Did Tony show anything that I didn't know on a "physical" standpoint...not really, in fact, a lot of it looked similar to JKD in that he used a lot of economy of motion, he tended to stand with a power side forward stance (although Tony will tell you that it doesn't matter and most of the time you won't be able to choose a 'stance' when you get attacked), but what he did show was way more gritty, raw, and realistic. But, the most important thing that he taught (teaches) is the psychological aspect of training. I was more "awakened" by the things he talked about, than by what he demonstrated. Since he started, Tony has had a ton of students come and go, some of which have gone on to be pretty successful in their own rights. I will forever be grateful to Tony for waking me up and helping me to achieve that true "open-mindedness" that I needed. It actually helped me to truly appreciate what I had learned in JKD, and am still learning to this day.
From there, I was keen to keep my eyes open for anything that could help me and my students to become better at self defense and self expression. I encourage anyone to train in whatever they like, who cares what anyone else thinks about it.
I had to get off my pedastal thinking that if it isn't JKD, then it must not be good. I ended up meeting and training with so many gifted and talented martial artists after that, and I am forever grateful to Tony for being the first person to crack open my eyes.
So, here is what I think is missing from JKD as it where, or rather, from what Bruce Lee taught up until his death:
I agree that MMA training, by and large, should not be confused with JKD. JKD was designed for self defense, and/or street attacks. MMA events, although tough, brutal, and full of great athletes, is still a sport. I think sparring should be a part of training, and I think aliveness should be emphasized, but, you can spar all day long and be great at it, but in the long run, that is NOT a fight, and is it the furthest thing from an attack as you can get.
That being said, I also do not feel you can train statically and realistically expect to be able to defend yourself either. I will often ask people "do you know how to fight?" and they may answer "sure, we spar all the time" Not the same thing. Try this, the next time you want to undertsand the difference, start your sparring match when you are sitting on a chair and your partner is standing directly in front of you. allow your partner to make the first move before you do antyhing back, and try to allow basically anything, within reason.