OK, fine, you're right, and you're wrong. I'm sorry if I wasn't clear enough, or didn't explain myself sufficiently, but now I'm paying for it aren't I?
In high performance driving, what Gary is correcting me on is absolutely true. But, what I was talking about was simply the proper technique for downshifting so you don't damage your clutch, drivetrain, or over rev the engine, and can still use the drivetrain and engine to aide in braking.
The answer I gave was for well thought out safe street and highway driving, not high performance "going 140+ MPH at the end of a straight with a 180 degree curve ahead."
And while I understand your example Gary, I gotta ask, what, you were never taught in any instance to downshift strictly for power without braking first?
And I wasn't saying that high performance driving schools teach people to downshift before braking, I only said that was what I do, and I only meant under normal driving conditions, not while racing. What I was talking about the schools charging you money for was to learn how to shift a transmission the way I was explaining.
When I down shift, I do so in such a way as to not create an immediate braking effect, but to stay within the operating parameters of the vehicle I'm driving (at least I thought I explained it that way). But then, all of my training and experience is being focused right now on defensive driving on normal streets and highways because that't where we drive. That doesn't mean that I don't know how to, or can't heel and toe, drive by the seat of my pants, and power in and out of curves like a champ. :p
The original question from Chicagoland was phrased in such a way that I assumed that this was someone fairly inexperienced with shifting manual transmissions. Let's look at it again: "Is it better to brake only or down shift and brake on a manual transmission?"
I don't think he wast asking for high performance racing tips, just about shifting and braking while engaged in common sense driving...
Maybe I over-answered the question? Perhaps I should have just said, "downshift and brake is better", and left it at that.
But I have to disagree with this concept of driving that says that brake parts are cheaper than drivetrain parts. Initially, yes, but cumulatively, no. How many brakes and rotors does it take to equal a clutch job? And why does it even have to been seen as an either or situation? Why not get the best longevity out of both systems by using them properly? I'd wager that the way I drive, I can make my brake parts last considerably longer than most people without damaging, or even prematurely wearing any driveline components.