Anyone in the dojo where I train can ask the instructor directly. About pretty much anything. Which doesn't mean that he'll have an answer, or that you'll like the answer if he does have one.
One of the problems in martial art is that when it is transplanted to a different culture, weird things can happen and traditions can get kind of twisted.
On the other hand, learning by observation is very much respected in many cultures, and can be a valuable asset in and of itself. I don't think I would let that discourage me in my chosen pursuit. Anywho, if you simply want to learn the best way to fight as quickly as possible, walk up to someone sitting down in a bar and pour a beer over their head. You'll learn a lot very quickly.