Regarding rank past sandan:
Mark Mueller wrote:
So are you saying that rank after this level is unearned? That is certainly unflattering to a lot of skilled martial artists.
Not unearned, just earned in a different way.
A way that has practically nothing to do with martial ability or even depth of understanding. It has much more to do with who you know/associate with and what you are doing or have done to promote aikido.
I don't necessarily have a problem with this, and I don't know why it would be unflattering. Anyone who has been around aikido for a long time should have recognized it.
Personally, I see this as a deficiency of the dan ranking system not any individual martial artist.