A great fighter needs mre than peak physical condition, patiently honed skill and an effective arsenal of techniques.
They also need a good strategy.
Sometimes strategy can be tailored to a specific opponent or situation. If you are fighting a big powerful striker with
little or no martial arts skill, for example, you may choose a strategy of using mainly grappling, trying to stay in close
and take them to the ground. Or, if you are fighting multiple opponents, you might choose the strategy of avoiding grappling
altogether, so as to keep moving and reduce the risk of being surrounded or attacked from behind.
But it is also good to have what you might call a default strategy, which can be easily integrated into your training
and even into your techniques themselves. In kung fu there is a very rich variety of different strategies, and many styles
have their own unique strategy which fits with the particular characteristics of that style. And there is also one common
strategy which, as far as I know, runs through all styles of kung fu., and which is embedded in many of the techniques and
training practices of kung fu: the continuous attack strategy.
Basically this is about attacking with 100% commitement to ending the fight there and then. Rather than striking with
a kick or a punch that might hurt your opponent, or gradually wear them down, and then returning to a 'ready stance'
position, the conitnuous attack strategyu dictates that once you attack you should carry on relentlessly until the fight is
You can see the importance of this strategy reflected in the way kung fu is taught. Whereas in other martial arts, from
Karate to Kickboxing, strikes are often learned and practiced on thier own, from the ready stance and then returning immediately
to the same position. In kung fu techniques are not usually practiced in isolation this way; instead there is a greater emphasis
on forms and combinations, and on learning how to flow smoothly from one technique to the next. Even when learning basic kicks
and punches kung fu students are often taught to step forwards following the strike, rather than returning back to their original
And there are good reasons for adopting this strategvy. The point at which you have just unleashed an attack is, the
majority of the time, the point at which you are in the most dominant position. Obviously if you land your first attack then
your opponent may be hurt or momentarily stunned, but even if your first strike fails to connect your opponent is likely
to be 'on the back foot', perhaps off-balance from avoiding or blocking it, under greater stress, and perhaps most importantly
they are reacting rather than acting, which means that you control the direction, pace and flow of the fight. To relinquish
this advantage seems stupid.
Of course there are also pitfalls to avoid. Most importantly you should not just go straight in, running at your opponent
with your arms flailing at the start of a fight. Pick your moment to attack carefully, as you first attack will do a lot to
set the tone of what follows. Begin by moving around, avoiding, and looking for a weakness or opening. You must also be very
aware of range, as throwing kicks and punches which go nowhere near your opponent is just a waste of energy. Thirdly you should
not force it if it doesn't come. If you fell you have run out of momentum or inspiration, if you don't see an opening, then
just throwing yourself at your opponent is pure folly. The more you train and the greater your familiarity with this strategy
the longer you will be able to sustain an effective continuous attack.