A counter-attack is an attack made against an opponent’s offensive movement, either as they attack on their own initiative or is somehow provoked into attacking.

The objective when using any form of counter-attack is to avoid being hit while at the same time succeed in hitting the opponent while they are  still out of position or is off-balance as a result of missing you with their attack.


Don’t look at counter-attack as a defensive action, but rather as an attacking action, an advanced form of offense in which you use the opponent’s offensive action as a means to successfully complete your own attack.

Counter-attacking involves all methods of hitting, kicking, trapping, and grappling, as well as all of the main techniques of evasion such as parrying, slipping, bobbing and weaving, ducking, sidestepping, feinting, and so on.


There are two types of counter-attacks: (a) offensive and (b) defensive-offensive. Offensive counter-attacks include the stop-hit or stop-kick. Defensive-offensive
counter-attacks include the time-hit as well as the use of parry-and-counter, evade-and-counter, and jam-and-counter methods.


The "Stop-hit" 


Fundamental Principle - “Move second, arrive first.”


In order for an opponent to attack you they have to move towards you (unless they somehow lure you into moving toward them). This movement towards you offers you an opportunity to "intercept" that attack or movement with your own.


The principle of Stop hit & stop kick was absorbed and adapted from European Fencing and modified for unarmed combat and implemented into the JKD framework by Bruce Lee.

The principle of interception covers more than just intercepting physical attacks.

Sometimes an opponent will “telegraph” their intended action with subtle movements that they are unaware of which can be perceived and thus be used to your own advantage. It could be a preparatory movement such as a slight bending of the knees before throwing a kick, or perhaps a drawing back of the arm before throwing a punch.

When to use a stop-hit --

There are several moments in the course of fighting when an opportunity to stop-hit an opponent may present itself:


1) You can intercept on the opponent’s preparation. A preparation includes anything an opponent does before actually initiating their attack, such as taking a step forward, or winding up before throwing a punch.

2) You can intercept the opponent in the midst of their attacking motion. In this case the attack has already been launched and is on its way.

3) You can intercept an opponent between two motions of a compound movement.

4) You can intercept the opponent if they make wide, swinging movements.

5) You can intercept an opponent when they are preoccupied with their own feints or plans of attack.


The best moment to execute a stop-hit is at the very beginning of an opponent’s attack, such as the split-second they move the leading foot when beginning an advance, or at their very first feint. This surprises and tends to block their reflexive actions, preventing them from completing the attack or delaying the final movement of their action. They cannot suddenly reverse their movement and “change horses in midstream.” The longer you wait when using a stop-hit, the greater the risk factor becomes.


When using a stop-hit, timing and speed are of the essence.


The "Time-hit"
The term "time-hit" is another term drawn from Western fencing. It refers to a stop-hit that scores while at the same time preventing the opponent’s attack from landing. The time-hit differs from a pure stop-hit insomuch as it anticipates and intercepts the final line of the attack, and is delivered in such a way that it closes the line while carrying the opponent’s attacking limb away.

Like the stop-hit, the time-hit requires a highly developed sense of timing, a keen
eye, and control of your tools. And, like when using a stop-hit, conception and execution must take place instantaneously.


The successful use of any type of time-hit requires three things:

• Correct anticipation of the opponent’s attacking intentions. You need to know or be able to anticipate what line the opponent’s attack will come in.
• Precise placement of your counter-attack weapon in the path of the final movement of attack.
• Precision in hitting the available target.


Like any other form of counter-attack, timing is crucial when using a time-hit. If you attempt to time-hit too early, an opponent can switch his line of attack, and if you wait too long the opponent’s attack might score.

Timing in Counterattack


There are three primary times in which to counterattack an opponent:

On Preparation

Actually this should be classified more as an attack as opposed to a counterattack because you attack when the opponent is himself preparing to make an attack. A preparation is any movement that a fighter may make to facilitate the development of his offensive action such as taking a step forward in an attempt to close the distance to strike, pulling the arm back before punching, or bending the knees before kicking. To attack on preparation is to attack at the moment the opponent is executing any of these movements. However, it must be done before the opponent launches his own attack.  To attack on the preparation requires a total evaluation of the opponent’s game so that you can almost anticipate his every move.

On Development

Your action can land when the opponent is in the midst of a movement. The attack has been launched and is already on its way.

On Completion

Your action can land as the opponent’s attack reaches full extension, or even as it begins to withdraw or recover.