It's true, during conflict we often frame our current and future decisions based on the past and present actions of our antagonist.  In our first experiences in conflict we begin a sequential sensory process, taking a myriad of mental notations.  In competitive combat sports our actions are often described as feeling out an opponent, actively paying attention to opponents actions and reactions in response to our combat presentation.  We are slowly buying what they are selling, and basing future decisions on what is perceived. 

The most dangerous game was said to have been played with a man.  The ability to reason separates man from beast, as written by Richard Connell in "The Most Dangerous Game".  A man was invited to a mysterious island by a legendary hunter and was offered a chance to experience the hunt of  lifetime.  The famous hunter described what would be the ultimate quarry, one that could reason.  He described man as the most dangerous game (noun).  The  game animal, perfectly unpredictable; paired with an uncanny ability to reason.  Richard Connell described it best.

I will admit, it is advantageous to pay attention to reactions, to remember the past movements in the current time.  After so many minutes, over a given acceptable period of time it is hard to think we would see anything different from our opponent.  Are they building or working towards something, or is this the same show replaying over again?

Our combative logic suggests the longer we wait to accomplish a goal, the harder it becomes.  The anticipation is the distraction.  The build up is the incumbrance.  The tension is self induced.  Statistics for college drop outs  are often stated as reason to avoid dropping out in the first place.  A growing static methodology can be hard to break away.  Once someone accepts that they are out of school and have broken the commitment, it is easier to maintain the broken commitment and move on; a quasi relationship went awry.  My father told me that most will not go back.  I went back three times, and it wasn't easy.  I assume it was the Army's version of expanding an education, and challenging a flexible determination.    Because this characteristic behavioral theme of predictable behavior based on current behavior revolves around our opponent creating norms and shaping a predictable current reality, this lends itself to predictable odds and may be considered enough to be a high percentage focal point of both your attack and defense.  What they do changes how you act and react.  What if the reverse process was used to create the ultimate strategy?

My friend and training partner Kevin recently decided that watching past performances of his opponents may lead to false expectations and unpredictable performances.  If you plan for past presentations, a new presentation may deliver problems previously unaccounted for.  This is primarily a mental defeat, as being forced to change for a learning curve you didn't ask for is hard for anyone to accept.  A counterpoint to this statement is that we may misread what we are seeing, and making all the wrong assumptions.  Human error is a factor: we see what we think we see and often miss the rest.

The sport of Mixed Martial Arts is certainly full of strategies, and each theory comes at a price.  An elaborate strategy might be just the right medicine, or a jumbled mess that cannot be implemented in the game that is played.  Some more caveman like strategies are described with brutal simplicity; a fighter hoping to keep it standing or to take the fight to the ground.  I always thought it would be fun to only attempt takedowns, and act afraid and unsure of incoming strikes.  Later in the fight as the pace starts to slow, you would start using more dynamic footwork and setting up calculated striking combinations.  This is the opposite of the more common strategy of starting with striking, and then adding grappling if your opponent gets the better of you in the exchanges.  In this situation, your behavior is predictable.  One of the most effective strategies I've come across has been successfully implemented during my worst performances.  You delivered less, you showed all the wrong things, and finished with what you sold as a pawn.

A bad presentation sells what you don't have.  A good presentation delivers solid feedback.  In the same way you read an opponent, you give them something inaccurate to read; a rather thick book.  Now they have to sort through what is fiction and what is the future.  An exaggerated movement, a lack of follow through, overtly showcasing a lack of experience.  Faking weakness in your strongest areas.  This is the epitome of playing offensive possum.  The longer the act, the better the sell, however the ability to implement this game depends on the mental flexibility of the player.  I've successfully used it to win two recent competitions and almost five total divisions with zero contest preparation through a time of challenging life experiences.  This wouldn't be called success, but rather fool's mate.  It is however an example of how even at your lowest point, the correct strategy purposefully implemented can be used to get you through to the next stage.  How will you game when you play the most dangerous game?