We drew virtually identical conclusions.
Yes, they are fun. Yes, they have value. If you are just “training” (if I can even use this word here) via seminars however, you are wasting your time.
While I was teaching private lessons at a martial arts store, I sometimes would hear people come in and tell me they “were training in Systema.” This raised my eyebrow, since I have the only school in town and they have never been there.
“I go to seminars now and again.”
When queried as to where they actually train, the question drew the proverbial blank stare as if they could not comprehend the question itself. (Personally, I could not comprehend their initial statement.)
Going to seminars only is not training. It is vacationing with some martial arts in the mix. If you are not training weekly, regularly, you are not training. Seminars are design to supplement training, not replace it.
As such, I coined a new term to reflect these individuals – the Systemanarist.
Be a Systemanarist or be a Systema Practitioner. You cannot do both.
The former is a good start or an excellent supplementation.
The latter is the only way to make real progress on the path.