Await the Exhausted Enemy at Your Ease
It is an advantage to choose the time and place for battle. In this way you know when and where the battle will take place, while your enemy does not. Encourage your enemy to expend his energy in futile quests while you conserve your strength. When he is exhausted and confused, you attack with energy and purpose.
Chinese Folk Tale
The emperor Xuan of Zhou loved to gamble on cock fights and kept a stable of specially bred fighting roosters. Although they were strong and fierce they would nevertheless lose against the roosters trained by Ji Xing Ze. The emperor therefore hired Ji to train his roosters.
Ten days had passed when the emperor went to the stables to ask if they were ready to fight.
After another ten days passed the emperor returned to enquire again.
“Not yet. They are still haughty and jump at everything that moves.”
After another ten days the emperor again asked the question.
“No, still not yet. Although they no longer rush to attack, they still raise their hackles and stare fiercely at the slightest provocation.”
After yet another ten days the emperor again asked if the roosters were ready.
“Yes, they are nearly ready. Although some still crow from time to time, none ever change their countenance. From a distance they appear as steady is if they were made of wood. Before them, their untrained opponents would not dare accept their challenge and could only turn back and run.”
I frequently use this in grappling bouts, where I allow my opponent to persevere with a fruitless technique while I conserve my strength. For best results don’t allow your opponent to know that their technique is failing, react in a way that makes them think you are struggling (e.g. pretend you are being choked by gurgling). While they use up their physical and mental reserves, you simply wait for the opportune time to seize the advantage.