Mike Ruhala wrote: That's pretty close to what concerns me but I don't blame the tournaments per se as it's the mindset and quality of training that truly determines how things develop.
It's not about tournaments, tournaments are great, it's about tournaments being the only thing to train for. That leads to sport fencing by default, there's no other way. Regardless of your intentions, you or your students will train what works in tournaments because they want to win, and if there's nothing else to train for, that's all that your art becomes. All you have to do in a tournament is smack someone with a stick, and the best/fastest way to do that is not the best/fastest way to kill with a sword.
The cutting tournament at Longpoint is an example of something else to strive for that will keep your technique more honest, but it's not enough. You have to train so that you cut like you fight and you fight like you cut. In kendo they do battodo type kata as part of their training/testing but they don't fight like the kata. So just having cutting means nothing if your tournament fighting is divorced from it.