What I remember about early sparring experiences seem to be somewhat universal (at least from what I hear) here my area, anyway. And that was, a tremendous emphasis on kicking with an equally tremendous neglect for punching.
Everyone stayed well out in long range and traded kicks, which is so far removed from reality it's almost shameful.
But that was commonplace in those days, in American martial arts. Judging by what I see in many places local to me...it's changed very little.
Totally agreed. I feel most students (juniors and seniors) use wayyy too little of their hands. Think it's because they feel safer because of the distance. Punching range = "AAARGH HE'S GONNA KILL ME AND I CAN'T RUN!!!!"
But i also think it's largely because plenty of instructors over-emphasize kick training and too little training in punching..