From the comments it seems I havent quite asked the correct question. For the purposes of some abilities, largely related to path of war but also relevent in regular pathfinder, what is an encounter which I consider to be combat. What would define the start and/or end? Can you enter into it and there be no attacks or danger?
The reason for this question comes from Path of War (PoW). In this rules expansion there are many abilities which can only be used during combat, in my specific case, the medics triage ability. The class has limited healing, but that healing can be used in EVERY combat, regardless how many you have had that day. But has very little for healing outside of combat.
Now you could just attack an ally to cause combat, but that tends to upset people. Which bares the question, just what is combat and combat rounds? The combat rules page doesn't actually say what combat is or what is required to initiate combat. Would it be possible to enter into "combat" to perform the triage healing because someone was damaged by a trap lets say?
Triage (Ex): A medic must be able to react immediately to any danger that threatens her allies. At 1st level, a medic gains the ability to perform a triage as a swift action. When she does, she can move up to her speed, so long as she ends her movement adjacent to an ally. That ally is healed for a number of hit points equal to three times the medic’s initiator level. This increases to four times her initiator level at 7th level and five times her initiator level at 14th level. In addition, she can apply the effects of one of her medic's expertises (see page X) to the ally, if applicable. The medic can also perform a triage on herself; she does not move when she does so. A medic can use this ability three times per encounter at 1st level, plus one additional time per encounter at 4th level and every three levels thereafter. Alternatively, the medic can take a full round action to apply her triage to multiple allies at once. If she does so, she can move up to twice her speed; this movement ignores difficult terrain and does not provoke attacks of opportunity. Any ally that the medic is adjacent to at any point during this movement is healed for the medic’s triage amount. In addition, the medic can apply the normal number of medic’s expertises for a medic of her level to each healed ally. Each ally can only benefit from the full-round use of triage’s healing once per use of the ability. Using triage in this way costs two uses of the ability.