In the end I think most would prefer to be a good looking kyu, than a crappy looking dan.
Personally, I'd forget about looking good and go for the skills. If it takes three years to get them and they call it shodan
, then that's great. If it takes ten years to get exactly the same skills
and they call it shodan
, then that's no problem either. If you get those exact same skills
in three years but they call it "third kyu" or "level 2" or even "Albert", the most important thing is getting the skills.
In any case, you are not learning and measuring the exact same thing. If you're getting your certification from the Aikikai, you have a few minimum techniques and time limits on your technical syllabus that correspond and even they are just "guidelines".