The things Grandmaster mentions about being in the now reminds me of what I learned from my Wing Chun Sifu Greg LeBlanc. The awareness needs to be trained so that you are not reacting to something that is already in the past (whatever your conscious mind can detect with your eyes about what the other person is doing) or that is only in your mind (your expectations based on your experience). You need to train to be fully present. Everything your mind is telling you is old news.
The Best Punch is a Counter
“I have already stated that attack is the trump suite in boxing, and have also pointed out that attack does not necessarily mean rushing or charging at or after your opponent. Attack, indeed, commences earlier than hitting. For the ideal punch, or perhaps it would be better to say the best punch, the most effective one, is a good, stiff counter, to a ducked, brushed aside, or otherwise evaded lead.
It is usually best, whenever possible, to “draw” your opponent into a lead before hitting out on your own account. The advantages gained thereby are four in number. In the first place, you have forced your opponent to commit himself to a decided step and can therefore be moderately certain of what he is about to do. Secondly, you have to a very large extent deprived him of the ability to change his position and guard swiftly enough to deal successfully with any offensive you may yourself adopt. Thirdly, by his mere action of hitting out, you will or should secure an opening of sorts, can or should make him present you with a fair target at which to aim. Fourthly, and most important of all, you will have borrowed some very considerable force from him to add to the power of your own “counter” delivery. For the more speedy and the heavier his advance or lunge towards you in the action of punching, the heavier and more painful will be the “dig” with which you meet him on his way.”
The Straight Left and How to Cultivate It, 1910, by Jim Driscoll
Any “complete martial art” has a variety of techniques to deal with each of these situations. Do not be fooled by the rhetoric. Taiji players can box, Wing Chun students can master long-range entry and even the most ardent jujitsu student knows how to throw a kick or two. It is not really the techniques that make these arts different so much as it is their basic assumptions about how they think a fight is likely to start, how they want to guide its progression, and what they believe will give them the best chances of winning. These are the fundamental questions that really differentiate the styles. It is differences of emphasis and opinion that give each art its unique visual aesthetic.
Kung Fu Tea