Looking around at different martial arts and practitioners there is one thing that surprises me very time. Many, may people don't have an R-factor in their training and techniques
You see people who get almost punched in their face and they just stay standing up with a big smile on their face. Others get almost kicked in groin and keep moving on as if nothing happened and their "parts" were made of steel. Even worse are those who tell you to go with flow...???
all these people a lacking an important part in their training: reality OR reality factor (R-factor)
If you get hit in face you won't be laughing, your head will be propelled back or sideways, you will lose balance because your body follows your head. The kick in groin will make you think your stomach wants to come out and floor will be very close by. Those who practice"flow jutsu" are rather hilarious. Who to make a street fighter to go with your flow. Will you tell him who to catch you, hit you or how to roll? Oh and tell him also he can't resist because if he resists your Ki can't flow.
These are only a few examples but take a look around. You will be surprised how many people are lacking r-factor. no matter what martial art they practice Even high ranked practitioners often make these mistakes on seminars you can see them teaching elaborate techniques of 10 different combinations who lack every sense of reality. They will give you some explanation like this one: "First you block his attack, you kick him in groin, break his right at while you stick your finger in his eye, than you turn around, kick his right knee, enter on opposite side , break his neck and throw him head down. subsequently you go and sit on top of him, pull his head back by grabbing his hear and applying a lock to his arm."
This looks very macho but not realistic. If you block and kick someone in groin, than fight is over. He will go down so fast you can believe it. If you kick would miss target than you can break his arm as a secondary option.
There are really very few people willing to continue a fight with a broken arm. If this too misses I suggest you review your techniques and train more because there is something lacking in your execution of techniques or martial art you practice.
A true fight doesn't take long, all is over and done with in just a few seconds. Give it 2 OR 3 seconds more between 2 equally experienced fighters who know how to counter and block but it's over before you know. The first one to make a mistake will loose.
The 2 things that have most influence on R-factor are teacher and martial art. as a practitioner you must clearly distinguish between martial arts and martial sports. Martial sports are as name already suggests a sport. Based on martial art but with rules, regulations, protection and competition.
The forefather of these sports, Martial arts has no rules , protection or competitions. Therefore mind set, techniques and approach is different So ultimately their goals are also completely different. Whereas sports oriented martial arts give their practitioners a chance to demonstrate themselves and their skills to others , martial artists on other hand can only fight with themselves and every real confrontation with another person results in big damage for one of two or both. Martial arts are more realistic oriented than sports because of their different goals. So let's focus on them. Those who claim to be highly effective in true cases.
Be carefully with those martial things who claim to be martial arts (on outside they look LIKE martial arts) but who surround themselves with a vail of mysticism and special powers. (these special powers may exist but they will be accompanied by a very special personality) Those martial things are easy to recognize : no intense physical training, a lot of talk about Ki, their masters and instructors hardly get involved in training, and you need many years of practice to develop these special mental powers. During these "many Years" you will be brainwashed and teaching this mystical martial art yourself to other people in order to make NEXT generation of "flow-kas"
Until you meet reality on street...
The other risk factor is teacher. as a basic rule you can tell his R-factor by his Macho behavior. The more macho he acts, less R-factor he holds. His macho behavior will tell you all. Why is there a need FOR a teacher to act macho? Who does he have something o prove to? What does he need to prove? If his techniques are ANY good than they will speak FOR themselves, no need to prove this to people with no OR little experience. OR maybe he has to prove his poor students that he is best? (Keep in mind that there is always someone better than you are) This points more to a weak character rather than a martial arts master