Backpedaling is making short, quick steps backward to avoid an attack or attacks. Backpedaling is a way to avoid an attack, but that does not mean you are retreating or running from the fight; if used correctly, it can create counterattack opportunities.
When an opponent is attacking, he or she is thinking about the attack, not about defense, so this is the best time to counterattack. When you are backpedaling, the opponent does not expect a counterattack and certainly does not think any attack you use would do any damage; however, this is not the case. See Punching topic for example of backpedaling knockouts.
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