I do think that the need to confront physical power -- both your own and others' -- is a valuable part of martial arts study, though.
I completely agree. I think it's crucial...nominally at the very least, martial arts are about confronting physical power in some way, learning about some of the potential of others and ourselves in that regard. The physical practice of this is how we generally hone the non-physical aspects the
To my mind, always training like your life depends on it suggests a degree of intensity that I doubt exists at most dojos, but I think that's where I'm probably quibbling over semantics.
By handling power, I meant being able to handle someone's power more or less at will; to be better than the person who is putting my life on the hypothetical line in training. You don't have to be that good physically to get the other stuff. But you do have to try hard, and you do have to face physicality of some form in a martial art.