Ha, fair enough! Cool, I've got a bit of experience in that field as well. Are you, though? If you are training to stay on the ground looking for a submission, why do you think you're going to get up as fast as possible? The only way you're going to consistently look for that is if you are training it... and that is trained as the more powerful response. Sadly, of course, with our unconscious, rational and logical thought doesn't really enter into it, so it's just as likely (in fact, more likely) that success you experience getting a submission, arm-bar, choke, or whatever, will be seen as more "powerful" over getting up and escaping, as that leaves you in a control position, which is unconsciously recognised as "powerful". So I'd suggest that, if and when it really came down to it, your training would have you look for a submission before you looked for an escape... and if you're training with self defence in mind, that's not the option you want to come out. The reason to train for submission is if going for submission is the way you generate success. Street defence wise, that's not the case. Competition wise, it is. So again, what are you training for? Right, the linking of techniques... is that really what you're going to want though? Is it realistic to expect that? Is it realistic to expect to need it due to the other guy being a skilled grappler, and giving you skilled grappling defences? Personally, I'd say no. As far as developing you're "go to" techniques/tactics, that's precisely what you'll get out of scenario training, a lot faster and more powerfully than in sparring (as in scenario training the reactions of the attackers will be more realistic, giving feedback of effective techinique, whereas, more in stand-up striking sparring, the lack of the opponent being halted in their attack, such as toppling after a kick to the knee, means that the "go to" techniques aren't re-inforced as powerful anywhere near as strongly or as well). Relaxation and mental approach, again, more than present in scenario based training as well. And the athletic side of things can more than be taken care of as well... just keep training, and keep upping the intensity! What this has all said to me is that the sparring method gives tactics and responses that are not ideal, and trains them in a way that is less likely to give a powerful (required) result, and takes longer to do so. It allows you to train in ways that benefit the competitive forms, but not for self defence. Again, what are you training for? Far more than just empty hand, my friend. No, I don't agree with that. In fact, when you think about it, it just doesn't make any sense at all. It's not the techniques that don't suit sparring, it's the tactics and strategies. Zenpo Keri isn't something that would be prohibited by sparring, nor is a Fudo Ken or Shuto Ken... what actually happens is that it brings up the insecurities and doubts about the usage of the methods, so the practitioner goes to what they believe is powerful and generates success... which is what they have seen "work" in movies, competition (which sparring is really a mimic of), and so on. It really has nothing to do with the techniques not suiting. This form of cross-influence (rather than cross-training, which I class as training in a different methodology in order to gain a wider understanding, such as cross training in BJJ so you have a better understanding of the new environment, the ground) does nothing but weaken the practitioners usage of the art by simply undermining any belief they might have in it's usefulness and applicability. If the student is training in an art, and then has to use completely different techniques and methods when it comes to sparring, which they believe equates to "application", it just says to them that the art they're learning doesn't work when it comes to application. There is no strength for the art there, and there isn't much for the student, either. They'd be better off just training in a sport stand-up system, or grappling system, where everything they learn has it's application in sparring, and it's all congruent. I mean, do you see BJJ guys saying they need to learn the striking methods of BBT? No, because, in their application, everything they do has it's place in their sparring (rolling). It's not quite an "either/or" situation, you're right. It's a matter of looking objectively at what the training actually does, what it reinforces, what it strengthens, what it weakens, what it minimalizes, what it's shortfalls are, and so on. And if you find that one form of training doesn't cut it in terms of the number of issues it presents against it's benefits, it's time to look at removing it. With self defence training, as I see it, that means that sparring doesn't really have a place. It depends on what you're after, really. There's no Iai in the Bujinkan schools, nor is there any Kyudo/jutsu, so they would be mainly for the personal students interest, they really won't add too much to the practice of the Bujinkan arts. As far as Judo or BJJ, both great arts, and use sparring as they have the circumstances that gain benefits from it. But I will say that there are issues there as well... I've seen a lot of X-Kan members who cross-train in Judo have that other training getting in the way of their Takamatsuden practice. They may do things in a way that look good, and are "effective", in their way, but they aren't the way they are done in the Ryu themselves. Instead of doing throws the way Kukishinden Ryu does them, for instance, they are Judo throws mixed into the Kukishinden Ryu material, which takes it further from being what it's meant to be. And if you're training for self defence, sports systems aren't necessarily going to add too much... but I wouldn't honestly suggest any classical art either. The question might be how much they are really a Takamatsuden practitioner if they are adding influence from these other sources, though. Sure, they may find things they feel are benefits from the other training, but that doesn't necessarily translate to them still being truly "Takamatsuden" themselves. I think that comes down to what the aims of the training are. If you're looking at what you can get out of it, with your own personal aims, say, self defence, with no concern as to where the skill comes from, maybe. There are still issues (too many cooks, and so forth...), but maybe. If, however, you want to get good at the art itself, nope. But then again, if you're just looking at a personal desire/aim, then the idea of being a Takamatsuden practitioner takes a back seat.