Honesty is the best way, and what you said is completely true! That's why I like BJJ the best, it is the most practical for real life, it basically acts on AFTER you have been attacked. Say you get knocked down and now you need to defend from further damage, BJJ is perfect. Plus, the chances of choking someone out is WAY more likely then knocking someone out.
BJJ is not self defense anymore. What is taught in gyms now is sports BJJ, I'm sorry to say it, but it's true. In a street fight the last play I would ever want to be is on the ground grappling. Look if you are going to fight one man sure it will help you, but lets say you get to mount and are just raining hell down on him, where is his buddy that is going to walk up and kick you in the head? Better yet, you're fighting and you throw an armbar or god forbid a triangle on someone and they go "There is something on my face" and bite down, now you're in an entirely different problem. Even the Gracie in action DVDs aren't self defense, they are fighting, where there are rules and gentlemen's agreements. What happens if you end up on the bottom and the guy gouges at your eyes? That's not even in a BJJ system.
If you want real self-defense try something like Kali, it's a Filipino martial art that teaches you how to defend yourself brutally. But it's not for a simple street fight, it can be very dangerous and deadly.
There is some kind of misconception that a lot of the traditional martial arts are shit because they aren't found in MMA. Here's the thing with that, let's take Kung Fu for example, most of the bases for attack or defending yourself in Kung Fu attack the four orbs, two high, two low(your eyes and your nuts) What is the first thing you can't do in MMA? Attack the eyes or groin. Also, in BJJ you can go full speed with anyone at anytime just for fun, so you can clearly see it works. You can't do that with a traditional martial art, if you did one guy would go and the other guy would never get a turn because he'd be headed to the hospital.
The point being, if you're concerned for your safety, learn an art that will truly hurt someone in the event you use it. I carry a knife with me whenever I go places that I might be slightly concerned about, I've trained in Kali for quite a while and while I hope I never do use it, I feel safe in knowing that if I do I will know what I'm doing. Basically, what I'm saying is this, when you're in a fight on the street, you don't fight fairly, you don't have any agreements and nothing is off limits. If you ever get to the point you're going to fight on the street, you're fighting to survive not to win.
Btw. this is coming from someone who has a brown in BJJ.