A crock of proverbial
Yeah I'm with you Marcus: This stood out quite a bit to me too. I'll just say: I disagree........
I believe in 'backing up' which to me means possible multiple linier back up stepping in order to:
1. Deploy the Fence.. For purposes of threat assessment or de-escalation.
2. Deploy a weapon*
3. Bait the wary opponent who stays just outside range and will not commit*
* Note: In these cases the backward movement is only used to set up the close, the attack.
In the end, one may train moving backward, sideward, this way or that way, but when one is talking about fighting or bodily SD all roads lead to engagement. So, while one may study many kinds of setups, for engagement, some of which may involve "backing up" and some not, one eventually finds oneself, finally, needing to attack.
The problem is that, at this moment one encounters the opponent's resistance. This is where things can get scary because the opponent's resistance will most often totaly ruin their 'plan' and if one's plan is fixed and unchangeable they will be in deep schizle aka 'the classical mess.' So, folks need to get used to having their plans ruined and changing and adapting.
Without engagement resistance training folks often resort to the 'primal flail' because the information received in the heat of combat, his *resistance* is foreign to them and does not generate a trained response. In other words their training doesn't recognize this chaotic feedback and "tell them" what to do with it, let alone how to use it to their advantage. This is why studying the engagement and learning to change/adapt with resistance is where real martial depth is and why it merits a main focus of study.