I want to be adequately prepared for a real life scenario. I don't want to regularly put myself in hard-sparring situations which can lead to brain damage, or possible severe injury (landing wrong on a throw, etc.). I could use headgear but that doesn't fully defend against a knockout, which IS brain-damage. I value my mind and intelligence. There is a logic for heavier sparring with very few rules. -It gets you better prepared for the adrenaline dump in a real life situation -You will know what it's like to deal with someone throwing stuff at you full power. -You will get used to getting hit. -You will get a feel for throwing the techniques full power so you can have more control over them (timing, execution, skill level, etc.) -There is the idea: "If you don't train with contact you will pull strikes in a fight." So, you do in real life what you do in training, or at least to a significant extent. So I am wondering how true these are. Perhaps meditation could help you deal with an adrenaline dump... perhaps you can work on your own pain tolerance in a controlled way... ... perhaps you can throw the techniques full out in a safe way on your opponent or full fledged on a heavy back and develop the same skill... perhaps the "you fight how you train" in this context is flat out false, and you won't pull your punches at all. I can't think of something that would adequately be an example or counter-example though. I don't know if these statements are true, but perhaps they are. I'm not saying sparring is wrong, but perhaps full-contact sparring is necessary, and to be avoided with a higher risk of brain damage and injury. What are your thoughts?