I'm specifically asking about manual or mechanical tenderization prior to cooking, as with a meat tenderizer (also called a mallet). Wikipedia says
Tenderizing meat with the mallet softens the fibers, making the meat easier to chew, and easier to digest. It is useful when preparing particularly tough cuts of steak, and works well when broiling or frying the meat.
This makes pounding or mashing meat sound like a magic bullet that can never go wrong. I've learned the hard way that there is no such thing in a kitchen: a sufficiently inventive cook (such as yours truly) can find a way to ruin any recipe.
I recently purchased a steak from a meat counter, and the butcher offered to run it through their tenderizer. I imagined a machine equivalent to a robotic hammer array and agreed. However, I was surprised to find when I opened the package at home that the machine had actually cut a large number of closely spaced striations part way through the steak.
How does this differ from a pounding tenderization process? Is there a guide to which types of meat work better with which types of tenderization? Are there some cuts or species of meat that don't respond well to tenderizing? What are the pitfalls when using either process? Can you over-pound or over-slice a cut of meat and damage it or cause it to toughen? Does manual tenderizing conflict with other types of tenderization (e.g. brasing, enzymatic, brining, marinating etc.)?
Right now, the only downside to manual tenderizing that I can think of is the time and effort required to pound it out. I've been meaning to pick up a meat mallet and wanting to go nuts experimenting, but I'm hoping to avoid any mistakes.