After my 5th kyu test I felt relief to get it over with but now I just feel like training anyboby else feel this way?
Ive touched upon this before, and its not just a simple answer, so here we go...
Firstly I look at ranks, as Linda pointed out, as a way to gauge progress of oneself. Its great for setting goals, and evaluating where you stand.
This can also go for ones standing within a small group and the small group within a larger one. Eventually though, if the structure of the organization is not systematic with their approach, [both of teaching and what it taught], ranks become more subjective.
Also there are many aspects which you cannot initially gauge, at least not by looking at a list of what someone has achieved. Especially with an art like Aikido and what it is you are expecting to gain from it. [Are you looking more for the inward tranquility, or use it as a bouncer, or MMA as I have tried to incorporate it into along with the spiritual aspect.]
This is a good example as why ranks in Aikido are good in the organization they were given as there are many approaches you can take. I would hope if I opened a dojo, [not counting my side practice now as a dojo], that I would offer a holistic view as well as the opportunity for those that practice to choose what level they feel comfortable with practicing Aikido. [i.e., mixing it with MMA - to clarify Im not talking about testing techniques but the principles on which the technique can work outside of the form one uses in testing... anyway]
So for me the ranking system has been about my personal progress, and this is specifically true as Im not gauging my progress against others in my own dojo. [I mean I take note of the differences as well as observe what it is I believe others opinions are - whether it be blindness of I have a belt so I know, or thinking I have a long way to go... neither of which is relevant to why I have the belt.]
One reason is mainly due to the language factor in my case, so ego cannot play a role as no solid defense and argument can be built up regardless of how sound it may be... though it may help in explaining how to hone their technique in a more practical way.
Anyway, the point of all of this 'rambling' is that indeed there is a place for ranks, and in truth I believe it works great in seminars just so you can have an idea of what you should be able to expect from someone else.
And even if crossing over dojos its of interest just to see what the similarities are that you are building up off from and what the differences are.
Should Aikido have a more solid base as far as expectations... yes. [I mean should it be more consistent.]
Is this practical?
Again, I believe there are different levels that have to be addressed in Aikido. If one is into flow and form, the 'artistic' nature as we call it in Hungarian - then that along with the knowledge of the techniques is good as one point.
If its about practicality, then we need to add in defense theory and under what circumstances, [say a bouncer] etc that Aikido would be practical without even more training. [or going against some yahoo that has no skill]
When talking about sport, yes, I know Aikido is not a sport... wink - wink [youll never convince all of us... or me at least]
Then there is that live dynamic.
Even if Aikido as a whole, [which I dont see this happening], never integrated the sport aspect - it would be beneficial to bring in live training of some sort, or rather more realistic strikes. [I realize that this is supposed to be what we strive for, but often we dont know what and why it would work and what someone would really do if against you in a situation.]
I bring all of that up again because when it comes to testing in Aikido - it is all relative. [That goes with anything really... even the olympics. You have the finest trained athlete, and not everyone is on their top day when they have to compete... someone always has that edge.]
So test or not... its all good either way.
I have to add, about the subjective nature of Aikido and why it wouldnt hurt to bring in some practical theory or practice...
Sometimes you get the person ranked above you who wants to 'show you' how its done.
Yet you know if you added any resistance it would not work. [Happened last night with me.]
I have to gauge the situation as I dont speak the language fluently of when to 'correct' someone of higher rank or just let them enjoy their 'moment'.
This is part of the spiritual training, as it were, letting go of what people think you are capable of and going with the flow. Sometimes people are not open, at the time, and it would just strike the ego. There is always time to gently show and even make them think they came up with the solution.
So mix that in with all I said about Aikido and rank, and then it should all make sense.