Now, I'm not talking about the word relative in the sense of your uncles, aunts, and cousins. I'm talking about the extent to which the work being done in the training environment "relates" to or is "relative" to the competition or battle environment.
What is relative between these two environments? Well, first we would want to try and understand what is needed to perform during competition or battle and how the body is used in this context. Also, what is the worst-case scenario to compete in terms of physical, emotional, and mental distress?
These are the questions we should be asking to even begin to try and make sense of what is relative. However, in many cases, we have the understanding of "relative" backwards. Most strength philosophies are focused solely on the performance needs of excelling in the weight-room with the pretense that "weight-room" performance in general is relative to competition or battle performance. This assumption is actually false and is the logic behind many of the problems we have today with performance-based training.
Here's an alternate brand of logic. Try putting the horse before the cart. Really, what are the needs to perform well over a period of time in the competition or battle setting? How can I better train for this function? How would I know if the training made a difference in competitive performance or performance preparation during various stages of the year? If the answer brings me back to attaining a specific rep, load, or Newton in the weight-room or 40-time, re-consider the definition of the word "relative."