I was once told that there are three understandings that must be had for any martial victory. One must understand the self, for truly- without knowing your own abilities, you can not interact in a way that is meaningful and accurate to the situation. You will simply be blundering about, unable to find your way, like a blind man without a cane.
This is not to say blind men without canes can not function. It is simply more difficult to do so.
Secondly, there is the understanding of the opponent, and what they can and will do. If you are able to find that understanding, you will be able to take advantage of that opponents strengths and weaknesses. This isn't easy, but knowing that an opponent has a self proclaimed sense of honor alone can change things. A simple observation can tell you that they won't be striking for your eyes or groin. Two less things to block. You're ahead of the game! Go you! On the flip side however, you might be aware that your opponent is two hundred and fifty pounds, and for the sake of it, we'll go with me as an example, at a whopping one fifty five. Engaging said skilled opponent who specializes in hung gar in a head on grudge match of grappling and strength is probably not your best option. It will probably look something like this:
At this point, you're probably behind in the game. Oh well, moving on, we'll begin to consider the third aspect of the conflict. This is the environment that you're playing in. If there is a large rock behind your opponents feet- they may trip over the unforeseen object with a small push from yourself. If you are on a slippery surface... It might be best if you don't throw high kicks. You can utilize all of these things and more in any sort of combat situation. The trick here is to be an observer. Observe yourself, observe your opponent, and observe what is going on around you. Being stuck in your own head, or feeling trapped, fear, or various other states of mind will prevent these critical things from happening. An opponent will try to put you in these places, and it might be extremely effective. The same can be said about non combative conflict. In any sort of altercation, either mental or physical, we must be aware of what we want, and what our opponent wants, as well as any outside factors.
In short, this is a call to arms. For martial artists or anyone else for that matter. Observe your opponent, so that you can understand them, not destroy them. Observe yourself, so that you can understand your opponent. And observe the environment, because there may be rocks.
Peace and love.