Peter, I see where you're coming from, but I still think I'd be more suspicious of a shodan grade after one year than one after ten years! (not that it took me ages, ahem)
Ian, Ok, now I really do need to know what option 4 is.
Tyler, if grading and ranks are what are required where you train then go with it, and just treat it as part of your own progress without reading too much into it! Going to extremes - either obsessing about promotion by making it your only goal, or at the other extreme - boycotting it by refusing rank don't make for good long term training in my opinion.