SCJJ was largely centered around finger locks- an effective tool missing from the arts that focused on striking; removed from the sport grappling arts (two big guys rolling and allowed to use small joints result in many breaks and arthritis in later years); and rare in the older battlefield styles (our style has only one).
Wally's vision (it's changed through time as more and more people got on the band wagon) was an openly incomplete system (and all systems are incomplete- to approach completeness they would have to cover at minimum threat identification, violence dynamics,strategy and tactics, talking, dealing with the emotionally disturbed and mentally ill, all ranges of unarmed combat, all common weapons -from clubs to long guns-, impromptu weapons, escape and evasion, small unit tactics... on and on. And don't think I'm talking military operations, those are the same skills that will get you and your friends out of a bar fight with minimum damage.) The vision was the important and brilliant thing.
I see ABT going that way too. Awareness Based Training is the paradigm that Mac and I have been using to teach our agency. The gains have been huge, but it is definitely not a system of fighting, or martial arts or DTs or self defense. It's more a way of teaching.
I keep trying to come up with analogies and comparisons. It's less molding an officer than growing one; less 'forging a warrior' than releasing a predator to the wild.
There are concepts and principles that are critical to real situations. Many of them are addressed in most martial arts but rarely overtly. Some of them you can see in the old kata but the modern instructors don't recognize the implications or the uses of some of these details.
Principles are the physical things that make the technique work. Range, for example, is covered by all styles. Some are complicated (8 ranges), some simple (in range/out of range). A few are sophisticated (which is much different than complicated). Balance, leverage, two-way action, using gravity, exploiting momentum... I've identified 10 or so. Again, these are present in most if not all styles but rarely brought to the student's conscious attention.
Concepts, some of the mental things, are even rarer. Violence is a big animal and only teaching the physical aspects of fighting is like only teaching a surgeon organ repair. The surgeon needs to know sterile technique and how to read a medical history and how to open, repair the organs, close and prescribe post-op care...
Aside- not all martial arts teachers are teaching about violence or about self-defense. If people are playing for fun or training for competition or adjusting their chi or getting healthier or learning about another culture that is great, and far purer and better than someone who wants to kick ass trying to learn from someone with warrior fantasies.
But if you are teaching about violence and self-defense you must address the basics: Legal issues. Each student's personal emotional capacity for violence. SSR and how the brain and body work under stress. The OODA loop. How attacks happen (if you don't know how people really use a weapon how can you possibly train for it?) How to deal with freezing. How to recover from mistakes and failure. How and when to change goals. Fighting to the actual goal (if you have only ever trained for ippon and now you have to carry your daughter past threats and out of the house, how do you adjust? Practice adaptability.) Dealing, win or lose, with the aftermath- physical, legal and emotional.
Pretending these things don't happen or won't come in to play is talisman thinking- pulling blankets over your head and hoping the magic words will keep the monsters in the closet.
Almost every system I've seen, especially the systems that arose in places and times where the level of violence was horrific by modern standards, deals with these concepts. The much maligned x-block of traditional karate deals wonderfully with the range, power and surprise of a real close range ambush attack (How do attacks actually happen) and works with the SSR (how the body works under stress). Instructors or generations of instructors look at how ineffective it is in sparring and drop it.
All this stuff is there, but the instructors as well as the students need to learn to see it