There are many pastimes that involve safety gear - rock climbing for instance. Rock climbing is absolutely possible without gear, it's just you better not make any mistakes, because the gear is what will save your arse if you do.
Every climber I know checks their gear carefully and thoroughly, keeping tally of how many falls a rope has taken, checking the webbing and stitching on their harness, the clips on their carabiners, and of course checking knots at belays.
Skydivers make sure their parachute is in good shape and packed correctly, and that their altimeter is working, divers check their regulators, tanks and watches.
Once it's time to lean back to rapel down the cliff face, jump out of the plane, or hit the water however, you go. At that point all the checking is done, and if it's all good, it's time to trust your gear.
Sword defense is similar. Instead of gear, you now have skills you have trained, patterns you can recognize, an appreciation of the link between space and time, a knowledge of human tendencies, an overall view of a situation. This is your safety gear, this is what will keep you 'alive'.
Now it's time to jump .... and trust it. There is too much going on, too little time to waste on worrying about it once it kicks off. Focus on the target, the win, let the defense take care of itself.