So is he talking about all drills being dead, or just the way they are drilled? What about learning drills with progressive resistance so you'll be able to have more tools in your toolbox for when you take away the drills and just flat-out spar?
I'm hoping it's the latter, because I really do think training drills like hubud or largo or whatever, deflections, even energy drills (my apologies for namedropping FMA and JKD terms) can be extremely helpful if you practice them and practice them and then drill them force-on-force against skilled fully resisting opponents at real speeds. They teach timing, sectoring, mechanics, recovery, footwork, etc. Maybe not necessary, but I have a friend who's a boxer (a very good one) and he said that he can certainly manage to pull off a lot of moves (foot sweeps, arm wrenches from the clinch, and other unconventional things) that are a DIRECT result of energy drills he's done. They definitely give him options others may not have, opening them up in ways they don't know how to defend. I think it's good for options
Obviously some drills suck and are developed for the attack instead of the other way around, but I think this can be true in ANY art... and that it's hard to tell what you'll end up using once you step out of the box and freeflow, or spar, or whatever you call it.
I thought it was interesting that he said weapons are what people should be using for self-defense. I'm a huge fan of weapons, but they're kind of hard to use when you slip or are tackled or somehow find them out of reach (which happens all the time even to the best fighters when their real-life situation doesn't fit into their neat little plan). There's the whole thing about ACCESSING your weapon. And I think if one's goal is self-defense they really do need a core of basics from a variety of arts so that they will be able to "pass" in ALL ranges, and of course an emphasis on PREVENTION.
And the dude in that video who said that being able to fight will give you more confidence, which will deter your attacker in the first place--that sounds right on to me. They showed pictures of women to guys behind bars and asked them who they would attack and the common denominator was posture. There was another study done using inmates convicted of violent crimes and they all individually picked out the same "victims" in a video--they all picked the white bread, people not paying attention, people with submissive body language, etc.
So if somebody told me they trained for self-defense, I wouldn't tell them the weapon is the ultimate solution, I would tell them to frickin' work on pre-fight strategies. Awareness, avoidance, de-escalation, escape, what crimes are common in the area, what the assailants usually look like, etc. Next to nobody ever drills this, incorporates thinking under pressure in their drills, but they should. Next I would say to develop some level of comfort in all ranges, which unfortunately usually means training in different arts and trying to integrate it on your own. And then combatives on top of that, of course.