Attentive is the A-word used in this list of martial arts principles by a tai chi master.
Attentive: characterized by or giving attention; observant
Being attentive indicates that your attention never takes a break and you’re constantly aware of the dangers of your situation. “Alert” and “Awareness” are words that would also fit in the ABC’s. They are distant synonyms of Attentive, but understand that you want to be on alert for anything that your opponent may throw at you. Knowing what what position you’re in and what offense your opponent is capable of throwing at you, is being aware. You have to be prepared for anything, not just what you think your opponent is likely to do next.
Not only do you need to be attentive and aware of your opponent’s offense, but you need to be attentive to your own position and offensive possibilities. Missed opportunities are symptoms of a lack of attention. If you’re inattentive to your hands dropping when standing in front of your opponent, you’ll eventually lose when you fight someone who pays more attention to your dropping hands than you do.
The best martial artists are ever attentive to their opportunities and dangers in any position. That means being aware of the positives and negatives of any situation. You have to be aware of you and your opponent’s positions, offensive and defensive capabilities. Knowing this will allow you to decide when it’s time to strike, defend, and move.
Try to be more attentive to the positives and negatives in your daily life. Practicing awareness and attention will improve your life as well as your martial arts skill.