Sunday, October 28, 2012

Bunkai! (gesundheit)

  Bunkai (“Breaking Down”) is the interpretations of the motions performed within a kata. Until Taika began presenting his interpretations, the majority of systems emphasized that these motions represented the necessary motions for “sparring” (the fact that this made no sense, seemed to be irrelevant).
  For some time, the study/practice of kata motion was (and to some limited extent, still is) considered to be of no use or purpose. Why would they of been created, if they served no purpose? It was not taught that each student should create their own (kata). They were required to learn the specific kata, that their instructor mandated (for whatever reason).
  What seems to of been lost, was the reason(s) for their having done so. The RyuTe® system requires students (over the course of their mudansha/kyu-rank experience) to learn 12 kata (8 traditional, and the 5 Pinan kata). Within each, are motions that are repeated in some of the other kata. 

 Originally, many instructors taught only a few (2 or 3?) kata (to their students). They focused their instruction of technique around (only) those kata. A number of those instructor's became famous for just the techniques that they performed from those kata (and from their perspective, there was no need to learn any other/more kata). 
  It is my own opinion, that total knowledge isn't necessary (for the average student) of every kata (that's taught). Taika always stated, that each person will find the kata that they are the most comfortable with and that kata will (tend to) become their kata. 

 With time, and experience that kata may change (to a different one), but every student will always have 1 kata that is their favorite. It is that kata, that most of their preferred techniques will come from or be represented within.  
 I am constantly hearing about people claiming to reverse-engineer a kata (wtf ?). IMO, this usually amounts to someone taking a technique (that they like), and forcing the kata motions to match that technique (and when the motions don't, they'll claim that the kata had been taught incorrectly, LOL).
  For my own mudansha students, (when asked, or for example purposes) I will tend to illustrate some (simplistic) technique for whichever motion is asked about. As that student's experience increases, I will (generally) show another (technique) for the same kata motion. 
  Beginning students, are like (very) small children. They only seek simplistic answers (initially) to their questions. As they progress in their study (and hopefully understand more), I provide more involved answers. I've stated numerous times (on this blog) that RyuTe® is rife with trivialities (of detail). Providing too much, too soon, will only be confusing (and possibly detrimental) to the student.
  In general, the (specific) techniques that I've shown to a student (as representing the Bunkai of the particular motion) has been irrelevant. It's never been the technique that was important, it's always been the motion.
  It isn't how many different types of techniques we can come up with (to apply) by using that 1 motion. It's how many different offensive motions can be prevented/countered by using that 1 motion (defensively).
(Phrased slightly different, LOL) To myself, it makes more sense to practice 1 motion, that has a multitude of applications, than to practice a multitude of applications to defend against 1 motion.
  It's that very practice, that drives me crazy when viewing some of the nonsense that's out there. I've seen system's that teach 30 different ways to prevent being struck by a roundhouse punch, really? Does a student (any student?) really need to learn 30 different ways to prevent being hit by a roundhouse punch? And even if they believed that they do, what are the (different) criteria for each?
  I'm just finding it odd, that people keep trying to make the whole self-defense/life protection (thing) a lot more complicated than it needs to be. The whole “Bunkai” issue, seems to of become a favored battle ground for number of these “confusionists” (LOL). 
 I'm in favor of letting them "battle it out", I'm going to stick with my definition.


Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Light up that Joint!

  When instructing our students, we simplify(?) their general understanding of an aggressor's anatomical joint's (that can be manipulated to their defensive advantage). We make no (serious?) attempt at making them versed in the (technically) correct anatomical configurations of each and every one of the joints located throughout the entire human body.
  That, would be beyond the needs of our student's. Not that it wouldn't prove helpful, just that it isn't necessary. Our student's need only to understand the (physical) basics of "how & why" a joint moves (which can be sufficiently simplified quite easily, LOL). 
  We have limited their basic (required) understanding to be that there are "14" (major) joint “areas” to be considered when attempting to manipulate an aggressor/uke. These are the wrists, the elbows, the shoulder joints, the hip's, the knee's, the ankle's and the neck.
  Though each could be (further) broken-down to their individual components, it's only the most general of their R.O.M. That is of importance for the student to be knowledgeable about.
  Being knowledgeable about the R.O.M. Of the individual phalanges might be of (some?) use to a college (med) student, but it isn't for a student learning Life-Protection skills.
  Numerous systems (appear to) go out of their way having their student's learn “finger pressure” applications. Yes, they are uncomfortable... but they will never stop an emotionally enraged aggressor.
  For the most part, RyuTe® doesn't really “do” the finger-pressure applications. We focus (more so) on the major anatomical joints (that are used during the majority of motions performed by the limbs). 
  The most common type of anatomical “joint”, is the flat-hinge (type). This is most readily exemplified by the elbow, the knee and the wrist. Though each allows for some limited rotational capabilities, they primarily allow for only 2-directional motion.
 The wrist is most commonly miss-identified as possessing more rotational capabilities (than it actually has). It is the forearm that allows the wrist/hand and forearm to rotate (not the wrist joint itself). This rotational capability is allowed through the connections made at the elbow (by the Radial & Ulna bones in the forearm).
  More importantly, it needs to be recognized that the student should be knowledgeable about each anatomical joint's R.O.M. Until the student is educated over this subject, their ability to utilize the instructed joint manipulations will be somewhat limited.
  The shoulder, and the hip-joint, are both limited (range) Ball and Socket joints. The knee's are similar (in operation) to the elbow joints. The ankle's are unique, in that though they operate similar to the wrists, they have a wide range of lateral/rotational motion (through their connection at the knee). Though their flexion and extension capabilities are far more restrictive (than the wrist's are). 
  Though technically the whole spine is a flexiblejoint”, I only identify the waist as possessing any (important?) notable R.O.M. characteristics (that could effect any motion abilities/limitations on the part of an uke's response to a technique's application).
  Usually, it will be the Tuite techniques that a student will initially make note of the/any effects made upon these joints (when applying a technique).
  As the student's training progresses, the inclusion of atemi and kyusho strikes will be utilized to effect the abilities of those muscles and of the nerves that control the capabilities of the limbs to function. Much of that controlling (ability) of motion, is dependent upon the student's understanding/familiarity of the actual motion capabilities of those joints.

  The application of these (types of) strikes will be dependent upon what type of reaction it is that the tori is desiring to create. Though it is commonly stated, that someone “deadened” an opponent's arm, that isn't (really) an accurate assessment of the damage (if any) done to the opponent's arm. 
  When attempting to create a reaction (to occur) from a joint manipulation, it needs to be determined what would cause that reaction to occur naturally (via internal motivation, or external stimulation).
  The ability to reproduce that stimuli (externally) is what 90% of any martial arts technique's are designed to achieve (be it a strike, or a limb manipulation). 
  Numerous systems/schools teach (their versions of) the tuite applications as a separate, if not sub-art . This is an incorrect methodology. Tuite should (always) be taught as an integral piece of the entire (RyuTe®) system.
  Having (even) only a basic understanding of the muscles (and their tendon's) that control the limb's position and motion, will allow the student to target those locations directly. 
  By understanding how the various muscles/tendons and nerves work in conjunction, a student can specifically target those area's of an aggressor's anatomy. This will cause/create the desired reaction to the relevant limb, and will assist in the tori's defense. 
  You can often hear (during a class) that someone or something (an action or strike) has “lit-up” a particular nerve/area. This refers to our concept of activating a nerve/muscle. Until either (if not both) of those are activated, performing a (debilitating) strike is far more difficult.
  The ability to do that, is learned from knowing how and why the individual joints function, and knowing what causes them to operate.

Tuite, Widely Claimed, But Rarely Realized

  Although there are a few that use the term correctly (“Tuite”), The majority of martial arts practitioner's do not. More often than anyone should have to point out, they are (actually) referring to Tori Te, or Tui Di and just don't know enough about the subject to distinguish between the three.
  After having conducted a search of the internet on the subject, I was appalled at the extensive misrepresentation of the words. It was as if no one had ever heard of a Japanese/English dictionary!
  Torite (“tor-ee-tay”) is the Japanese pronunciation of the “kanji” that are used (for all 3 of the pronunciations). Tuidi (“twee-dee”) is the Okinawan pronunciation of the same kanji. Tuite (“tuwee-tay”) was the pronunciation that Taika began utilizing for his American student's (read elsewhere for why).
  Because of this linguistic confusion, many practitioner's (of numerous styles/systems) are under the assumption, that they are practicing the same techniques as were taught by Taika (Oyata) in his system of RyuTe®. This assumption would be incorrect.
  More often than not, those individual's are practicing some form of ju-jutsu and/or Aikido wrist applications. Though often being similar in appearance, these techniques are (in fact) performed differently. 
 On numerous occasions (in times past, during the 80's, early 90's), a large number of individual's attended a few of Taika's seminars (which he conducted at a multitude of locations and times during that time period).
  It was during those seminars, that Taika demonstrated his version of the techniques that he had named “Tui-te”. Though often (initially) appearing to be similar to techniques taught within other systems, his were performed differently. Often these would only amount to a minor change of angle, or pressure, but those changes made the techniques far more difficult to utilize counter-techniques upon them.
  Those (often subtle) differences are most notable within the most basic forms of the kihon technique. For those who attended Taika's seminars (during the 80's/90's), and had “learned” those techniques there, the minor differences were not (always) shown (or at least “pointed-out”, LOL).
  When observing the videos of those individual's attempting these techniques (on the internet), it's easy to see what they're doing incorrectly (though they often don't realize that they're doing them wrong themselves!). It is entirely possible to obtain a "functional/usable" response, yet be performing the technique incorrectly (which can obviously be confusing, LOL)
 Though being bad enough (that they perform the techniques incorrectly), they further compound those incorrect motions to "create"(?) subsequent "techniques" based upon those incorrect assumptions (derived through their own mistaken applications).
  Having began my own studies in a different system(from RyuTe®), I too was originally shown/taught many of those techniques differently. Those differences could easily of been ignored or not even noticed (by those seminar attendee's) when Taika was demonstrating his techniques to them. Only though prolonged practice within Taika's system (RyuTe®) would one become aware of those subtle differences. 
  After having had numerous years of practicing those techniques myself, have I now become sufficiently comfortable with them to make any claims of modest competency with their performance.
  What's commonly observed (through viewing their internet video clips), are those "seminar" student's muscling the techniques to cause their versions of the techniques to function at all.
  My associate and myself have committed a major portion of our own study towards the further development of our knowledge (and abilities) regarding the performance of (Taika's) Tuite techniques.
  That study has led us to the development of our 6 Basic Tuite Principles. The understanding of those principles would assist (any of) those individual's to identify their (obvious) mistakes at technique application.
  In regards to how those techniques are being taught, many are still utilizing a older (and frankly, ..."Taika's") methodology that gives the impression that he promoted a "hard and fast" application of those techniques regarding their practice (ending with a simplistic "release" to simulate "realism" and to reduce any serious injury).
  Although Taika (usually) demonstrated his techniques using this method, he had always endorsed "Slow and Soft" for their practice. Unfortunately, this isn't nearly as impressive for demonstrations (which is why/how people,..including past instructor's, came to believe that they had to be practiced quickly). 
 To be honest, Taika's techniques can be performed quite "sloppily", and will still achieve their intended function (to varying degrees). Which is very fortunate for the majority of students who haven't experienced the slow-speed training (which is far more difficult).
  At this time my associate and myself are in the process of writing a training text in regards to the execution of Taika's tuite techniques (for our own student's use, and/or possibly other RyuTe® assoc. students if an interest were to be demonstrated). Though not encompassing the remainder of the RyuTe® system, it should be obvious that it (Tuite) is clearly an integral piece of Taika's system.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Fill in the Blanks...

  Training with Taika was not always easy. Not that he was difficult to get along with, only that his teaching methods were,... different, LOL.
 His training methodology (mostly) boiled down to “I'm giving you all the pieces, now go figure it out” (and I'll let you know if your right, or not). Which (I'm sure, LOL) is why many people only studied with him for (usually) only a short time.
As a rule, the (average) American (or Westerner) doesn't like to commit their time to something that doesn't provide immediate results (at least in their minds..).
It didn't matter what the subject was, Taika would demonstrate it, then explain it, then expect you (the student) to begin working on it, to figure out how/why it worked. Only then, would he let you know if you were correct.
That entire process, would (on average) encompass several months. For the majority of students, this should of (in their minds) only be the subject (regardless of what the topic was) of a single class.
Taika did not teach his art, the way most westerner's teach theirs. He preferred that you figured it out (and usually on your own, with only limited assistance from him). In his mind (and from how he was taught) this would assure that you (really) knew the subject.
Because of that methodology, one can receive differing instruction from different individuals who studied under him. Varying perspectives can be a beneficial learning tool. When permitted, it can allow a student to mold their own personal defensive tactics (as well as techniques).
It should be noted, that having this view does not make “one” (methodology) correct, and another “wrong”. It should only illustrate that not every method is correct (nor the only one) for every student. 
When teaching a class, it is very easy to (attempt to) make every student perform exactly like every other student. Aside from it's impracticality, it's also a totally unrealistic goal to have (much less maintain).
I tend to believe that by making one “fill in the blanks” (for their own study), Taika was encouraging one's individual knowledge and abilities to come forward (for that student). Those motions and techniques that worked well (for that student) would be practiced and emphasized by that student.
As an instructor, you aren't able to make every decision for your student's, and that isn't your “job” anyhow. Your job (that you were hired for, by your student) was to train them in what they wanted to learn. If your not providing that training, they should have fired you (usually done by quitting your instruction).
Being familiar with Taika's instructional methods, I find it interesting that those who quit (or more often, were kicked-out of his associations, ie.“RyuTe® “ and “Shin Shu Ho®”) assume that they are (none the less) fully versed in his methodology (despite having been kicked-out of those groups, often as many as 15-20 years prior to his death).
What I've usually observed (on their part), is not so much of a tendency to know the answers to Taika's questions (that he would put forward to us), but to demonstrate their tendency to rewrite the questions that were asked by him (thereby allowing them to answer their own questions, instead of his). 


Friday, October 19, 2012

Learning to Fly (though we don't have wings)...

  (With apologies to Tom Petty, LOL),
 The pursuit of personal study is one that every student must (at some point) pursue. As my training associate eluded to (on his blog) recently, circumstances often prompt that endeavor sooner than one had originally planned. 

 With Taika's passing, any further opportunity to learn his methodology from him, is (obviously) gone. We are now obligated to pursue that study through the lessons he provided us during his lifetime. 
 For my own part, I was with Taika for over 30 years. Reviewing what Taika has shown us over the years (and the progression in the examples he provided) his own study and research was evident in that instruction.

 When Taika began his own solo study, he went to other instructor's (beyond his original) to learn the older (forms of) the kata. To this purpose, he learned those kata from Nakamura sensei. Though several individual's have made claims that Taika studied technique from him, that assertion is incorrect

 I have no need to learn any (more) kata, technique (or much of anything else) from any other system's instructions. That which Taika's instruction has given us, is proving to provide more than sufficient challenges to pursue our own continuing study.
  Solo-Study, is that practice which is done beyond and without the guidance provided by an instructor (being present). Though I have had (several) individual's state to me, that "they" are beyond the (need?) requirement of having to have an instructor, the mere act of making that statement is a telling sign (that they in fact could use some more instruction from a trainer).
 The term "solo" study, is a bit misleading, LOL. In our definition, it's only in reference to the fact that it isn't directly under a superior's tutelage. We (in fact) regularly utilize one another for reference and comparative analysis. We also utilize other Yudansha (in the RyuTe® system) for their opinions and views on the subjects being researched. 
  Over the years (of Taika's life, and instruction), there have been many things that Taika has said to each of us. Many of those statements and comments have been directed individually as well as in regard to the general practice and instruction of RyuTe®.
 It is my own hope, that the RyuTe® "board", get's their collective "stuff" together. I would sincerely like the association to continue, and to do so in a productive manner. I'm sure that these initial few months are going to be ... "spotty" (in regards to anything productive).
 I'm (already) aware of several RyuTe® members who have joined ranks with some of the individual's who were ejected from the association. I view that choice as being a slap to Taika's memory. To affiliate themselves with the very people that Taika disassociated from having any affiliation or membership with either himself or with any of his organizations (RyuTe®, Shin Shu Ho®, etc.) is pretty much a slap in the face of Taika's memory IMO.
  Some of those individuals (at one time) were member's of Taika's "Shin Shu Ho®" group. When they were kicked out, that affiliation was forfeited (though by their websites, they'd like you to think that they were still member's). Reading those sites displays the hypocrisy of these individual's (they respected Taika SO MUCH, that they left him, or were kicked-out by him???). Their only reason for seeking an association (to/with Taika) is for some manner of legitimacy.
 At this year's summer conference, it was rumored that the board would be "weeding-out" the association. It's my hope that these types of individual's as well as those sympathetic to their causes are included within that process (if the board follows through with that plan). It would be a easy enough matter to simply not renew those individual's annual memberships in January(for which there are a small group).
 Part of Learning to Fly, includes distancing one's self from groups that you are not a part of. From everything I see on these (other "X" RyuTe®) groups sites, they only claim to offer "Taika's" older methodology (seeing as how they haven't studied from him in 10, 15 or more years). Evidently, they haven't managed to continue or pursue their own study after having been kicked out.


Saturday, October 13, 2012

Most Common...

Most Common “First Action” Attacking Methods:
Right or Left (70/30) Side being utilized by Aggressor.

Arm Strikes: “Roundhouse” Punch
                     “Shoulder-Cocked” Punch
                                    Punch from Waist (Straight Punch)
                      Upper-Cut Punch

Leg Strikes: Knee Strike
                    Front Kick
                    Roundhouse Kick
                   “Spinning” Kick (type is irrelevant)

Grabs & Pushes: Push to Chest/Shoulder (1&2-Hand)
                            Forearm Grab (High-Straight & Cross)
                            Upper Arm Grab (Single/Cross-Straight, Double)
                            Bear-Hugs From Rear (Outside & Inside)
  These are the most commonly encountered “First Action” aggressions that are encountered in a typical (unarmed) altercation. The most commonly taught response/reaction that is taught to “new” students (from the majority of martial arts methodology's), is to respond by retreating/backing-up. Though seeming to be a logical reaction (and often based upon the premiss that one will do so naturally anyhow), by doing so, it more often places the defender/tori into a more perilous position.
  By “backing-up”, the tori has started his body-weight motioning in a rearward direction (away from the aggressor). This will cause any counter-strikes being made (on their part) to be less effective.
  They are also moving (further) into the effective range of the aggressor's (initial) strike. Successive strikes (by the uke) are very often performed in sets (of 2, or 3), with the first, and the final strikes of the set (that's being performed) intending to be the most damage producing blows.
  This strategy is intended to cause the defender to “cover-up” (defensively), and thus causing/creating further openings for the aggressor to exploit.
  This is a time-tested (and proven) tactic, that is very often completely effective (which is why many people use it). It is also (but one of the reasons) why, we don't train our student's to back-up.
  We (as most every other system, LOL) begin our (new) student's with learning the basic motions and stances. As they become more familiar with these, we introduce them to basic applications (of the various types of defensive actions, ie. For Grabs, pushes, strike attempts, etc.).
  Once they've became familiar with those basic motions, we have them begin to utilize them in various (combined) protective sequences.
  Although there are numerous responsive actions for each of the individual aggressive manors presented, we (initially) have them work on (singular) motions that can be used (equally) for any of the various methods of aggression.
  As the student progresses, they can/will determine (for themselves) which method is the most natural (and productive) for their own defensive practice.

 I've previously described one of these (types of) motions and have explained how they are practiced against the common manors utilized in an assault (like those listed above). 

 Very often, it seems that systems will attempt to have students practice defenses for manors of assault that are more appropriate in an action movie, than in a typical assault.
 The situations listed above, are far more common than what are more often seen practiced in the average school/dojo. Many schools attempt to have students practice against aggressor's who utilize martial arts types of aggressive techniques.
 Aside from being unrealistic (much less common) practicing against those types of techniques doesn't acclimate the student to recognizing the more commonly encountered assault methods. 
 As opposed to retreating, we will either motion to one (either) side, or forward. If/when we motion to one side, we will most often follow-up that motion with a forward motion.
 Motioning forward has numerous advantages, initially it changes the distancing that the aggressor had initially planned for. It also allows the defender to apply the necessary counter-measures to neutralize the aggressor faster (than retreating, then having to move back forward in order to apply the counter measures). 
 Though these motions are (individually) simple forms of the taught basic motions, when combined they could (initially) be considered confusing (to the student). It's the continued practice of these motions that will simplify their use for the student. 
 If student's are practicing against unrealistic manners of assault, then that practice is (in fact) useless. Practicing to defend from assaults that could (most probably) only be perpetrated by a martial artist, is both unrealistic and to some degree, somewhat pointless.
 For the average student, practicing to prevent the more commonly used (types of) techniques such as those listed, are of far greater benefit to those who's wishes are geared towards self-protection.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Arm Candy

 I was reading an individual's blog, who was describing how he would apply an arm-bar. Considering that he (and his reader's) rate him as being an expert, I thought the explanation was rather,..lame (if not out-right wrong).
  I can remember that even back in the “70's”, the common instruction of applying an arm-bar, specified that when applying the pressure to the back of the uke's arm, one should avoid placing that pressure upon the elbow.
  Contrary to that, this individual endorses the direct placement of the tori's force/technique application to be made upon the uke's elbow. This is directly contrary to how it should be done (for numerous reasons, including the fact that by placing pressure Only upon the elbow, your allowing the uke's arm muscles to remain able to resist the tori's application of pressure).
  Having taught the application of the arm-bar for over 20 years, I feel that I know a little bit about the subject. Also from having demonstrated this technique innumerable times, I'm fairly knowledgeable of how/why this technique will and won't work.
  By applying pressure directly upon the elbow of the uke, the technique can be defeated (by the uke) if/when they've been taught the correct manner to do so (or if they are significantly larger than the tori) . Application in this manor is also far more difficult if the tori is of smaller size/stature than the uke.
  The article in question, was written in regards to application practice (and whether or not that practice is being performed just as when done during a conflict, sans speed/power). In the article (when describing his arm-bar application) he also mentioned an alternate application (to his version) that's placed upon the triceps muscle (his is performed upon the elbow).
  In his version, placement upon the triceps will (only) result in failure, and/or is more susceptible to counter. I'm afraid that I would have to heartedly disagree. Virtually every version that he advocates in his article, I disagree with.
  It's (to myself) odd, but his descriptions of the other subjects mentioned in the article, I (generally) agree with. It's only the Arm-Bar that I (very much so) disagree with.
  Because because of my experience with L.E., I can see that his version is somewhat similar to how (many) departments teach the Arm-Bar to be performed. It's not correct, but that doesn't stop most departments from teaching it that way, LOL.
  I've already described the manor that we apply the Arm-Bar (in a previous blog), but I'm wondering how many different versions of an Arm-Bar application there really are? 


Monday, October 8, 2012

The “Un-Real” aspect of Reality Training

  I recently read a blog written by a particular individual, that I often enjoy reading. This particular one (to my own great disappointment) illustrated and reveled the praises of the commonly held delusions of today's “reality” (training) nonsense.
  First off, there is no (actual) “reality” training (other than real-life). I can/will dispute Anybody's version of what (their) reality training is. What's being passed off as reality, is anything but. I am truly sick of these charlatan's and liar's that are selling their trash (for your money), for a product/methodology that is completely false.
  The biggest perpetrator of this fallacy, isn't a person, it's the concept of “sparring”. This activity was originally conceived to promote competition (between young students), and as a method of dissipating their youthful aggression. It has nothing to do with self, or life-protection.
  There are numerous versions of this training concept. Everything that's being attempted (through that type of training) though, is false (in regards to self-protection). In every instance of this methodology, the participants are young, strong, healthy,...and male (aka,“MMA”). The few that have female participants, are (only) a bigger Joke.
  When you begin to consider what's being done, it becomes more and more obvious that these methods don't really serve any purpose aside from being (false) confidence builder's (in a supposed “training” environment).
  If it (actually) were a “reality” training method, there should be dead participant's. What?, there aren't any body's or ambulance's at the conclusion of your “reality” training session? Then how real is it?
  The only real difference that's being presented with these methods, has to do with one's attitude. If you dismiss the other physical nonsense, the training becomes a mental exercise (which hardly necessitates the inclusion of physical interaction). 
  The ability to defend one's self, is based around being able to respond and deter the initial physical aggression made against you. When one examines the standard “sparring” method, it bears no semblance to an actual confrontation (and if you believe that it does, you have some serious work to do on your understanding of what a confrontation actually is).
  The most common retort to this, is the (excuse) claim that one is learning to “take a punch”. The more one considers this claim, the less sense it makes. IF, that were actually true, then they should have their student's lining up, and getting clubbed in the back of the head with a 2 X 4 (which is closer to reality than any of the presented “sparring” methods are).
  The “claim” is, that they are "teaching" (a questionable use of that word in my opinion, LOL) the student to get used to being struck. Really?, how many times do they strike them in the neck, or the throat? (much less the groin). And are they doing it without protective gear ? (BIG difference, LOL). If they're really attempting to prep them for receiving physical impacts, shouldn't those impacts be against areas of the body that will incapacitate them as well?
  Confirmation of the UN-reality of this methodology is fairly obvious. How many of these “systems”, will match a 16yr. Old, female student, who's 90# against a 220# male? (which is a Far more realistic situation than 95% of the sparring matches ever are).
  The majority of these systems will commonly ignore (if not reject) any validity to the concept of step practice (be it 1, 2 or more steps). By training in the “sparring” method (only), they are ignoring the most practical point in which to deter an aggression (at the beginning of the confrontation). God forbid you should (ever) mention Kata, to them LOL.
  The concept of “sparring” completely ignores the beginning of a confrontation (by having both participant's being in “stances”), not to mention the inability to utilize kick's (below the belt), or anything else that's practiced during a training class. Sparring will teach purely reactive responses to any attempted aggressions. This also ignores the preemptive abilities that (at least our) student's (eventually) train at performing.
  If/when one trains to only begin their (physical) defenses in response to physical actions (that are more than half-way into their completion), the defender will experience a far more difficult time at being able to do so.
 There is more to being able to defend one's self than (simply) being able to resist one's reaction to an injury (caused by an aggressor's attack). Ideally, one's defense begins before the aggressor begins their attack. That can only come from the student practicing their reactions to respond preemptively to those aggressions.
 That practice is done slowly (to begin with), and is gradually increased in speed. This requires time, which is something that the "popular" methodology's don't seem to want to expend. It's (very) often the very thing that those system's claim as being their strong-point (that they don't waste time on learning techniques that contain/require minute details).
 The 2nd most worrisome aspect of their practice methods, are the follow-ups that they implement. These usually amount to fatally injuring the assailant. Though being a valid option, this should not be the main practice conclusion to every defensive situation. 
 I suppose if one only wants to be familiar with some (different?) ways to (fatally) incapacitate someone (and isn't concerned with the legal ramifications for having done so), then maybe that is all that they need to study. Not exactly something that you could consider to be an "Art" though.
 I guess what disturbed me the most about this individual's post, was the (obvious) belief that what he was participating in was "realistic". He described (in great detail) the donning of the protective equipment, and about how much they learned (?) from clubbing upon one another. 
 He seemed to be oblivious to the fact that he couldn't describe what the uke's reactions/responses would be from any of those (supposedly) completed technique applications. The only (result?) explanation of/for the described practice, was in regards to how much protective gear they had to use (because of the level of force they utilized in their practice methods).
 Having had a few "off-line" discussions with this individual, I'm aware of his (general) beliefs regarding martial arts (which is why I find his summation and evaluations so ridiculous). He and I have discussed Taika's ability to knock individuals unconscious with just a light strike, for which though he (kind of) accepted could occur (he brushed off the majority of "point" strikes as either suggestion and/or even being subliminal/group hypnosis). 
 We also discussed the application of "arm" strikes (which he also didn't believe in). His reasoning was that since he had participated in some manor of a martial art that included striking the arms with "sticks"(and hadn't suffered any debilitating repercussions), then strikes performed upon the arms had no validity (?). Though being  
a disingenuous comparison, it was sufficient for his evaluation.
  I found it interesting that he (like myself) consider the "mystical/magical" nonsense of ki/chi (and all of it's related data) as being of no use, as well as being a waste of anyone's time. Yet, when presented with (multitudes of) confirming testimony (from numerous sources) as to the validity/ability of Taika to perform his techniques, (including upon the arm's, LOL) he believed those reports to be falsified.
  Though I understand his tendency to be skeptical of those techniques, I find it difficult to question the numerous verified accounts of their execution. I (of course, LOL) have been on the receiving, as well as the delivery end of those strikes (upon students, and upon other Yudansha, from both within and outside of the RyuTe® association), so my acceptance of them (as to their validity) is a given.
 From what I've been able to observe, and even to participate in, what's generally being called "Reality", is (more often) simply practiced aggression methods (with little, to no protective application).