Fair enough, and I learned the hard way after years and years of karate that not only did I not know how to fight, but I didn't know how to punch or kick either, and I'm still unlearning that damn stance. My favorite way of testing newfound skills from a seminar or whatnot is to take it to a completely different place. Last time I did a WSD course (it was actually a good one and we did drill and then practice against progressive resistance, esp. me because I told all the guys to go really really hard so I could make sure I got it
and wondered the next morning whether that was really necessary) I learned four techniques that I thought were questionable and took 'em to some guys I train with, without telling them what the technique was. Two of the four worked, one required some modification for my body type, and one will never ever work.
BUT if the whole point of training is for fun, or "an intense form of yoga" or whatever you want to call it, why does it matter whether it's realistic or not?
What if someone gets more pleasure from practicing skills in a vaccuum at Ernie Reyes West Coast Tae Kwon Do than, say, MMA? Training might be more fun than dead forms once you actually get down to sparring, but there's probably more drama, ego, politics, bullshit, game playing, etc. than just about any other activity I can think of. If I wasn't getting tangible self-defense skills out of it, I would have quit a long time ago and switched to, like, qi gong or something as it took me close to four years to find a tolerable "realistic" training situation.
Also I'm not so sure that all people go as hard as they can in all MMA classes, or at least, that hasn't been my experience. What about people who freeze up or won't use much force at all, or people who have little technique and use a ton of force to prove themselves--e.g. their training partner already tapped out so why not quit cranking when they don't have the choke on right anyway--I bet everyone has seen this or something like it...