What is the difference between a junior and a senior student when engage in combat (sparring, fighting etc)? Well when you observed junior students sparring with each other their expression is often ugly, unprofessional, not artistic and I guess you could say violent? (I don't know the right word for it but I'll just go with that). As for senior students sparring, their expression has beauty in it, it is more professional, very artistic and seem peaceful. (again I don't know the right word but hopefully you all know what I mean). Juniors use a lot of energy and effort and they are often tense or stiff. Seniors use less energy as well as less effort (effortless effort) and they are relaxed and flexible. A senior moves gracefully or fluidly compare to a junior. Seniors strikes or attack less and is very precise or accurate, whereas juniors throws a lot of strikes and misses. So senior barely gets hit. When you see seniors or masters sparring they create a work of art, like in Bruce Lee's movies, Jet li's and Tony Jaa's. A senior uses strategy and techniques, but a junior only uses techniques. A senior obviously trains hard and longer than a junior, which manifest their work of art as they have attain mastery. Samurai maxim - "A man who has attained mastery of an art reveals it in his every action"
Now lets compare and relate this to real martial artist and cage fighters (or combat sports practitioners). I would say that cage fighters are like the juniors, and real martial artists are like the seniors. If you want two cage fighters fight, they are always getting hit, and a lot of injuries occurs. They objective is to destroy each other. Real martial artists sparring or fighting with each other, barely gets hit like I said earlier, which results in minimal injuries or no injuries and their objective is to work together (work with each other) to create a work of art. Cage fighters expression is animalistic and disturbing, real martial artists expression is artistic and beautiful.