Re: Meeting with Dan Harden in Boston
By the way, koryu themselves do not have formal rank, and some koryu-based arts retained that tradition and did not have or grant formal rank until fairly recently (some systems didn't start ranking until less than 10 years ago). A lot about rank is totally political and has little regard to actual ability or skill -- which is true in pretty much every discipline that has some kind of ranking system. You can get Grand Muckalucks who can do squat, and rankless individuals who have trained one-on-one with high-level practitioners and have superb skills.
In my experience over the past nearly-30 years is that the more importance an individual puts on formal rank, the less secure he is and -- in truth -- the less he knows. I'd put a lot more weight on what a person can do, and what he knows. Knowledge and skill do not materialize in a vacuum. They come from having had excellent teachers, and from being an excellent student -- to the point that they go beyond what they were formally taught and take their skills to new levels through intelligent hard training and study.
Rank means way too much to too many, and few have real understanding of what it all means.