I don't understand when you get to such a high level/rank. It's like it's not even about the knowledge or skills anymore. It's more about time. Is a 9th degree really that much better or knowledgeable than a 8th degree? Is a red belt really that much better? I mean sure 40 yrs and 45 yrs is a 5 yrs difference. But why some can go from white to blue in a few months while others take 5 years to get that same promotion? Everyone learns differently. I think it's dumb to put a timeline on these promotions. If you're at the level, then you're at the level. Look at BJ Penn who got his Black belt in 3 yrs. If there's any standard, I'm sure he would've reached red belt in less than 40 yrs too. He's a BJJ prodigy and learned super fast. But unfortunately, everything after black belt, is just time. You could be a black belt for 5 years, not gain any knowledge and still be promoted to 2nd stripe or whatever. There are more innovative, creative, better 1st degree black belts than a higher one. Like Eddie Bravo who created his own system. So cool. I think it's cooler/better to create your own moves/techniques because maybe even a red belt haven't seen it before and will get subbed by it. Anyways, ranks after the first few degrees is totally pointless. Might as well just say "45 year black belt veteran" instead of a "red belt". Kind of the same meaning.