I can divide it a number of ways. Awareness, Initiative and Permission, certainly. the student needs to know all they can handle about threat assessment, types of violence, types of criminals, tactical implications of terrain, reading individuals, internal self-monitoring... just the Awareness piece is huge.
Initiative is not as complex, but simple doesn't mean easy. The student needs to be able to act decisively and powerfully through will. If you must be angry or must be afraid in order to fight, you might not fight at all. Most people freeze. Many women have a delayed adrenaline surge. If you cannot fight cold, you may not be able to fight at all. Working this out will take solid skills that you trust. Stuff that works under pressure. And then practice at doing things that you hate and fear with cold precision and cold power. Simple, not easy.
And Permission. Most of us aren't even aware of our social conditioning. What we can and cannot do isn't based on logic or even fantasy but on years of conditioning. And, until the conditioning makes you hesitate, you have no way of even knowing if it is there. Until you pull the trigger you do not and CANNOT know if that is one of your lines. You can wear all the tactical gear that you want and say all the right words and try to hang out with the bad-asses. Or you can just whistle in the dark. Same thing. To find your glitches you have to go into places where your glitches will come out. Work them out or train with respect to them. But ignorance will not help you.
That's a part of it.
They need to have certain physical skills. Which are those? Depends. Fitness gets a lot of talk as a primary self-defense attribute, and I get it... except if you were a predator, would you be stalking the six-foot two-hundred-pound gym rat? And if you did, wouldn't you wait until he was on crutches from some kind of injury.
So fitness will never hurt you. A good workout regimen will do great things to your life. Almost all of us are far more likely to face coronary artery disease than an armed bad guy. But the physical skills (as opposed to attributes) that you need must work when you have no fitness to back them up. When you are injured, or old.
Basic physical skills, just off the top of my head:
The ability to strike, push and pull hard
The ability to do so accurately
The ability to move a body
You can magnify those. Striking hard can be about fitness or structure or applied physics. Ideally all three. And different people need to concentrate in different areas. The weaker you are, the more important physics (using momentum and environmental hazards) becomes.
Accuracy can be developed by sight or by feel. It can range from what we usually think of as targeting to the ability to sense a threat's base, Center of Gravity and momentum with a touch.
And moving a body ranges from grappling and throwing to being able to create small spaces for striking or drawing a weapon. Or the geometry of multiple people.
There's tons more. Goal setting, strategy and tactics. Classes of techniques and how those vary in importance in different situations and to different people. Social manipulations that can affect everything from whether there will be an incident of violence to what the witnesses will remember...
Too much for a short post or even a book. More later, almost for sure.
Evidently, "Force Decisions" is out. I had no idea. I owe a couple of you copies. You know who you are.