One of my instructors who lived, learned, and taught in Korea told me that this pride over certification is largely a heritage from people who came here and manufactured prestige and value around their own certifications in order to sell them for higher prices. He told me tha He said that us Americans are too naive to see the bigger picture, that all rank is a concept and created or imagined by someone else. Joe Lewis got his black belt in six months. Jigoro Kano awarded himself rank (as have many masters). So before we go waging too much war about pieces of paper and trying to make everyone else look like a fraud, we need to look at the bigger picture.
Let me guess, that instructor also had a collection of these “prideful” ranks. I agree that too much emphasis is placed upon rank, but putting too much emphasis on tangible things has always been the case with people. People have always wanted things, such as rank, that indicate their status, and that is not going to change. Rank also serves a useful purpose. Within a school or organization, rank serves as an indicator of expertise and experience; however, outside the school or organization rank is basically meaningless. People need to be made aware of this before they devote years of their time and money to a particular art, instructor, school, or organization.
When Joe Lewis got his black belt in six months and Kano founded Judo, they were breaking from tradition, and they were criticized for it by the martial arts community at that time and anyone considering studying under them should have been made aware of what they were getting into. After being made aware, if they still wanted to train with them, then that was their choice. In these two cases, if people chose to follow them, they would have made a good choice. However, “new” martial art styles and organizations appear and disappear every day, and any students who followed them wasted their time and money.