Back in the old days probably yes, even now possibly it depends on the situation..
In my experience students what to know/see/experience their teacher or even seniors ability to 'apply the art'. When I was teaching I was constantly challenged, although not formally to show I could do it... It's actually very annoying...if understandable.. It can also be painful..
In both schools I attended my thirst as young student was quenched, in both cases seeing the ranking student fight... In karate our 'guy' was a good full contact fighter who whooped ass in the Ring and on the floor.. In the other school our 'guy' invited anyone willing, including all challenging visitors onto the floor to test their stuff and he never 'lost'.. I am sure these examples are very important to some students and it makes sense when folks want to know the program and their seniors have tangible combat worthiness...
This is very true and these examples belong to the ‘Dojo Challenges’ days of yore we all seemed to experience. And such comments also bring up some good questions, and also some much cherished memories.
There is also a question of ‘perception’ _ to address, at some point_ perception of ‘fighting’…a mistake many people continue to make to this day.
As Jim points out _ we, as the senior teachers, expected ‘Dojo Challenges’ _ the fashion of the day_ and were ready for them mainly because we were all tournament champions _ and loved the opportunities to ‘throw down’ with challengers.
In fact some of us looked forward to them _ we encouraged them because they gave us a chance to remain ‘well practiced’ for the big boys of tournaments.
In Sensei Mattson’s huge, immensely popular, central Boston Dojo, I ran a special ‘open fighting’ class, where I encouraged any and all tournaments fighters we came in contact with in tournaments_ to join my class and engage in sparring matches.
We were also well ‘tuned up’ in anticipation of some idiots off the street, coming up now and then, to take on the teacher to see ‘how good’ he was before he joined up.
They usually ran into a brick wall. We had some ‘interesting’ fighters on board.
One low key ‘tough guy’ we had, was Mattson sensei, who was difficult to provoke as he usually talked most of the challengers out of making fools of themselves when personally challenged.
One hilarious story I will relate before moving on:
One night a guy that looked like a boxer, with cauliflower ears, and a pug nose_ came up the steep steps of the Mattson Academy calling out George Mattson to a fight.
George came out of his office to see what the hell was going on, and intercepted the jerk at the top of the stairs, suddenly finding himself under attack.
Now imagine seeing this jerk tumbling down the stairs under a barrage of ‘hits’ by George that sent him crashing through the front entrance door whimpering. We never saw him again.
There were more similar situations, not counting the ones arising out of ‘world champions’ showing up declaring they were there to teach us how to fight, which also included some misguided Japanese sensei with his own student, who showed up one night telling George he was there to take over his school, because he was a ‘Japanese master’ _