Re: To Test, or not to Test
Personally I think gradings are important.
1. They allow the student to see how his/her techniques work under pressure.
2. When told that they are ready to grade (you should never, ever, ask) the student will usually intensify his/her training thus improving even more. After all we are only human and we cannot train flat out all the time.
3. Gradings allow the student to assess if he/she is improving.
4. As an earlier Aikidoka said, it also lets you decide how much leeway you should give your Uke depending on their grade.
If the grade goes to the student's head then it is up to the Sensei to try to bring them back down to earth. I say try because unfortunately there are a small number of people out there that cannot be told. The only consolation is that they will never really get anywhere.