Offensive vs Defensive Mindset

It's interesting how the martial arts of a culture reflects it's philosophy and values. Although there are notable exceptions (Muay Thai), Western martial arts tend to have an offensive mindset while Eastern martial arts tend to have a defensive mindset.

The offensive mindset is this: The best defense is a good offense.

In the Western mindset, it is about meeting force with force. You cannot predict what others do, nor should you care. You only know what you can do, and you do it. You exert your force and will to dominate others. Action is always better than inaction. The offensive mindset operates on constant forward drive.

The defensive mindset is this: The best offense is a good defense.

In the Eastern mindset, it's about going with the flow. You cannot always meet force with force and expect to win. You choose your battles wisely. Every attack on you provides you with an opportunity to launch a counterattack. The defensive mindset operates on patience, skill and quickly taking advantage of opportunities.

A prime example of the defensive mindset is mixed martial artist Lyoto Machida. Here's a short descrip on his unorthodox fighting style from Wikipedia:

"Machida’s fight style has been described as 'deliberate' and 'methodical'—both as a compliment and out of disapproval. Following his victory over Tito Ortiz at UFC 84, he has received admiration and criticism for his unconventional ways, widening the so-called 'Machida Divide' among MMA fans. Supporters defend his 'elusive' ways as the genius of a sound technical fighter:

“I think when Machida fights you really get to see which fans appreciate MMA as a sport, and which just like to watch for random violence.”

"Detractors view his defensive approach as boring, diminishing the entertaining aspect of the sport: Machida’s 'get-in-get-out' style is seen by critics as a marketing liability for the UFC, which could hamper his career because fight fans keen on excitement might not pay to see him compete for a championship. Others contend that Machida would fail as a champion, because of a language barrier and his defensive approach would alienate fans."

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