I see what you’re saying. Proficiency and making something look pretty aren’t one in the same. Being TKD, I’m sure there’s far more emphasis on high kicks and flashier kicks than at my dojo. With stuff like that, and everything else, the expectations are adjusted for age, disability, stuff like that. Spirit is most important, but technique plays a critical role too. If the CI sees you’re doing your best and can make it work for you, you’ll get far more praise for that rib-height kick you’re struggling to do than the guy who can easily kick an apple off your head without touching you, but is somehow only kicking shoulder height today.Ok, I was a little short in my description. There are time-in-grade requirements, of which I've met the minimum (hence: moving fast). There's also proficiency in the techniques.
But one thing to keep in mind is that my school ranges in age from 4 year olds to 64 year olds. Someone who starts in their 50s or 60s isn't going to have beautiful head-level spinning hook kicks. But they can teach the 8 and 10 year olds how to do it if they understand the body mechanics.
Now, I'm not in the 50-60 range. I'm 30. I can spar and make it look good. I just can't compete with 22 year olds who have been doing the art since they were little kids, are 8 inches taller than me, and have time to work out.
It’s effort, spirit, knowledge, etc, but being proficient is definitely required. Again, you don’t have to be able to throw a flawless roundhouse to the head, but you’ve got to be able to effectively use the roundhouse within your realistic limitations. And not only against the air.
Edit - I say roundhouse, but that applies to everything. I’m sure we’re far closer with this and the previous posts than this type of medium shows.