My only point about comprehensive self defense is that I assume it should begin at prevention, which includes attempts to de-escalate where time allows. This says nothing to the primary(?) point of the thread though.
To my mind this thread was started more to be about the frustrations that can come from folks who would "transcend" (e.g. side-step) the topic of physical effectiveness with conversations about (pre-emptive) non-violent things like keeping calm, partly under the notion that you can get that kind of thing anywhere, and seemed to be suggesting in places that it probably doesn't have a place in self defense conversations.
I understand the frustration that comes from wanting to talk about one thing and having a bunch of non-answers (or what might even just seem like non-answers until later). I view it as part of the process though. The points about how to deal with stress/annoyances/whatever can be valuable ones. Stresses (mild annoyances or otherwise) and unfamiliar situations are crucial to creative growth, particularly in anything which can be described as generally chaotic...and discussions over the internet are certainly that. We can disengage and hope we don't have to deal with it or we can engage it and hope to create the change we want to see. The particulars of the situation will determine which choice is the more practical for us.
I agree with the idea that some folks will not allow themselves to de-escalate...some have made pre-determined assumptions and choices that are incredibly difficult (if not actually impossible) to change.
Just my take and thoughts on this so please take them for what they are worth. In my mind and thinking....I don't believe SD training should start with prevention, I think that should actually be the conclusion not the beginning. I think we first need to face the cold hard facts about the realities of violence and to reach a intimate understanding that someone that is hell bent on hurting you might just do that and what are you going to do about that if he is. The answer may be "holy shit! I'm a 100lbs soaking wet and it is not going to end well for me if someone attacks me in a dark alley! Let me look at what I need to do to not get in that situation!"
I'd rather have a person reach that understanding than go through a self defense warm and fuzzy seminar that talks about prevention and the groin grab and heal stomp and go home feeling good about themselves all empowered like.
It doesn't really equip them to deal with the realities of violence.
The problem with starting with prevention and de-escalation methods is that many will stop right there. If you are feeling good about your increased skills in de-escalation or prevention...then why go further in your training? heck we've mitigated the risk this far, so how much do we really need to go down the dirty nasty path that is not pretty or makes me feel like a failure as we go there?
The reality I think is that this training doesn't really provide us the ability to handle the stress that will come with a violent encounter. We can't really maintain calm under pressure if we have not experienced real pressure. I think it better to start with a physical framework, and then the other stuff such as verbal de-escalation etc can build on that...not the other way around.
On the concept of choice and de-escalation. I tend to go on the basic philosophy that I can affect what actions I take, however, I cannot choose another's actions.
Over simplistic, yes, as certainly we have influence on others actions, but ultimately they make their own choices, we don't get to choose for them. I think we need to remember this, especially when dealing with a particular violent situation. I have gotten myself into a few bad situations when I was emotionally invested in a desired outcome and their was a mismatch in desired end states of the other person so to speak. In those situations I went into the situation with a predetermined assumptions and a strong desire to end the situation in a particular manner...no matter what. I have found it better simply to have very few expectations concerning endstate and understand my own limitations and "redllines" and by "fantastically surprised" if it went well.