Collapse is common to all things. The collapse of a house, the collapse of a body, the collapse of your opponent. All of them, according to the moment, are collapses from a discordance of rhythm.
In the martial arts you grasp the moment of collapse in your opponent’s changing rhythm during the fight. If you are negligent enough to miss this, he will recover and begin anew, and you will make no progress.
It is essential that you grasp the sign of your opponent collapse and rush him with certainty so that he will be unable to recover. Your rushing attack must be instantaneous and strong, and you must cut him down with such vigor that he cannot recover.
Book of Five Rings
When I read this, I immediately thought of the Karate Kid…the original…when the Kobra Kai sensei instructed Johnny to ‘sweep the leg’ on Danielsan when he had a knee injury. And he did. And he was successful in doing it. (Until the Danielsan broke out the Crane technique which seems like a straight leg kick, but for some reason, no can defense.)
If the goal is to win, and there is a weakness, what are you supposed to do…not exploit it? Not go after your goal? Are you a better person for not exploiting that? It doesn’t mean you should be a pig and take everything. But when you smell blood, go in for the kill. This will get you what you want.
This could be a possible sale. This could be a negotiation. This could be when you’re trying to pick-up someone in a bar. You probe them like a dentist does with that metal hook…until you find a soft spot. Then you drive that hook (not literally re: the bar reference) in there and twist.
Many negotiations are zero sum games; meaning that the more I get, the less you get. And vice versa. This isn’t necessarily negotiating million dollar deals, although it obviously also applies there. It could be negotiating curfew or an allowance if you’re young. It could mean negotiating a weekend away with friends if you’re married. It could mean negotiating a better price on a car.
These situations have winners and losers. This is about closing. When you see that opporunity, when you smell that weakness, close these deals so that the door is slammed shut and not going to reopen again.
The phrase, ‘caught me at a weak moment’ is said often. This is said by a person who has realized that they lost. They realize they were bested by someone who struck hard when the opportunity was just right. The skilled create those weak moments in others, they create that moment of collapse, then pounce.
Every kid learns not to ask their parents for money when they’re mad at you. It’s a bad idea. You get none, or very little. Every college kid knows you don’t walk up a pretty girl and ask her to go home with you without talking to her first. There is no soft spot visible. So you wait…you probe…until you see one. Then you strike. Take that simple lesson that you already know and apply it everywhere.