Rob Liberti wrote:
Right, there is no rank in a forum.
"Rank" is meaningless in an open-ended practice called "Aikido", too. This is the same thing that goes on in a lot of Chinese martial arts. At the upper levels, it's considered that most people doing an art are not serious, so "rank" is meaningless, no matter what rank they claim.
The killer to Aikido rank is that in an effort to too-rapidly expand the Aikido organizations, the real meaning of "rank" was lost many years ago. Most of us who have been around for many years know that. To their credit, a number of people in Aikido refuse to test for rank because it's too obvious that "rank" has lost its meaning.
The second danger to Aikido is that it is only a 2-generation (maybe 3) art without a large pool of strong core practitioners in a single setting (like Hombu Dojo or a native village or whatever). Hence we get these "anything goes" definitions. If anything is Aikido, then by definition Aikido is also nothing. It's whatever role-playing game you want it to be and you can entice victims to become your "students" ("call me privately and I'll let you in on the 'secrets'").
Instead of looking for a list of definitions for Aikido, as you've been feeling around for on various threads, you need to start with one definition and build from it, step-by-step. The first definition of Aikido must be that it is a martial art. Since many people that have slipped into Aikido will now dissent over even that basic definition, then you should know that "Aikido" is becoming meaningless and therefore "rank" in Aikido certainly means almost nothing. Instead of a list of core factors, you need to first see if there are even enough people who would agree that Aikido is a martial art and that it should be useable in the parking lot at some reasonable time in their practice. If you can't get a consensus on that, then we're in a pickle even bringing up the word "rank". But, like Ellis Amdur, I realize these kinds of comments will only bring out the attempts to discredit, the personal attacks, etc..... and it only reinforces my points as it did his.