siegeThe element of surprise is a huge advantage in battle so it is in our best interest for our opponents to be unaware of our strengths and our weaknesses.  The martial arts is all about strategy so we try to simultaneously shore up our weakness and hide our strengths.  The job of the opponent is to exploit any weakness and maneuver around any strengths.  It is said, the worst place to be in is in the castle because a castle is static with all of its strengths and weaknesses on display.  The more sorties and sieges a castle endures the more likely it will topple.  That is because the besieging force learns from each sortie and discovers all the castles hidden secrets. As martial artists, our goal is be as strong as a castle but as fluid as the besieging force.  We must close the openings and gaps in our stance and movements in order to prevent our opponents from exploiting them.  Our strengths and weaknesses need to be used for advantage.

There is a technique in boxing counter punching that states, "the easiest punches to counter are the punches you know are coming" or in other words "give to get" which means that they will open themselves up and take a punch to deliver a stronger one.  It was the basic theory behind Muhammed Ali's Rope-a-dope.   He opened himself up to being hit and would either take the punch or slip the punch and deliver and even harder punch in return.

At a certain level, strengths and weaknesses are the same because both can be exploited.  Therefore we must train to be vigilant to be sure our movements and stances show no openings or shore up the weaknesses and at the same time use our strengths in a way that don't allow them to become weaknesses.

I have posted a video below that will illustrate the counter puncher's give to get mentality.  This video is a short segment of a longer video of a sparring session between arguably the strongest Gracie Jujitsu practitioner, Rickson Gracie and American Judo pioneer, Hayward Nishioka.  Throughout their sparring session, Nishioika Sensei throws Gracie several times.  After a few times, Gracie allows himself to be swept by Hayward Nishioka but goes with the throw only to roll into position for arm bar.  It is classic "give to get" maneuvering.