"However, those that continue to downplay any value in the open hand techniques within our system, i would question, why then spend years studying it if one believes it is all meaningless and inaffective ?"
It's not a question of open hand vs. closed hand. A shoken is a closed hand, if you want to be technical about it. But it can still be quite effective.
A closed hand strike can knock you out just as fast...it all depends on where you hit.
"Want to think in the minset of "punch, kick and block" ? That is fine to, for that is our sparring training, correct ?"
No..I want to think in terms of "hit, hit, hit...". Coach Blauer uses the creature from Alien as an analogy. Christiano Sensei refers to a rolling ball, building momentum as it goes forward. However you think of it, the idea is an overwhelming forward offense...in multiple forms.
"There are occassions that the opportunity to strike more vulnerable area "may" present itself. "
Absolutely. And if you can hit it, and knock the guy out, so much the better.
I'm not knocking training for the one shot ko. But many people I've known who trained it became so reliant on it that they were incapable of throwing a combination. When faced with someone who wouldn't fall down against their attack, they were clueless.
Practice both, be ready for either.
It is just another tool, no guarentee in any of it. The more you are familiar with, the better your chances.
Defeat is worse than death. You have to live with defeat - Seal Team Slogan