"I'm a gonna call you on the number of folks that think the early forms are just exercise."
No one is saying the forms "are just exercise" in the way that jogging, yoga, or banging one's head against a wall is exercise. I can't tell if you honestly aren't grasping that or if you're just jerking my chain. The point is simply that the early forms were intended as vehicles through which to hammer the basics. You must see that there is a systematic progression from SF1 through LF2 with each one building on the previous. Then, starting with SF3, the forms take a distinctly different approach...agreed? Now, lets say that those early forms could be put into their own separate sub-category. Coulda called 'em the Beginner Forms or the Fundamental Forms, but instead we refer to them as the Exercise Forms. All it is is a means of distinguishing apples from oranges.
In Short 1, when you step back and inward block, you could imagine any number of scenarios. The term "exercise" doesn't impose any limitations on how you choose to interpret the application, but the fact of the matter is that we all ought to be concentrating on perfecting all of the physical elements of the step and the block. From Short 3 on, Destructive Twins is Destructive Twins. Nothing left to imagination - just straight-up, by the book self defense - and hopefully you've figured out that whole stepping and blocking business. Apples and oranges.