Let's say I have a Fighter 2 / Brawler 2. Note the following tidbit on hybrid classes:
Parent Classes: Each one of the following classes lists two classes that it draws upon to form the basis of its theme. While a character can multiclass with these parent classes, this usually results in redundant abilities. Such abilities don’t stack unless specified. If a class feature allows the character to make a one-time choice (such as a bloodline), that choice must match similar choices made by the parent classes and vice-versa (such as selecting the same bloodline). The new classes presented here are all hybrids of two existing core or base classes.
Okay, so Fighters get the Bonus Feat class feature. Brawlers get the Bonus Combat Feat class feature. I noticed the different names and so started wondering: does this mean that the given character would have 2 Bonus Feats and 1 Bonus Combat Feat?
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it comes from the descriptions in the classes.
here is Bonus Feats class Feature from the fighter the bold part is mine for emphasis.
....a fighter gains a bonus feat in addition to those gained from normal advancement (meaning that the fighter gains a feat at every level). These bonus feats must be selected from those listed as combat feats, sometimes also called "fighter bonus feats."
this means that from the fighter you can pick any feat as long as you meet the prerequisites and has the word combat after its name.here is the brawler's Bonus combat feat class Feature
...a brawler gains a bonus combat feat in addition to those gained from normal advancement. These bonus feats must be ones that affect or improve her defenses or melee attacks. The brawler must meet the prerequisites of the selected bonus combat feat.
this means that the feat from the brawler has to be a combat feat that can't improve things like ranged weapons or a Combat Maneuver.
I disagree here, combat mneuvers are affected by anything that improves/weakens attack rolls, so they don't simply replace melee attacks but count as melee attacks.
Besides, Improved Trip an so on increase the CMD vs. Trip Maneuvers by 2.
Do you want to argue that "defenses" only includes AC?
Grapple lowers AC, but it's not the feat that lowers it, but using the maneuver itself. That's like saying you can't take Dragon Style, because it affects charge attscks and chsrges lower your defenses...
no combat maneuvers do not count as attacks. the description of multiple combat maneuvers use the phrase "in place of a melee attack" they are not attacks.
and yes I am using AC as the only meaning of defense, because otherwise you can argue that things like moving improve defense.
Now as to why pizo used defense and not AC, I think it is so the brawler's Bonus combat feat class feature can still be used for games that use the variant rule "Defense", as there is no AC at tables that use the rule.
I think what Paizo had in mind when writing this version of bonus feats was to exclude ranged feats. Fighters can use any combat style they want, but Brawlers are by definition melees.
Brawlers also have Combat Maneuvers built into their class features. They are basically expected to build around them, so it makes no sense to exclude them from the required feats.