And this really isn't esoteric. It's not even that subtle. It just really disturbs some people for some reason. A few years ago, in Germany, circumstances forced me to reorganize a bunch of material on the fly. The reorganization became: Escape, control, disable.
Basically there are only three legitimate reasons to go hands-on. Either you need to escape, to disable the person (usually so that you can escape) or you need to gain control of the threat (usually a consideration for professionals.)
This came up a lot at VioDy. Randy had added one when he was teaching Context of Violence: Acquiesce. In that context, it can be seen as four options. You can choose to try to escape, to try to disable, to try to control or to just go along with the bad guy's program. That's a legitimate choice, too. If you have made that choice, you made it with the information you had in the moment and that was the option that seemed to have the best ending. If you are reading this now, it worked. It might have sucked but you are alive. It worked. Never let any armchair quarterback tell you that you survived wrong.
Those are four options, but I'm going back to the three original goals. Said earlier that the mindsets, the tactics, the techniques and even the physics are different, and largely incompatible, between the three.
One example, and because we're talking about energy and physics, it might earn the label esoterica.
In all but a very few cases, if you want to disable someone, you need to direct kinetic energy towards his core. Mass and structure both act as tamping (just like when setting up explosives) and more damage happens. If you punch into a threat so that the force is going away from his centerline, the force bounces off. If you strike into weak structure, the structure gives and your force goes into motion, not damage. To do damage you strike into the threat's mass and structure. (Except for rotational damage, breaking the twigs or sprinting into the base, but even those have an element...)
So for disabling, your force generally needs to go towards the centerline of the opponent. That is the one direction that your energy can't go for escape. There are exceptions for this, too (some wedging and back-whip power generation) but escape requires putting kinetic energy into the empty space. In other words, you don't run directly into the bad guy, because that would obviously be stupid.
And control. It's impossible to escape from someone you are holding in a submission. The strategies, tactics, techniques and force vectors are incompatible. I can use many control techniques to disable-- takedowns and locks require very slight modification. But the disabling is either using gravity or putting force into/through the technique. Most controlling is done by working the vector in circles and on the perimeter.
A good leg sweep hits the leg as far down as possible with the hand as high as practical. Raise the leg's point of contact and lower the hand's and your leverage decreases. Elbow leverage point, knees, head-- all periphery and all central to control. In an oseikomi pin, I'm not trying to hold down your center of mass, I'm using my limbs as chock-blocks under your corners; using my mass to make dead weight at the edges of your body you need to move. Corners, edges--periphery. Grrrrrr. This is the hard one to do in word pictures.
But the force vectors for escape, control and disable are very, very different. Often, so are the mindsets, the tactics and the techniques. Only principles hold through all three and even with principles the emphasis shifts.
There is a fourth reason to go hands-on. That's to prove you are better at fighting. Which turns out to be just as incompatible with the main three as they are with each other--a half-assed blend of the main three goals.