They use Bogu gear, from my limited experience sparring in armor it's pretty safe. I own a couple sets of Ryute bogu gear, you can really pound on someone in it.
I personally don't see most Bogu kumite i've seen (or koshiki or whatever variants of armored sparring) as all-encompassing by any means, the weight and presence of the armor affect the way you fight dramatically, and it most certainly affects the arsenal available to you.
Due to the presence of the armor it always seems like certain techniques and range end up taking precedence.
As a quick example when I did koshiki sparring many years ago, and the little i've done with my Bogu gear, I found that techniques like the side kick or back kick became used very, very frequently due to the range people tend to hang at and the fact that the armor can just absorb alot of heavy blows.
In fact i'd say on the whole a well timed sidekick was one of the best techniques for me in that environment. However, I don't think i'd ever use that kind of kick on "t3h str33t" in a real altercation...so draw your own conclusions on that.
So to me, with all due respect to Raul, Bogu seems to me to be a specialized sparring where the emphasis is on contact.
That said there's no denying that the adrenaline and contact would have some definite benefit in training for "t3h str33t"...I think the debate would be on how much, and in what way.
As far as insurance, like any kind of sparring I would think that a large part of how safe it is is determined by the people training, not just the format.
This is where I differ from a lot of the opinion in the original post:
Sparring is a tool, not and ends, and it isn't a reflection of reality, it's a tool for training which can bring a measure of realism.
So while I realize people feel strongly about this, I don't agree with calling a place a McDojo or a fraud for not practicing full contact sparring.
Edited by Zach_Zinn (04/16/09 03:35 PM)