For something to be real, it means that it is genuine. What you just saw really happened, and it was not faked or contrived. That said, not everything that is real is practical. For something to be practical, in a martial sense, it must be viable for self defense or survival in a live, violent encounter against another human being with malicious intent. Therefore, it is entirely possible for something to be real but not practical. That said, practicality is determined by the context something is being practiced for. You would not judge the practicality of archery by whether or not you can fire an arrow inside the Octagon. No one denies the efficiency of a side kick to the xiphoid process, except when there's a gun pointed to your head. Context is everything.
In order to demonstrate the difference between real and practical, let's look at everyone's favorite subject: "No Touch" techniques. If you don't know what I'm talking about, you've probably been living under a rock but to summarize, there are countless videos of martial artists using "chi" to move or throw another person without actually touching them. Now, there have been videos done where independent third parties have come in with medical equipment and detected measurable effects on the recipients of these techniques that otherwise have no explanation. That said, it was not able to be replicated on someone from the outside. Does this mean it was fake? No. Something happened. There was a physical, biological response to the stimuli offered by the person executing the technique. Because of its inability to be replicated with those who have not been initiated into the school, we can conclude that the response was triggered psychologically. The power of the human mind is something we still struggle to fully grasp, and if one believes they will be affected by something, they usually are.