Fighters need to understand the interconnected relationship between attacking and defending. Beginners assume that they need to split their resources between the two. For instance, when they are 100% attacking then they feel there is no room to defend. Likewise, when they are defending 100% they think there is no room to attack. In fact, there are two distinctive and parallel resources: One for attacking and one for defending. It is entirely possible to be attacking 100% and defending 100% at the same time. So what does this mean in practice?
When executing an attack – a punch for example – beginners are typically unaware of their defenses. They unconsciously feel that since they are attacking, they are no remaining reserves, other than their attack. Essentially they are blind until their attack is finished. An advanced fighter will defend throughout the execution of their punch – from the time it is extending until it returns to their guard. In practice, this means they are attacking 100% and defending 100% of the time. This approach allows for a split-second change in plans in the event that their opponent reacts unexpectedly in the midst of the attack.
Let’s say that a punching attack begins at 0% – at 50% completion the strike meets its opponent – at 100% the fist is back in the fighter’s guard. An advanced fighter may decide 30% into an attack to change plans because the opponent makes an unexpected movement. These are the intricacies of combinations. It’s not enough to have five or seven moves that are executed in succession, but rather how those moves need to be modified, and combined with defensive moves throughout the engagement.
Fighting is a chess match,
but decisions play out in real-time.
Fighting is often compared to chess. As in chess, both players plan many moves ahead. The more moves a player can plan into the future, to fulfill their plan, the wider their strategic advantage. Fighting is similar. Each move results in a counter-reaction. These reactions may require a split-second change as they play out in real-time. This essentially separates chess from fighting: In chess competition, a clock allows for players time to think. But fighters need to react on-the-fly and in real time.
Martial Arts • Fighting Science Series
If you would like to read more articles in this “Yin Yang of Fighting Science” series, check out these posts:
• 1 • Yin Yang of Technique vs. Power
• 2 • Yin Yang of Speed vs. Timing
• 3 • Yin Yang of Fighting Styles
• 4 • Yin Yang of Technique vs. Instinct
• 5 • Yin Yang of Empty vs. Full Cups
• 6 • Yin Yang of Slow vs. Fast
• 7 • Yin Yang of Perception vs. Reality
• 8 • Yin Yang of Fear vs. Confidence
• 9 • Yin Yang of Threes
• 10 • Yin Yang of Burden vs. Privilege
• 11 • Yin Yang of Anticipation vs. Surprise
• 12 • Yin Yang of Compliance vs. Resistance
• 13 • Yin Yang of Attacking vs. Defending
• 14 • Yin Yang of Fighting 360°
• 15 • Yin Yang of Teachers vs. Students
• 16 • Yin Yang of Physics vs. Physiology
• 17 • Yin Yang of Vulnerability vs. Opportunity
• 18 • Yin Yang of Martial Arts vs. Combat
• 19 • Yin Yang of Sport vs. Violence
• 20 • Yin Yang of Rhythm vs. Random
• 21 • Yin Yang of Stability
• 22 • Yin Yang of Strategy vs. Tactics
• 23 • Yin Yang of Instinct vs. Reason
• 24 • Yin Yang of Unstoppable vs. Immovable
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