I think that part of the problem here is that people participating in this thread haven't read my responses to very similar questions in previous threads. I have so tight a work schedule that I tend to resist writing the same thing over and over again; that's a lazy attitude in a teacher, and I apologize for it. One more time, therefore....
Van Canna is absolutely correct when he writes that "under the perception of impending physical violence, the fight or flight response is immediately triggered, bringing very definite chemical changes to the body"; he accurately reports Goleman's review of others' research on the emotional hijacking carried out by the amygdala, which is indeed hard-wired to bypass the more rational parts of the brain and move instantly to Red Alert. I agree with everything he has said in this regard. He then writes that "there seems to be a certain 'cognitive incapacitation' for the average person/martial artist who finds himself/herself suddenly face to face with a real threat to his well being, that makes it very difficult to bring into play fine verbal skills and measured intonation...." I am not well enough acquainted with the martial arts community to judge the accuracy of this statement; but Van Canna is, and no one else among you has come forward and disagreed -- I am entirely willing to accept it on that basis. If it's true, and I assume that it is, it's unfortunate.
There's a widespread belief that stress is inherently bad. That's false. Stress in itself is not what matters, but the individual's _response_ to stress. (a) When we're hit with a weather phenomenon that leaves us with no electricity, no heat (or no air conditioning), no running water or sanitary facilities, no telephone, no television, etc., we call that a "disaster" and we find it extremely stressful; we want to be "rescued" and resent it bitterly when no one comes to our aid. And yet (to the total amazement of my Laotian son-in-law) we will spend our own good money to do something we call "going camping" which carries with it an almost identical set of conditions. (b) If someone forced us to stand in ice water for an hour, and forced us to stand in that water while waving one arm back and forth over our head, we'd call it torture; we'd almost certainly come out of it in a terrible state. But we will cheerfully spend hour after hour doing exactly the same thing, provided it's called "trout fishing." (c) In one of the most famous experiments in this field, a company of soldiers was divided into three groups for a forced march over twenty kilometers of rough terrain carrying a heavy pack. Everything was done to make the three groups as identical as possible, to eliminate uncontrolled variables. Before the march, every soldier was given a thorough exam to determine physical condition; the exam was repeated at the end of the march. One group of soldiers was given regular information during the march about how far they'd gone, how much distance remained, and so on. One group was given no information of that kind at all. And one group was given false information -- told something like "You only have another four kilometers to go" when in fact there were still eight kilometers left in the march, and then told "Oh, we were wrong," and so on. Results: At the end of the march, the soldiers who had been given false information were in much worse condition than the other two groups, and those given accurate regular information -- feedback -- were in the best condition. There were no exceptions. Every soldier was in the same physical condition before the march; every soldier marched the same distance over the same route carrying the same weight; but at the end, their physical condition was determined not by the conditions of the march but by their reactions to those conditions.
There are overwhelming stresses against which human beings are truly almost defenseless -- engulfing fire, tornado-force winds, machine-gun bullets.....a list you'll all be aware of. Any normal human being, facing one of those, perceives immediate danger that triggers the flight or fight response (or the fetal response). But few of us die or even suffer injury from those stresses; most of us die or suffer injury (including mental/emotional injury) as a result of stresses against which we do have defenses and for which we have a certain amount of control over our responses.
The key is Van Canna's phrase "under the perception of impending physical violence," which I would modify to read "under the perception of impending physical violence that endangers you." If THAT is your perception, the amygdala -- the part of your brain that scans for peril and bypasses the rational parts -- will take over. That's hard-wired; it's a survival strategy necessary to maintaining life. The question is what, precisely, you are going to perceive as "impending physical violence that endangers you."
I've used in the past on this forum the example of a small child racing at you and pounding you with its fists. That's physical violence; when you see it coming, you perceive it as "impending." But because you know it poses no danger to you -- because you recognize the child as so small and frail by comparison to you -- you don't perceive it as violence that _endangers_ you. The amygdala doesn't "fire"; there's no chemical cocktail. What you do about the child's attack will vary from individual to individual, but you don't react to it as a danger, and there is no emotional hijacking.
The range of "impending violence" -- verbal, or physical, or both -- that you do perceive as something that endangers you will depend upon two things: your understanding of why the impending violence is happening, and your confidence in your own ability to deal with it.
What, in my opinion, is dangerous to martial artists (or anyone else) is the idea that just because there is impending violence you are therefore in danger. This is a license to return physical violence, to say "the fight is on," and to feed the violence loop. The decision to maintain that idea in one's set of convictions is a matter of personal choice.
People who enjoy the adrenalin rush, enjoy the physical combat, enjoy the drama and the "kick" that goes with such confrontations, will -- in my experience -- vigorously protect the concept, because it constitutes their permission to participate in the fray. That's normal; it's easy to understand. But with increased skill at physical combat -- or verbal combat -- there comes an increased responsibility, and one aspect of that is the obligation to give up the license to engage in combat just because it's fun. The greater the skill, the stronger that obligation. It's not honorable to refuse surrender that license. The temptation then is to say, "Hey, I was in real danger here! I had to defend myself! I HAD to fight!" Whether to resist that temptation or not is also a matter of personal choice. Only the ignorant have no choice.
[I am of course not talking about combat at tournaments; that's true sport, on a mutual voluntary basis, and is quite a different matter.]