I found Mr Watts comment interesting as certainly most of the arts he mentioned that had no ranking system do have a strenuous competition format, which by definition will provide the necessary information to determine "rank", perhaps aikido is compensating for its lack of competition (I know, doesn't fully explain tomeiki..)
Please....Paul is fine. People say "Mr. Watt" and I start looking for my father.
Yes, for the most part the arts I mentioned have a competition format which does provide a system of "rank" of sorts. I think it's also fair to say within those arts rank is heavily performance based, not knowledge based. (By this I mean that no one cares if the the HWY boxing champ is a good boxing coach, or knows the history of boxing .... They only care about the individual's performance in the ring).
It's fair to say that this type of environment has different issues but I suppose that's a topic for another thread.