You said in one of your posts that you'd contact a PADI Instructor about your gear removal question, so being a PADI MSDT, I'll take a shot at it. First, we do indeed teach BCD removal both on the surface and on the bottom, but certainly NEVER ascending without gear. There are no Confined or Open Water Exercises that teach ascent without the regulator in your mouth, the gear still attached to your body, nor should there be, for the same reason you mentioned earlier: Someone eventually dies; death can occur swiftly from apnea (breath-holding)of compressed air while asending, and it only takes a depth change of 1.2 metres (4 Ft.) to cause any of the four forms of lung overexpansiion injury. I don't know which dive agency you're using, but it certainly reminds me of the old days when divers were trained much in the same fashion as the Navy Seals, since most of the instructors were military types, bent on training everyone as though they were preparing for undersea attack.
I have several concerns about any agency that would teach you in this manner. First, it sounds as though they are combining several skills at once, and adding some just for their amusement, and that's not good. For your information, the surface and depth removal and replacement of BCD and weights is pretty much all of Confined Water Dive 5, but the ascent without the gear is off the charts, even when training leadership level divers. As part of our Divemaster Training skills, we do have the Divemaster Candidates, two at a time, exchange gear underwater, and then ascend wearing the other person's gear, but only as a "novel problem solving skill," to teach adaptability to unique problems that could occur underwater. And, even then, they do not ascend without a regulator in their mouth.
Next, even in the Controlled Emergency Swimming Ascent,which is performed in both Confined Water and Open Water training exercises, the diver does NOT ascend wihout a regulator, and in fact, the strongest admonition given to each student all during training, and again, several times prior to doing it in Open Water, is "DO NOT TAKE YOUR REGULATOR OUT OF YOUR MOUTH FOR ANY REASON WHATSOEVER!"
If you stay in this business long enough, you are going to run across those persons who imitate intructors, but who have no business teaching others, who in actuality wouldn't even make good beginning dive buddies. I heavily suggest that you go with an agency that does not allow this type of Instructor Candidate to ever get his card until he learns more about how dangerous his little "added bonus skills" really are. There are NO RECREATIONAL diving skill levels which require what you described, and whoever is teaching them is putting you in danger, as you already know, since someone died from a similar idiot's advice. I can probably guess the initials of the dive agency you used, but that's neither here nor there; what's important is that you take all further training from qualified personnel, from a real dive agency. We are not training "death-defying" antics down there. It's supposed to be safe and fun! Write me if I can be of further service.
PADI Master Scuba Diver Trainer