You obviously have not been keeping up, the sparing is a nice tool to work on kicking however it is not how we fight or respond to a SD situation. Sparing and fighting are two different things and self defence is yet another. Way to many people think of these three as being the same. Every martial artist worth their salt knows how to put things together at the appropriate time whether it be sparing, fighting, or defending oneself. I will not deny it is a sport you get no argument on that, all competitions are sport that includes MMA competitions which I have already admitted are much more entertaining. Do not fool your self into thinking that full contact WTF competitions are a walk in the park though, there are many knock outs and have even experienced death. Any aspect of your training that you work on repetitively will always improve those skills. The sparing is only one part of the training.