Thank you for your post. I have a fairly low expectation of the possibility of any progress, given the current structure of large, open seminars. There is a certain mentality evident here, however, such that the same people can usually be found on the front row at such seminars, as close to the instructor as possible. Thus, the onus is on the student to make the experience as valuable as possible, given his or her own level of skill and knowledge. Such large open seminars are a feature of Doshu's visits anywhere. However, I suspect that here, there is also a view that merely being present at the seminar is of value, like attending a rally or a live-house concert,
Of course, the fact that the seminars are attended by many participants does not remove the responsibility involved in teaching, but it does influence how the teaching mission is conceived. When I first started coming to the Netherlands 'officially', I often sought advice from my own teacher here, now 8th dan. His answer was invariably something like, "They do not know you because they do not train with you every day. Do not teach techniques explicitly. Show a technique a number of times and then pass on to another technique. Leave them to figure it out for themselves."
- For a given seminar, what are your primary motivations for attending? I really don't understand how people can attend a seminar and not try to practice what the teacher is showing.
So I would turn the question round and ask from the instructor's point of view: For a given seminar, what are your primary motivations for attending ( = teaching at the seminar)? Why do teachers can keep giving seminars when the people attending do not try to practice what the teacher is showing? I gave you Tada Shihan's answer in a previous post. He has a very clear idea of what he has to do, which is to show people important segments of the aikido he does, since this is what he thinks people need to learn. I think Doshu's view is similar.
Of course, a smaller, workshop-type, seminar is quite different and is closer to the type of training in the early Kobukan or the Tokyo Hombu directly after the war, when numbers were far fewer than they are now.