Ruth McWilliam wrote:
Of course the down side of having lots of people at seminars is that you can't get close enough to see / hear the instructor sometimes, much less have him / her comment on what you're doing, so please don't forget there's another side to this coin!
It sounds like you are saying that you don't mind if many people aren't serious because that means that the seminars you attend won't be so full and you can get more out of them.
I understand this. That's why we do some seminars that are limited to 14 people precisely so the attendees can get the maximum out of their experience.
It is also true that often, the seminars which are absolutely packed will be the ones by the famous Japanese instructors. Every Tom, Dick, and Harry will turn out for one of those. Then an absolutely fabulous teacher who is non-Japanese will do one and a fraction of the folks will turn out. I see this time and time again. We call it the Japanese "mystique".
If you take a look at a seminar taught by a 5th or 6th Dan you will normally find that the folks attending are very serious about their training. They don't care if the teacher is Japanese or not, they just want the knowledge. If you want to escape the crowds, look for seminars taught by the senior non-Japanese teachers and you will find great training and might atually have room on the mat to fall.