By all standards, a Dojo is a safe space to practice martial arts. It surely beats figuring things out in the middle of a bar room brawl and yet is still far more realistic than watching "kungfu" movies, but that guys is another story...
A dojo needs to strike a balance between simulating the stress of an actual altercation yet remain light, friendly, and welcoming. It must also provide fair and constructive criticism to yield personal growth and avoid coddling which leads to a dangerously destructive sense of ability beyond truth. It must provide rigorous practice of potentially devastating techniques while minimizing the risk of injury to the practitioners.
As Nage (the defender) we must remember to not be fooled into thinking we will need our training solely in a wide open, well lit room with endless do-overs. We must be serious when needed, treat wooden stand-ins as sharp steel, and believe our friends are real attackers. We must throw the attacker without apology or malice. We must remember that the real world is not covered in 2" of energy absorbent foam and that what we do is real.
As Uke (the attacker) we must remember our only purpose is to help Nage improve. We must be honest in our attacks, we must forget that we know what Nage is going to do and provide stress and strength just a smidge above Nage's present capacity. We must attack without apology or malice. We must remember that the real world is not covered in 2" of energy absorbent foam and that our response to being thrown should be genuine.
Be safe, be aware, be honest to yourself.