Other semi-titles are, "Sho-dan through Ju-dan," and "Master, Grand Master," etc. Some Okinawan?Japanese oriented and others Western names and titles created/developed over the last twenty plus years.
If we cannot attain a title for what ever reasons then we tend to gravitate toward "creating titles" that suit our needs, wants and desires. Is this a good thing, does it live to the spirit of the system and do they have any true, accepted, meaning outside either the person, training facility or system associations?
Then we have to ask, does it matter either way? I have/had titles in my life and they were and are very important ..... to me. Often they were for work and were important simply because sometimes a title denotes a proficiency that meant "more money."
A company manager may make a certain level of money while a Chief Executive Officer will make a ton more .... this seems to be the way of our culture. Culturally speaking in regards to Asian systems of martial arts it began in feudal Japan where a hierarchical system with titles adopted from Chinese influences are still in use today in Japan.
This is a bit like a lineage, ancestry be it family or martial system. It has and always will matter at one level or the other. It seems a human condition and is present in cultures and belief systems. Even religious history shows titles, statuses and hierarchical rule.
Oh yea, we have titles or labels for everything so it seems it might be a natural tendency to label or give a title to all things. Even the Tao which is not explainable with words gets explained with words. The unnamable tao is till labeled the tao.
Last question, when someone utilizes a title does it say anything particular about that person? Does it matter? I use to wear a red/white paneled obi. One day I needed to leave the dojo to go down a public hall to the rest room. I took it off, folded it neatly and placed it atop my gear bag. Another practitioner asked, "Why did you take off your belt to go to the rest room?" Simple, in many eyes it might convey "master status" and that may prompt someone to test that premise, I don't wish to instigate some conflict." I wonder if someone at a function failed to use a persons title if it would instigate some conflict?
This of course brings up another troublemaker, "a person's sense of entitlement." The anathema to humbleness. Then again if everyone had knowledge of me, called me some title and caused me to be flattered - wouldn't I too allow the title to stand? How does this stand next to the Asian culture and belief regarding "humbleness?"