Re: significance to testing/belt rank?
I have seen white belts that are comletely outstanding Aikidokas and I have seen blackbelts who have no clue what is going on and I wonder how they achieved thier rank. It really is no matter what belt color, just train hard. As for testing, I think it is good not for promotion, but to see a person level of understanding, plus, a sensei (at least in my experience) is always "testing" his/her students. Some people want rank and some want to just train. I really just like to train, but I have rank!!! My humble 2 cents worth!!!