Each martial art has its own origins, they were born for different purposes and contexts (time, location etc). Nowadays, there also are fighting sports which were born for competition. For that reason, each martial art and fighting sport have their own training method.
An interesting point about martial arts training is the freestyle practice. Freestyle is a kind of fight simulation which people can be creative to attack and defend (testing their reactions). It is very common in fighting sports. However, there are specific sparring trainings that people repeat some attack-defense sequences in different timing or distance in order to break the rhythm.
Japanese freestyle practice is called 乱取り (Randori). Most of martial arts have freestyle practices, and the Bujinkan Budo Taijutsu too. Even, it is not frequently practiced before the black belt graduation.
Many people think the freestyle practice is a kind of fighting “reality”, although it is not a common mindset. This is a very dangerous mindset. Why? Because it is impossible to think in “reality” without consider what people feel during a life-threat event, and all other specific variables related to the event.
For example, try to realize a guy that practice several hours per day of the Randori with his mates. Someday, walking with his wife they are assaulted on the street by many people. She is caught, and she is with a knife on the throat. So… Where is the Randori? Where is the fighting practice? His heart is beating fast, his breathing is completely changed. Now, he needs to control the event avoiding panic, or any accidents, making some of the most important decisions of his entire life. Make important decisions are also martial artist skills. If he would have counterattacked (trusting in his technical skills) it could have killed her. Randori does not guarantee anything.
Even on V.I.P. protection courses, it cannot be simulated. Depending on the Randori practice, the consciousness can be changed to less conscious way of judge. In fact, in a real life event the number of opponents, the fighting and life experience of each opponent , and the place (and escape strategies) is different, for example.
Although it cannot be simulated in a Dojo, it is used to motivate a creative attitude. Moreover, it is very good for improve perception, and get a specific feedback of the skills .
There are a many ways to practice it. In the future, I will post more about that.
(Ninja no Kokoro Ninpo Ikkan)