First assumption: all quantifiable systems are corruptable. That's why we maintain both qualitative and quantative measures for advancement. If a system is fully quantifiable, you can game the system. Take standardized testing for example. When I took he SAT practice course, it wasn't teaching me the material on the test. It told me how to deduce the answer, even when I had no clue. Don't know the word or any synonyms/antonyms? No worries, just look for a suffix or prefix that's ou do know. Truthfully, it was a. Better life skill than algebra and worked well for me, but it certainly skews the SAT to people who can afford the practice classes so they can properly game the system. It's why it's so hard to tell you what you need to DO to pass your next test, whether for a belt or kihon ranking. I'm more interested in who you are becoming and how that is reflected in what you do.
Second assumption: systems are important. That may seem odd since they are corruptable but if we didn't have systems, we'd create them. Imagine a society where no one had a name. Would you create a label for them anyway? Of course. So if we try to pretend there are no rules, then we are denying reality. Personally, denying reality is one of my fears and I strive every day to be more clear than the day before.
So the truth is, there are standards you need to meet for each rank. And you need to change and grow as a human being and that's absolutely subjective. When I look at he world around me, it's hard to believe that To-Shin Do exists. It's a study in emotional intelligence (founded decades before that became a buzz word), in Praise coaching, in the reality of inter and intra personal conflict. It's frankly brilliant. It makes me wonder, what else are we doing right now, how are we changing in this very instant, that in 10 years will finally be mainstream cutting edge? (I do recognize the oxymoron). I'm so grateful to be part of a living art.