Anne Marie Giri
In my opinion, the differences in expectation of the "meaning of shodan" are cultural ones. I think it is misguided to expect every single person to be the same, every single rank to be exactly alike, each 5th kyu or 1st dan to be exactly alike. Is that what you're getting at Mr. Li? I'm sorry but I think you would be doing a disservice to the Aikikai as a whole to expect every single person to be the same.
I don't think that you'd ever get every single person in any organization to be exactly the same, not matter what standards you establish. On the other hand, I think that the failure to establish a rough parity of standards will, in the long run, prove detrimental to the cohesion of the organization as a whole - and the Aikikai is plenty fragile as it is without adding in additional stresses.
Certainly, there will be always be some kind of a range of standards, but the difference between one year to shodan and eight or nine seems, to me, to be a little bit extreme. Diversity is great, and a strength of the Aikikai, but if you examine the dynamics of other organizations I think that you will find that too much diversity can prove problematic.
As to pointing fingers at the USAF - well, I looked back through the thread and you were the one that brought up the USAF as an example in response to one of my postings. I only spoke of the US in general terms.