Getting old when you can say "I was there and I was one of the fighters!"
I would love for you all the believe the matches were bloodbaths. . . but they weren't.
Students fought in every class, as part of the class (At least at Tomoyose's and Uechi Sensei's dojo. There was hard contact, but no harder than what we experience today in class or in tests.
There were lots of grappling and close-in fighting. Often, the action went to the ground, but was quickly stopped by the referee. (yes, there was a ref)
Because I was scheduled to leave the Island before the official "first" test, the board assembled two weeks (not positive about this, could have been longer) before the official test to conduct a 'special' test for me. They felt they could use this test as a dry run for the regularly scheduled test.
As it turned out, I was able to delay my departure and was able to witness the scheduled test.
Tomoyose, although he taught me in a much different manner than did Uechi sensei, followed Uechi sensei's curriculum which included a heavy measure of free fighting in every class.
As I said earlier, I would love for you all to believe that those of us who trained at an earlier time, engaged in death matches, had broken beer bottles for lunch and fought Tigers at midnight, but it just didn't happen!
I visited all the Uechi dojo on Okinawa during this time and trained with most of the teachers. Some teachers did not include sparring in their classes. However, they were tough classes with some real powerful students and teachers. Just like the classes many of us work out in and teach today.