"That's not right" Sometimes heard in a dojo being said by Kyu grade to a Dan grade – "so-and-so doesn't do it like that".
I believe it is said based on a preconception that any technique is defined with precision. Nothing can be further from the truth. It's not black and white, it's a living interaction depending on many component parts.
Size, weight, length of ones limbs mental intent, physical, flowing, breathing and state of mind plus other characteristics. Each technique is performed within a broad envelope adhering to aikido characteristics of blending and leading mind and body.
So whilst Kyu grades are encouraged to learn techniques as steps one, two, three, four etc. In truth steps have to merge to become a flow - this is part of the richness of Aikido and the enormity of what has to be learnt. So Kyu grades try not to judge but learn from the experiences of others and observe and feel everything. Don't gauge things as being right or wrong, black or white - when in fact it's many shades of grey.
It's also disrespectful and suggest you revisit dojo etiquette - understand and respect.
Also heard "That wasn't what was shown!" This is harder to grasp. All grades in the Lancashire Aikikai are encouraged to work with an incoming force and through blending to control it. The development of higher grades demands it so and thus may be your higher grade partner was developing this aspect in developing higher aspects of blending and movement. It's no good on the street saying sorry I meant to do kotegaeshi can you can then hit me again!!
Yes of course we should all do as we are shown by the Sensei but again as long as the direction is broadly the same there will be variability not least because of the factors and components mentioned previously.
For Uke's it is also voyage of development. You shouldn't preconcieve or close your mind as to how to move or how to breakfall in a certain direction. It is for you to learn to follow. By being receptive in this manner the nuances can be felt and understood. If you don't learn the lesson of following your progress is slowed.
Andrew Baird (Published 2013)