Go see our sticky post up top for a full explanation.
The main points here are improvisation and connectivity. Since we don’t go into a fight knowing how the opponent is going to react, we can’t have a predetermined method of approach and a set way to end the fight.
The method is to engage the opponent with credible threats, so he is forced to react to your actions; thereby giving you the initiative and a quicker route to get inside his decision/action loop. You don’t have to be really fast, just a bit faster than his cycles would be enough. This is how you dictate the terms to him. What you do depends entirely on what the opponent is giving you.
Our traditional manuscript describes the technique of Phantom Arrow (鬼箭手, guǐ jiàn shǒu, lit. ghost arrow hand) as follow: “I, standing with right foot forward, initiate an attack with my right arm. The opponent, standing with his right foot forward, uses his right hand to ladle my right arm. He then takes a left step and…