Anyone practicing martial arts for a period of time needs to examine their chosen art. They need to decide what they want to get out of their training.
I've stated before that I believe that most traditional martial arts are effective systems of self defense and combat, the only thing lacking in them are the mindset of the student and the quality and manner of teaching.
I study Japanese Jiu Jitsu as a reality based martial art. I look at it as such, my Sensei teaches it as such and I am lucky that my fellow students are like minded.
I look at each technique with a critical eye. I try to determine how effective it would be in the real world and we make sure we try it against resisting partners. I test everything I learn against the real world. Will it work on a big person, a drunk person, a drugged out person?
Recently, J.C. over at Bujutsu: the Path pointed me towards a post on another blog. This blog is written by an experienced Aikido practitioner and one post really grabbed my attention. The central theme of the blog seems to be that the author is testing his art against reality type combat situations. It tied in nicely to J.C.'s post on The Boxer.
Take a look at the following post and the video clips. I think they're valuable to anyone, regardless of their art. It shows a method of challenging your knowledge against a more dynamic situation.
Check out the blog post at Physics of Aiki. It doesn't really matter if you take Aikido or not, but I respected the way they approached their training. It's not always pretty, but I feel they came away with some valuable lessons. And they pulled off some nice technique in the process...