As a rule of thumb it's not a good idea in fighting sports and martial arts and hand to hand combat to change the side of the body pointed to the opponent as you get close to him. Small hands motions reaching your pressure points with impact of soft pressure points with thrust and plucking motions are hard to prevent at the same time you are bringing your front foot to the back and the back foot to the front.
Once you are certain your opponent is distracted with pain from a blow, or push and pull forces, and you are certain you can control him with pulling and pushing, then it's ok to change the front side of your body. But prefer to do the push and pull on soft pressure points if possible. Of course if you grab an extended arm you might use if to control his balance and even use a kick as he is off balance.
The essence of reality based training is paying attention to details. You need to reach your opponents pressure points first in each and every time. Of course you will make errors during the training process. But you cant afford your students reverting to repetitious errors of the prior training steps as you move up in the training steps.
Finally, remember as I've mentioned before, techniques demos practice, drilling are just the tools for your work. You need to want your students to be able to defend themselves. You need to have a master plan of techniques, drills, tests, and so forth, to bring your students to a level that they can control another human that has two arms and two legs, as they are trained to familiarize themselves with the comprehensive possibilities of motion of such creature with bare hands or with the extension of a weapon that can reach your pressure points to control you. You need to foil this from happening and reach their pressure points first.
Discipline is helpful in controlling the class and its safety, but sooner of later this would need to shift in the direction of self discipline to the point that every student's brains become the source of control to protect his training partner on one hand but to provide a challenging realistic dangerous drilling machine on the other hand. There is simply no other way to get to advanced effective training of hand to hand combat. Running away from an attacker is rarely advisable especially if the attacker can run fast and is armed.