The cheetah and the gazelle have something in common.
To survive, they each must run faster than the nearest gazelle.
The cheetah is the fastest land animal, and since it is a cat, it is carnivorous and must hunt and kill to survive. In the area of the world where the cheetah lives, there are many gazelles, so gazelles are a common prey of cheetahs. Even though gazelles are also very fast runners, they are not as fast as cheetahs, especially in a straight line, and yet, many times, they easily escape the cheetahs.
Gazelles escape by avoiding the cheetah. Cheetahs know they can run faster than any other animal, so that is all they do. They have not learned to anticipate the movements of their prey; they just charge after it at full speed, expecting to catch it. On the other hand, gazelles have learned that the cheetah’s primarily hunting asset is its speed, so they have learned to avoid the cheetah’s speed by making sharp, abrupt turns. The cheetah is very fast—for a short distance—then it tires very quickly. To avoid death by a cheetah, all a gazelle must do is avoid capture for a few tens of yards until the cheetah is exhausted. It is entirely possible for a gazelle to keep avoiding a cheetah until the cheetah is so exhausted that it is helpless; then the gazelle could attack and kill the cheetah.
To capture the gazelle, the cheetah must catch it before it can make its sharp turn. Since the cheetah is has not learned to anticipate the gazelle’s turns, many gazelles escape. Usually only the very young, very old, or infirm gazelles are caught.
Which style, power or avoidance, is best suited for a person to adopt and study depends upon several factors, body type and personality being major factors. A stocky, powerful boisterous person is not suited for graceful avoidance movements, and a thin, relatively weak quiet person is not suited for forceful, powerful movements.
- Avoidance stylists should practice using powerful attacks.
- Power stylists should practice anticipating the movements of avoidance opponents so they may lead them and strike where the opponents will be, not where they are.
- Just as with the cheetah and the gazelle, each type of martial art, power or avoidance, has its good points that allow it to be victorious at times. However, to be consistently victorious, a fighting style must adopt some of the characteristics of the competition. This does not mean the cheetah must change its spots or the gazelle must lose its horns, it just means each should adopt some of the tactics of the other.