Relationship and combat are not synonymous. Combat is a specific kind of intense relationship. Combat is fighting. Combat is a battle. I agree that we learn and grow in relationship. In combat, the big picture may sometimes be to become better, but the immediate want of the parties involved is to beat on each other and try to beat each other which may result in learning and growing but likely results in destruction and death. I'm all for relationship and encounter; I'm not for combat and beating. Relating to and encountering the person standing before me typically helps me see myself more clearly -- that's not combat. What helps me stay open to growing through relationship is experience, that is, knowing from experience that I've grown through relationship, and valuing opportunities to grow. Relating to the other and not to expectations or prejudices or some underlying agenda helps me stay open to growing.