Good points Neb and thanks for the good words about our forum.
I agree that the best way to develop 'engaging' capabilities_ if you will, since there will always be a question that tough dojo or tournament matches are not real street fights, which is true_ is in fact long exposure to 'ring work' in particular, because there will be subliminal fears to overcome, whether this ring exposure comes in tournament format [usually best] or dojo matches against invited guests from other schools/styles…as we did at the Mattson Academy years back where we had an open door policy.
GM can tell you some stories hard to believe but true.
Again, a street fight involves the 'engaging' of body and mind in a violent maelstrom of emotions and presupposed skills…
The attributes developed in the above 'self testing' in the ring…too various to even mention, but you know what I mean…certainly help when the 'real thing' arrives at your door step.
One very demanding and useful sparring practice, not for the faint of heart, is the Mas Oyama system as seen here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mP65_CiHzz0
At the Mattson Academy, we were once treated to a similar way of 'engagement' by visiting Japanese collegiate champions_ Moto Yamakura and Taro Tanaka [street fighter extraordinaire]
They were so good that they ended up fighting Joe Lewis and Chuck Norris in the quarter finals at Chow's 'All American' tournament in New York.
As learning to overcome your fears…you must also imagine dealing with the trepidation of signing your name on the application to fight…after you see fighters in the group such as Lewis, Norris, Urquidez, Daniels etc. who would take your head off in an instant.
Many ways of looking at this.