Good post Jason and all so true.
What did you guys come up with?
It is basically what you load your 'mushin' with that makes a difference when the time comes to use what we think we know.
Most martial arts practitioners have a tendency to believe that just practicing kata, kumite, conditioning and bunkai_ is all they will ever need when dealing with street violence.
Rory offers the following
You'll need a basic understanding of Violence Dynamics, which is just a fancy way of saying you know about different kinds of bad guys and how they attack.
This is taken for granted for the most part.
Understanding the self
What is your personal threat profile? How does it change over time and circumstances? A fit martial athlete is largely only going to be targeted for a Monkey Dance-- until the day he is injured and/or drunk. The elderly are targeted by resource predators more than process. Women are targeted for many different types of violence. What would a predator or an insecure monkey want from you?
Understanding the adrenaline factor
For both social and asocial, the ability to recognize the signs of adrenalization, and how to tell how experienced the threat is with adrenalized states (from adrenaline-controlling 'self-calming' behavior to the blank-eyed relaxation from someone who's skin has just paled.)
Learn about the presence of danger
For social, this is largely the ability to recognize the script. For asocial, the absence of normal social cues. Big ones for this are proxemics (there are natural and unnatural distances to stand); Orientation (how often do people asking you questions stand at your flank?); and foot placement (normal social interactions will have the power line perpendicular to you.) Signs that a weapon is involved (hand placement, clothing, tells, unequal armswing when walking....). And whether there is an audience (social).
Most of us MA practitioners...never learn any of this in class, which is understandable...but not so much when not pursued elsewhere to complete the 'self defense' picture we try to present to students seeking this from us in class.