Ilia & Johnathan,
I am curious about the length of the test.
Im guessing its shorter because your sensei has had time to evaluate all your techniques and feels confident your smooth in all of them, therefore the test is more of a ceremony to show the flow of where your at?
At a certain point I suppose once you gain various underlying principles there really isnt a need to go 'in-depth' to test, as you either got what will make a technique work or not.
I can see the merit in both testing methods I suppose.
[Both show skill, one is just an aerobic version, of which I need to improve on]
Yes, that is more or less the reason I think. We have about 3 hours of practice where Kawahara shihan goes around and examines everyone, so that gives him plenty of time. I haven't seen anybody fail ever at my dojo for the past 8 years I've been there (I did miss a couple of seminars so I'm not 100% sure).
My ikkyu test was a bit longer though, (on paper anyways)... but sensei only made me show about 70% of the test. Our shodan test is the same as ikkyu, and I'll let you know how many of the techniques I had to do for that one when I do it next month.