Your training should lead to mindless execution. If it doesn't, then you are wasting your time.
Think of what we do in class. Let's say for a contact weapon attack at ten feet away (just outside of hand to hand range). Our strategy for a contact weapon attack, assuming we are armed with a projectile weapon (pistol) is to maintain the distance while we draw and shoot the attacker to the ground.
The tactic for doing that is the take off footwork to the 5 o'clock and 7 o' clock lines. So we train that tactic hundreds of times alone without any pressure and without any opponent until we understand how to physically execute the movements. Then we bring in a training partner and with minimal pressure, we drill the technique that supports our strategy in context of application an equal number of times. Once we have a contextual understanding, we turn up the pressure in force on force exercises. This brings physical memorization, understanding of context and combat application. It is what we do and have done for nearly fifteen years with so many combat victories that I can scarcely keep track. Most recently one of our own staff.
But it all begins with continual physical execution of the movements in thoughtful context, alone.
That preceding explanation is, in a word, Kata. That is how its done. That is the context that develops the experience, artificial that it may be (isn't all training artificial), to execute your techniques without conscious thought in combat.
Now imagine using that same (and relatively safe) training method and process for any surprise attack you may be faced with. Not an equally paired match, but a sucker punch...and attempted take down, a pistol being fired at you, whatever. Human movement is human movement and it has been the same for hundreds of years. Imagine having an understanding of aggressive human movement...and internal and deep understanding. And then having an ingrained reflexive response for those aggressive human movements so that your chances of surviving that unexpected contact were extremely high.
And not only that, but that through extensive repetition and contextual learning, you would have a quick and mindless counter to those attacks that could be put into place instantly? That would be cool. That is what proper karate does with the fist, and what we do with the gun.