The Best Defense is a Good Offense

The quickest and most efficient way to shut down your opponent’s attack is to bombard him with your own attack. It is a fact that action beats reaction, and if you are forced to respond to an already laid attack, you will be wasting time and energy on playing catch-up. By the same token, if you attack your opponent, beat and meet his action, he will be unable to catch up; he will back-pedal, struggle to re-gain his footing, will be busy on the defense and his depth zone will be compromised. His depth zone is the area going in toward him.When his depth zone is penetrated and compromised, he can’t get a base to work from and so can’t attack.

So, here we explore what I call one beat and zero beat defense. You subtract his one beat with your one beat, canceling his attack and defense, making his attack and defense zero.

Here are the advantages to attacking first

  •  You stop your opponent’s follow-up moves. As stated, he will have to play catch-up.
  • You expend less energy, because you are not forced to respond to his moves.
  • It’s faster. The quicker you get the job done, the better. If you defeat your opponent quickly, then you’ve cancelled the danger and expend less energy and don’t waste time.

In Kenpo there is a principle known as “sophistication”. Sophistication is simplicity compounded. For instance, it is making one move do multiple things; like block and strike at the same time or strike twice with one move. Attacking first, or one-beat/zero-beat, is a sophistication; it is more efficient because you are getting more than one thing done in one move; disturbing your opponent’s base, canceling his offense, avoiding his attack, penetrating his depth zone, and doing offense and defense simultaneously. The psychological effect cannot be over-estimated; you have his brain focused on defense and pain and not on attacking you.

Defender kicks attacker before he can even reach him.

Defender punches attacker before he even comes in to attack.

It is important to be sensitive to what your attacker is doing; sense his energy and body language and understand if and when he intends to attack. When you understand this, you can cut him off before he starts by attacking first. It is the ultimate defense, cuts out unnecessary, time-consuming and energy-wasting moves, and ends the fight quickly, which you want to do because then you’ve cancelled the danger and save energy.


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