The ability to fight to the goal is based on the student's ability to correctly identify the goal in the moment. Once they have been told what they should have done, they may learn something but many do not get any closer to learning to choose for themselves.
The plastic mind exercises are the same thing. There are variations of them, three 'stages' that I use (though Edwin insists on three-and-a-half). The purpose is to introduce the student to the reality that the self is malleable. That a relatively small shift in attitude or point-of-view can profoundly impact how the student moves, thinks and feels. Sometimes doing more to improve fighting efficiency in a two minute game than the student will get in a year of physical drills.
We know the mind is that important in fighting. Ask any cop whether he would rather fight a 200 pound black belt who was afraid of getting hurt or an untrained 110 pound housewife who didn't care if she got hurt as long as she hurt you.
We also know the mind is malleable. Sleep deprivation, dehydration, protein, blood sugar can all profoundly affect how we think and act. So can the first cup of coffee, or even a good or bad pep talk. We know this, but our little monkey mind feels all of reality shift into terrifying gray at the thought that "I am not who I think I am, the center of my reality, myself, is not stable."
If the thing that senses the world is variable, then the world itself must be terrifying chaos...
Yadda yadda yadda. We know we change. If we think about it for a minute, we start to realize how small whatever stable core there is might be (the old koan of how much can be taken away and still have you be you.)
Working with this change is powerful. Consciously controlling it. Not just finding the motivations that let you slip the leash-- you can actually practice what you will become when that happens. Many martial artists have played with their bodies, pushing limits of strength and flexibility. Then they play at another level, soft or structured and find new concepts of flexibility and entirely new ways to be strong. Right there, they are on the edge of playing with their minds as well... but I can't think of any that expressly take it into that territory.
Even knowing that fighting is more mental than physical.
Even espousing the critical role of mindset.
I can be a bastard, I can be a saint. I can be happy or sad. All as choices, simple choices. And I can be a trout. Or the wind. Each of those choices will change how I move, how I relate to the people around me, friend or threat. How I think and how I feel.
The danger is that something that can be expressly designed to help teach a form of flexibility can quickly become a thing of right and wrong. I tell you to fight like fire, it should be the archetype of fire in your brain, not mine. There are a hundred ways to differ from my archetype, but there is no way to do it wrong. But the minute it enters your head, whether from your insecurity or a bad teacher's words that there is a right and wrong way, what was meant to be flexible becomes rigid. An exercise meant for you to discover and delight in your own plasticity, becomes another brittle breaking point, potentially.