punch a lion
Self-defense is an instinct, an inborn reflex aimed at the preservation of one's life, be it human, animals or plants. If you want to test this argument, punch a lion or tease a tiger and you'll get your lesson, if ever. Human fighting systems from different cultures evolved with time after they have started to systematize their techniques for purposes of instructions plus all the weapons they have developed. Now, human beings have countless fighting and weapon systems. The lions, tigers, cobras, etc., they still employ their simple built-in self-defense systems which they have since millions of years. Until now, they have no need for extra weapons but rely solely on their own close combat systems.
It's actually the same with human beings. Trained or not, a punch is a punch, a kick is a kick, a cut with a knife is a cut, a shot with a pistol is a shot. In short, even a helpless, untrained person can hurt, or kill for that matter, a highly trained martial art fighter, a champion or a Grandmaster. There is no difference; training can not change fundamentally the material and physiology of a trained fighter nor bypass his breaking point.
Hence, there is no such thing as a fake punch or a fake kick or fake self-defense techniques employed by anybody who is being attacked. Organized martial arts systems, traditional or modern, should recognize this truth and should not judge any system as fake or genuine. Where is the reference point of judging anyway? Surely not on the training or black belt degrees and associations but on the results. If that man just survived an armed attack by neutralizing the attacker- or attackers-, then he has done his job. He is a champion and a Grandmaster himself. Self-defense is an individual matter! He fought back and saved himself, not you. Of course, training can improve your health, fighting techniques, reflexes and self confidence, other things being equal. Nonetheless, if there are billions of human beings on earth, and so are the fighting systems. Existing martial arts systems and schools do not have the monopoly of this instinct nor the right to judge.
Bruce Lee was right in saying that "the individual is more important than any system."
If anyone disagrees with this, then it's politics or business.