My $.02 “Full Contact Karate” & “Kick Boxing” are sporting versions or a lighter adaptation of Traditional Karate. Much in the same Trapp & Skeet shooting tests shooting skills… but cannot even remotely consider a combat skill. “Sport Karate” “Point Karate” “Koshiki” Full Contact” however you name the game….(Hell, Even Tae-bo, I knew Billy Blanks when he had hair) It is just that, a game. A game governed by rules. There is usually a referee standing in the ring to ensure that both competitors follow the rules. It’s interesting that you compare “Old Drills & Forms” to a class with “more emphasis on sparring and more fighting based techniques” Kata is karate! Everything I learn about Power, Speed, Balance, Energy Flow & Transfer of Energy and Bone Alignment are all learned in Kata, Ipon & Kihon drills. I pray that I never need to strike anyone as hard as I do in Kata. Kumite is the practical application of kata. The Karate-ka MUST learn to control his/her own center (on many levels) before he/she can ever even remotely hope to control an opponent. Without a solid grounding in traditional fundamental technique… the best you can hope for is a loose emulation of karate. When I was coming up, most of the “kick-boxers” were club boxers that couldn’t make it in professional boxing. They went to a dojo… learned a few kicks… “look at me! I’m a kick boxer!” Years ago I was standing on a ski slope in Colorado… A group of us were watching these guys skiing the “black diamond” slopes… one particular guy was just flying down the mountain… we were pretty impressed…. The guy next to me started counting down “five – four – three –two” before he made the one count… this guy just absolutely “bit it” then continued tumbling about 50 meters down the slope…. To the novice eye…. He really looked like he knew what he was doing…. But the guy next to me knew better. Take the time…. And LEARN the arts! Karate is no more just about “punching & kicking” than literature is just about words. Take the time… expand your vocabulary; learn the meanings as well as the origins of the words. Learn to converse intelligently and efficiently… BE INTERESTING! Do not take the road less traveled. I’m 46 years old; I’ve trained 2/3 of my life. I have absolutely no desire to “go” 5 rounds with anyone… I still play in the point game (understanding that it is just a game). In my opinion the difference between Traditional schools –vs.- Full contact schools… it’s a matter of technique and efficiency. I would much rather drop an attacker with a well placed strike to one of dozens of pressure points… Blow out a knee or even dislocate a shoulder as opposed to trading kicks & punches. On the street… in a real “live” situation, you do what you have been trained to do. You fall back on those things that are most basic and fundamental … no referee… no judges…no gloves. I’ll put my $$ on the well trained traditional martial artist every time.