How do we reverse the trend of over-inflated run-away promotions? How is it that we have hundreds of Kodansha (high-grades) in the US with little to no technical ability, no prior national-level competition credentials, and never trained at the Kodokan or overseas?
The simple solution is open and transparent testing up to the rank of Rokudan (6th dan), on the mat, in front of a panel of qualified examiners. Only when we know that every 6th dan has passed the same rigorous testing, should they be considered for future promotions based on service to judo. There must be a benchmark or minimum standard for progression to higher grade. If they cannot pass the Rokudan test, for whatever reason, then terminal grade becomes Godan.