Re: Control in the martial arts.
I used boxing as an example because I've been spending a lot of time there. But I could easily use MMA training. While the strategies and techniques would change if I was sparing in a MMA club rather than a boxing club I would still need to throw my shots with the same intent.
I am of course in agreement with you that the less limited our ruleset is the better we become at 'fighting'. But I think the concept I'm trying to convey is more general. I guess it's just reinforcing the belief I have that in order to get good at punching people in the face you have to punch people in the face.
I just think that no matter karate, boxing, mma, etc that style of 'control' that I described is important to developing real skill in that area, whatever it may be. The rest is just rules, environment, tactics, and strategy.
I don't really want this to evolve into a discussion of aliveness however. I guess what I'm working out is the view people others have on what they are doing when they try to strike a training partner. Truth in training stuff. If you are on the mat with a partner of equal skill or higher and you throw a shot to his stomach, what would happen if he didn't move or react? Would your shot hit him and explore the ramifications of a stiff shot to the gut? Would you pull it and see if he responds? Would he just ignore it and use that time to falsely reverse you?
If it is not appropriate to throw 'real' shots then why? How can truth in training be realized without real techniques?