Thanks Tony. My sensei actually does that sometimes, but at nidan, he thinks it is less about fulfilling syllabus requirements than just demonstrating what you can do. We had another nidan grading a few weeks later because she was sick on the day and it looked completely different. I think sensei is trying to encourage that difference so that we all find our own aikido in there somewhere.
Great to hear from you both how gradings are conducted in other dojo, given the freedoms with grading in our organisation its good to hear of the rigour and various sensei's thoughts on examination day.
Given the grading syllabus is completely freestyle after 2nd Kyu its not so surprising that sensei might like to see individualism emerge, as well as to request some techniques that haven't been demonstrated in the freestyle tanninzugake.
Probably the only real concerning aberrations are in the interpretation of weapons Kata, that can get a bit on the fruity (or static) for that matter.
FWIW, some personal thoughts on the aikido yuishinkai syllabbus. IMHO its a pretty amazing creation (the syllabbus that is ) http://www.aikidorepublic.com/aikido...ading-syllabus