Ian, why should a budo grading system be compared with anything that has to do with professions? That is beyond me.
Perhaps you're correct. I've obviously been in a totally different martial art that has cruelly misinformed me that it is aikido. In fact it's possibly a UK conspiracy as in all the associations I've trained with, the higher the rank, the better they technically were (caveat: as long as the comparison was within a single organisation). Hanna, I used that example for one simple reason, the higher grades would become the teachers of the next generation of little ukes. If they can't execute the technique, what benefit is it to the newbie to learn from them?
But going off the replies so far, I'm mistaken. Aikido doesn't need to maintain a certain degree technical competence as instead of technique, we're to be judged on more nebulous concepts of personal integrity and honour. Well bugger it, I'm off to train in whatever the hell I'm doing, hope you have as much fun as I'm planning to...