This is sort of the problem. I've watched Yamada pass a group of tests and then give a 5 minute speach on how he was being generous, and how his own student embarassed him. Would you want to get your grade under such conditions. I'd rather fail and do it over right.
I tested for shodan at one of the first big seminars where there was a panel of shihan from the technical committee (Yamada, Berthiaume, Waite and Bernath). More than half failed (including the guys I had mentioned in my previous post. They hadn't reaqlized that I had passed at the same seminar when they made their comments, until I told them). Standards seem to have been tightened, but my impression is that they seem to vary somewhat from seminar to seminar.
As far as seminar attendance is concerned, you don't have to convince me. I've more than met the seminar requirements for instructors every year I have trained, even as an unranked beginner thirteen years ago. However, I'm not a certified instructor and for the moment there is no need since we have two senior shidoin at our dojo, but I do think about all this now that I meet the minimum requirements for fukushidoin, including having had a regular class to teach on our schedule all of last year.
The official big seminar with Yamada that I go to is the May seminar in Montreal and I haven't seen any mention of an instructor class there. I've been kind of curious as to what is taught. Please give details if you can.
Yamada Sensei is a generous man in my opinion. I saw a group of testers he out rightly failed. It sort of pained him to do so. You can read the disappointment.
The instructor's classes I watched were pin pointing it seemed a lot of pet peeves that Yamada Sensei seemed to have with black belt exams. He discussed attitudes about training. He covered a lot of finer points to techniques. He had Donovan Waite Sensei demonstrate a technique for the class in one of these classes, then proceeded to correct Waite sensei's technique in front of the class. Was sort of priceless. No one is beyond correction. I hope he does do a lot more of these classes. They were very inspiring to watch.