Dustin Acuff wrote:
My sensei was a national karate champion at 17 back in the 70's
One thing I've learned from training and helping teach at a Sport Karate dojo is that in general what wins national karate championships is good-looking technique rather than technique that is the most effective in a fight. So the champs have very good body dynamics within the parameters of their training, but there's a whole world of stuff with which they lack experience. And unless you're talking about sparring, the championships are based on forms rather than improvisation in the face of an attack -- so no wonder they couldn't cope.