Hey Dennis... I just got back from doing a clinic in Portland. Great time! One of my favorite training partners is there now, a 35 year old Japanese named Yoko Sato. A yondan that continually creates really neat problems that I have to solve and gives great nonverbal feedback. Her husband, Steve Duncan, is one of my old hands. A remarkable rokudan that looks like a fence rail standing up. Wish you could have been there.
Justin, I have found (after many years of thinking that I needed to go "fast" to "overcome" an attacker) that I'm much more successful when I go "slower" and more "sensitive" than the attacker. You just need to know when to start, the distance, and when to change. The state of having no posture and no plans...Mushin Mugamae...is the key.
One other really important quality about knowing how to train slowly with strong intent is that you can truly see problems a lot easier and learn to solve them. The more of that you do, the better your pattern analysis and problem solving skills get.
The funny thing is... quite a lot of people think I'm going "fast" when I think I'm going "slow"... (there's a difference between "quick" and "fast"). I can remember a couple of my teachers saying similar things. Just goes to show you that if you hang around long enough just about anybody can learn...