It seems to me that pride and competition can stem from any number of sources.
Who has the quietest ukemi?
Who has the best shihonage?
Who spends the most time training?
Who gets the most of sensei's attention?
Without rank there would still be countless ways for us to feel superior or inferior to our dojomates. Countless ways for us to feel either slighted, or proud. Rank does not create this situation. It is the insecurity of individuals that creates this situation.
My limited experience tells me that rank is a measuring tool...not for how I have progressed compared to other aikidoka, but how I have progressed as an individual-and what I need to work on moving forward, so that my training is balanced and sincere.
My sempai have much to teach me. I respect and appreciate all of their input and advice. My kohai also have much to teach me. Believing myself to be "further along" may rob me of an opportunity to learn from them.
What ever rank sensei feels I am deserving of I will accept with humility, and gratefulness for the opportunity to examine myself, my progress, and my shortcomings.
I think that opportunity is helpful.
Back to training.