By realistic training, I mean whether the instructor and system address real fighting and real violent street self defense situations: What it is that actually happens and what realistically works. Are multiple attackers addressed? Are moves reasonable and even physically possible in a real situation when adrenaline is pumping and you have milliseconds to respond? The list goes on.
But it is particularly relevant how well-rounded the training is to sufficiently train your mind and body for self defense.
This means you will train basics. Without basics you won’t be able to perform the art at all, won’t be able to piece together moves to pull off techniques: Basics are fundamentals, like the alphabet is to words and words to sentences; they are stances, strikes, kicks, foot maneuvers, locks, throws. They are drilled in some way to burn them into the brain and muscle memory.
You will also train self defense techniques. These techniques you learn and practice them on a partner. They are, if the training is realistic, not just fixed ideas; but they are starting points to understanding positioning, angles, and what can be done to defend yourself: They consider many variables.
Finally, there should be some kind of spontaneous training, in the form of sparring. This is a training method in which two (sometimes more) people kick, punch, and strike at each other, and defend, and also wrestle each other, to train spontaneously coming up with techniques. One school might train striking and grappling, while others might emphasize one over the other. It is advantageous to train all ranges of combat: Kicking range, striking range, close quarters, and grappling. You might need all of that knowledge and be in various predicaments in which any of that knowledge might be tested. Grappling is not good against multiple attackers, yet you will still want to know what to do if you end up getting grabbed or end up fighting on the ground grappling. At any rate, sparring is important for training because then you can see how you can use what you’ve learned spontaneously, not from fixed patterns, but as things actually happen against a resistant partner.