't normally train at and say, "I'm nidan", they can set expectations about my abilities and what I can handle. Clearly, this means I need to be honest. And, of course, standards vary from one organization to the other, but it still provides a sort of baseline. Corrections to that baseline happen pretty quickly once I'm on the mat, but in the meantime nobody gets hurt due to incorrect expectations.
And it provides feedback to the student about what is expected of him or her. I'm way harder, for example, on a first kyu student about rolls than I am on a 10th kyu student.
Finally, Gordon, I think you should read Ron Tisdale's response very carefully. I'm not saying he's right, but I, too, wonder. I've just never run into a teacher this bent on ego strokes.