Most students think that sparring involves either attacking or blocking, but there is more to sparring than these two skills. Using just these two skills, it is difficult to defeat certain types of opponents, such aggressive attackers, attackers who can close the distance quickly, attackers who quickly hit and run, and attackers who like to clinch. Against these types of fighters, counterattacking is the best strategy.
Researchers at the University of Birmingham in England tested subjects in a type of "laboratory gunfight" to find out whether it is best to draw first in a gunfight, or to react to the opponent drawing first. Instead of a drawing guns, the subjects had to slap a button. The study showed that the second person to draw moves faster—by an average of 21 milliseconds. This small difference is too slim to make a difference; however, it shows that there is no speed disadvantage to counterattacking. A counterattack may reach its target at same time as an attack. It appears that two different brain processes govern action and reaction, a theory supported by the fact that some Parkinson's patients find it easier to catch a ball than to pick one up.
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