shen - I trained with Prof. Powell once (founder of Sanuces Ryu), at a seminar. At the end, the instructors would each come out and do a move "dance battle style"; each trying to top the other one. At some point it went from simply unusable techniques to complete and utter insanity.
Being "flashy" seemed to be a core value.
The strange paradox of these "NY" guys is they're from urban areas and always talk about, "Man on the three comes up to you... ". They SOUND like they're "keeping it real" but then the techniques are theses super flashy Aiki jujutsu based 12 count techniques.
Very strange stuff.
West Coast's popular (Kodenkan) Danzan Ryu is much more simple; It's an off-shoot of early Judo from a legit guy who didn't want to join the Kodokan because he wanted to keep a lot of the more Koryu jujitsu elements in his style. it's kata based and as a result not very functional (i.e. wimpy Judo) but in theory it makes a lot more sense than the flashy NY styles. A lot of the old school DZR guys like Wally Jay, were also Judoka who did randori. Those guys are a different animal from the "typical" modern Danzan Ryu person today. In the late 1970s Danzan Ryu was my first art and we actually held our own Judo tournaments (We were affiliated with Wally Jay). Not the case any longer. Danzan Ryu & Judo are very separate now.
I did maybe 4 seminars in Ketsugo Jujitsu with Harlold Broscious (legendarily bonkers former frogman) & some Seki Ryu with Jack Seki's student Skip Koppkee (sp?) --another important west coast style you don't see much at all today. I think George Kirby's Budoshin jujitsu is a combination of the three above listed styles.
I have a soft spot for all these styles because of the wave of nostalgia they bring back. But yeah... on the ground... not so great. and honestly, on the feet... not so great either. Nice thing that they did was have ALL these seminars & camps with a dozen instructors teaching different stuff all day, for a reasonable price. In BJJ seminars tend to be expensive and just one guy.
I have a soft spot for them too. At least I got to learn ukemi and learn wristlocks I still use in BJJ.
The turning point for me was when they said, "Against a wrestler..."
I said, "I'm a wrestler...and all due respect...that would not work."
Then, I showed them. There was a long silence.
Later, after attending my first Royce seminar, I showed them a few things. They said, "Well, I'd do this and that..."
Of course, it did not work and I mounted them and choked them out. All of the blackbelts. I was gone after that.