The Best Defense Is a Good Offense, But How?

The Best Defense Is a Good Offense

You must have come across the popular saying, “the best defense is a good offense,” multiple times in your life. It makes sense and is applicable in almost every aspect of life. However, not many people realize how to execute this principle.

Today, let’s nail down this principle and discuss how you can apply the “attack is the best defense” mindset in real life. We’ll take specific examples from the military, sports, business, and even life to make things plausible for you.

Let’s get started.

The Best Defense Is a Good Offense in Military

Let’s begin with an example. If you’re fond of history, you must have heard of the Battle of Agincourt that took place on October 25, 1415 AD. Fewer than 9,000 English soldiers were up against over 20,000 French forces, including 10,000 heavily-armored knights and armed men. If you do the math, it was around three French soldiers for one English soldier.

The English army had three options:

  • They could retreat and accept their defeat.
  • They could defend themselves from the attacks of the French soldiers.
  • They could attack.

The English army took an aggressive tactical approach. They took a position at the end of a recently plowed land. They used pointed wooden flanks to disrupt the French army’s movement and covered them with dense woodlands. Furthermore, the terrain was muddy, and the French armored army had to put extra effort into passing it.

The Best Defense Is a Good Offense
The Best Defense Is a Good Offense

By the time the French army made it to the English lines, they were already tired and frazzled. The Englishmen used this opportunity to crush the French army in hand-to-hand combat using hammers and mallets. The result? The English army managed to kill 7,000-10,000 French soldiers and lost only around 400.

Moral of the story: Even if the opponent’s force seems stronger, you can be victorious by adopting aggressive tactics and strategic planning.

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Please note that in the military, blindly attacking can have adverse consequences. “The best defense is a good offense” means you should analyze the opponent’s situation well, and instead of retreating, look for ways to attack.

Offense is the Best Defense in Sports

The concept of “attack is the best form of defense” fits perfectly well in sports. This time, let’s take the example of soccer. Suppose there’s a high-profile game (a knockout game or final), and both the teams need to win at any cost. The score was level at 1-0 by half time.

When the second half begins, the winning team will be on the top. They’ll be in a positive state of mind. On the other hand, the losing team will be under pressure and in a naturally defensive state of mind. They’ll want to avoid the opposite team from scoring another goal at all costs. The winning team will want to leverage this opportunity to pressurize the losing team even further.

Here, the winning team has two options:

  • Keep up the pressure and play attacking.
  • Play defensive, as they’re already up, and all they need to do is stop the other team from scoring.

The losing team also has two options:

  • Play defensive and wait for the other team to make a mistake and then capitalize on it.
  • Counterattack and put the pressure back on the other team.

As you can see, both teams have the option to attack and defend. The team that attacks first will end up dominating.

The Best Defense Is a Good Offense
The Best Defense Is a Good Offense

A good example is the South Korea vs. Italy match in the 2002 FIFA World Cup. Italy was the defending champions and the favorites of the tournament. On the other hand, South Korea was hosting the tournament. Italy dominated the first half of the game and was up 1-0 against South Korea. The hosts continued to fight and scored back-to-back goals in the last two minutes of the game-clinching the victory.

Offense is the Best Defense in Business

When it comes to business, an attacking mindset is all about taking risks. Doing business in itself is risky. You’re competing with so many companies, all wanting to take you down. In such cases, business owners and executives take a defensive approach and stay in their comfort zone.

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One of the best examples of a business taking a risky decision is Twitter rejecting Facebook’s offer. Twitter was on the rise in 2008 when Facebook was at its peak. Mark Zuckerberg saw Twitter as direct competition and offered $500 million to buy it. It was a lot of money 13 years ago, but Twitter turned down the offer.

The decision was risky, but it paid off in the end. Twitter’s market value now stands somewhere around $9 billion – 20 times what Facebook initially offered.

The moral of the story is you should take calculated risks in business. Being defensive and staying in your comfort zone may seem like an intelligent survival choice, but you need to take risks if you want to grow exponentially.

Offense is the Best Defense in Life

Finally, the “best defense is a good offense” concept applies to life as well. So many people see big dreams, but they don’t pursue them because of the fear of failure. This defensive approach can make you miserable and restrict your growth.

Look at all the billionaires in the world. They succeeded because they stepped out of their comfort zones and took an unconventional path.

Suppose you want to become an entrepreneur, but your parents want you to become a doctor (because it’s a safe career option). Instead of choosing the defensive option and taking a safer route, you should aggressively work towards your dreams.


The attack is the best defense is a popular quote that applies at any point in life. Whether it is military, sports, business, career, or even relationships, choosing attack over defense can be helpful.

However, it doesn’t mean you should attack all the time. Sometimes, taking a step back and taking a defensive approach can be a better solution. It’s essential to understand the situation and act accordingly.

So, how would you apply the concept of “attack is the best defense” in your life?