Re: Open Letter to My Students
I think people do go to seminars for all sorts of reasons, and not always for the same reasons they go to class...
From a pure training perspective, for me and for many it doesn't actually make much 'sense' to go to seminars. I may pay the equivalent of several months' dojo fees on one weekend with perhaps 10 hours total of class (my dojo has plenty of classes so if I took every class offered I'd be up to the same number of hours in less than a week at a tiny fraction of the cost), often with a class large enough that I don't get any individual attention. At home I have small classes with frequent individual help from an instructor who's good enough that other people travel to seminars to see him, and plenty of help from his top students.
And yet I keep going to seminars... why?
A lot of it is about that experience of training with different people on the mat who I'm not used to, a lot is about seeing specific teachers who I have learned to like both in terms of their technique and they teaching style, (e.g. who show a different perspective on things, in ways that help me learn), and a big part is about getting to train all day instead of just a couple of hours a day. But some of these are things that build with time, because until you start going to seminars, you don't start to get to know different teachers.... (And until you've actually trained all day you aren't that sure if you even can).
Actually if I recall the very first time I went to summer camp, what finally tipped the balance in favour of going was the realization that many of the first generation of O-Sensei's students were aging, some who I would so like to have met and taken classes from had died before I had had a chance to meet them, and that I would never know if this might be my last chance to see the others' training in person or to meet them. So actually, if I think about it it was those Japanese Shihans that drew me in the first time...