What are they?
Seminars are usually classes of aikido open to a wider group of aikidoka than what you train with in your regular dojo classes. They are usually arranged by a dojo or association to invite aikidoka from other clubs to all come together and train. It is common for a seminar to be 4 or 5 hours of training in a day and can be more than one day. In fact most TAE (Traditional Aikido Europe) seminars are over a weekend. Most seminars are taught by one teacher however, there are collaborations known as Friendship seminars.
When I attend seminars, I find myself in a different mindset to my regular classes. In seminars I find I am overwhelmed with information of which I can spend the next few months trying to unpick. This provides me with an abundance of things I can do in my personal study. This information will come from the teacher of course but will also come from training with fellow aikidoka that I do not often meet at my regular classes. Aikido is a study of connectivity (harmony). If I only trained with my club members, then I would be limited in this study.
Takemusu Aikido is phenomenal for solo practice, and I often get lost in this practice and the best way to moderate what I am doing is to train with my wider community of aikidoka.
I have attended seminars outside my association attending seminars taught by too many to name. In these I get to see the similarities within our lineage and appreciate the differences. This can be confusing at times and attending too many of these can cause conflict in your aikido, but if you can compartmentalise then a lot can be learned from these.
Attending seminars hosted within your association can give you a real lift to your personal training. Our dojo is part of am extremely large European association with hundreds of Aikidoka of all levels for you to pressure test your aikido with. And the best time to do this is at seminars. At these seminars you can also find you build lifelong friendships and count down the days until you can meet again to eat, drink and of course train together. I should also add that I have visited a lot more countries thanks to Aikido seminars.