Interesting observations, Brian. Perhaps this "inflation" should be examined and held up as part of Ryan's open letter about conduct in the dojo... and the conduct of dojos and organizations.
We're not including grading fees and seminars; just the cost to be on the mat to learn the material:
At Aikikai HQ in Tokyo people train under a plethora of shihan on a daily basis, and as an average student going three times per week, they'll meet shodan requirements in about two years. Current monthly mat fees are about $110; so that's $2640 to train for 24 months. Hombu's inflation, in time and money to shodan, since the mid-60s appears to be in the range of about 0%.
Current time to shodan requirements at NY Aikikai; it appears that the total amount of days would be 1140. An average student going three times per week, 156 days per year, would take 7.3 years - or 87.6 months x $160/mth = $14,016 in mat fees. NY Aikikai's inflation, in time and money to shodan, since the mid-60s appears to be in the range of about 250%.
Parent organization, Aikikai Hombu = 300 days, in 2 years, and roughly $2640 in mat fees.
Branch organization, NY Aikikai = 1140 days; 7.3 years, and roughly $14,000 in mat fees.
What is the Japanese expression and kanji for, "WTF?"
I agree this is worthy of another thread. Couple quick thoughts though
This mode of thinking equates rank with skill and assumes that there is a "graduation" where training ceases. Someone who trains 3 to 4 times longer I would expect them to show a greater skill level regardless of rank. I also plan to practice as long as I'm able regardless of rank. The practice is it's own reward.
Although I am curious when,why and how the shift occurred.