Re: Poll: How meaningful is your aikido rank to you?
I go to an alternative college, without grades and without tests (we have intensive projects and written evaluations). I hated those things all through elementary and high school, when classmates would try to compare scores with me. By the end, I was keeping my grades a secret and had to work very hard to do so.
I have only tested once so far in Aikido, and will test for fourth kyu in a couple of weeks. Part of me really likes testing. I love being able to push myself the month before the test date and the way that extra bit of adreniline and anxiety is able to patch a few little holes in my training that I couldn't fix the rest of the year. I love the way the community comes together for testing. Senior students come to extra training sessions to work with testers, everyone shows up on test night to support each other, and we all go out for dinner to celebrate afterwards. It's also important to me that the senseis think I am progressing. Sometimes I wonder...
Guiltily, I like the little bit of power and respect my tiny rank gives me over the occasional cocky junior. I hate the way I find myself comparing myself to others around me and wondering what they think of me.