When you fought those guys you used fighting techniques. You used kicks and eye pokes. But it was a type of fighting not confined by rules, and not embedded with the weaknesses that come with rules, not expecting certain attacks, leaving yourself open to them, muscle memory taking over and making you do something silly. You fought your way out of those situations, not by using taekwondo sparring and footwork, or with the goal of scoring points, but it was fighting never the less. The point that patterns help fighting is defiantly one that has been made in this thread.