Hello Colman

What you are describing is true. Its fighting. I think the point trying to be made was that the sparring should be harder than that of competition arts, to reach efficiency in self defense at a quicker rate of study. The techniques you describe are indeed "full contact" but those things cant be practiced in a sparring match.

If the purpose of your sparring is to gauge the ability to defend yourself, then you must be able to go hard, at all ranges, with techniques that you can use safely against a resisting partner.
If you can do that effectively then its likely that you wont have to resort to eye gouging or hair pulling. (Neither of which have ever proven to be very effective.)

As for the knife reference,any weapon escalates the danger, for all parties involved. With that said, A skilled knife fighter isnt going to let you see the blade until you feel it, and he certainly isnt going to have to fully extend his arm as in the illustrations.
In fact he is going to try not to do that, in most cases.

As for the rest of your post, I agree. TMA has plenty to offer as means to self defense and many good things can be learned from them. Also,its almost always about the artist,not the art.

With that said,I have to reiterate whats already been said and thats if your school is geared more towards competition then you may want to train elsewhere if selfdefense is your primary concern.

Respectfully,
CZ
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"When I let Go of who I am, I become who I might be."
Lao Tzu