Re: High(er) Intensity Weapons
Chris, hang on a second, let me re-phrase so that this isn't a barb-trading session.
My opinion is that focusing on form primarily is best when it comes to weapons training. Free sparring, particularly where you purposely open up the adrenaline throttle to max as a means of "pressure testing" your technique is a good experience if you are careful to prevent injury, but it is not good as a primary tool until you have advanced quite a bit.
You brought up an example of the evolution of BJJ training and stated that it kind of doesn't matter whether you focus on form entirely up front or get students into free application situations from the start, they will ultimately end up as good as they are going to be.
What I am saying is, that's not training for life and death situations you were talking about there. If you are an instructor of a competitive grappling system and you are trying to produce competitive students, then, sure, get them into the ring as soon as possible. Let them learn how to apply themselves in that situation and learn to win and lose in parallel with training proper technique.
If, however, you were a sword master and you had people sending their sons to you, you would probably not encourage them to get into a lot of duels. Because statistics would most likely show you losing lot of students.
There is an argument for contrived, rules-bound free sparring as a means of preparing for lethal combat, but you have to agree that in combat sports, you can DO what you are training for, at the dojo. In a martial art that deal with lethal situations, you cannot engage in what you are training for at the dojo.
This isn't a particularly new argument I am making here, and it is just my opinion.