Leading the attack or counter fighting is a question most martial artists will have asked themselves many times during their training.
There are seemingly obvious arguments to each method.
Counter-attacking is a more defensive style of fighting, so you'd imagine the risks of being hit would be lower. It also requires waiting for your opponent to make the first move, therefore you could judge the situation whilst deciding what action to take.
Alternatively, attacking first could put you on the front foot, gaining you an advantage in the bout. By leading the attack, you can potentially control the fight, keep your back to centre of the ring and dominate your opponent.
The most important thing to avoid, is being in a situation where you are trying to counter attack, but you should be initiating the attack.
Counter fighting is a very advanced skill. In order to execute it correctly, you need to consider three extremely important things.
What technique is your opponent going to lead with?
How are you going to avoid their attack?
What counter shot are you going to use?
If you know all three of the above, counter attacking will be super effective. However, if you do not know all three with confidence - you should be leading the attack!