It comes from one of my earliest sessions training with Tristan Sutrisno back in 1980.
He was working on a range of defenses against a strike.
Among those we did, were just stepping back from the strike. Moving slightly beyond the focus of the attack, then launching the counter-attack.
Next when the attack came, we just weaved back from the focus of the attack, just bobbing back away from the attack, not stepping away
Then launched a quicker counter-attack.
In hindsight this was recognizing that the attack was focused on where you were, and then a slight difference placed yourself away from the attack.
It is based on the knowledge that people often attack knowing where you are. And because they know where you are, attack on automatic. So if you remove yourself from there, even slightly, their attack becomes an opening to exploit.
This is the basic principle behind the idea of Ghost Techniques.
Recent reading of comments about the use of karate by Kyan Chotoku and Motobu Choki I note a common related theme. You must understand the opponent’s attack and exploit what is presented to you.
Mutsu Mizuho in Karate Kenpo, published in 1933, clearly shows a sequence of evasive techniques showing the same principle in action.
Within my own Isshinryu studies with Sherman Harrill, the same concept was exploited.
Against a punch, step back with one foot, just away from their focus. More importantly as they just miss you, you can counter strike without taking a step, as they are in your range of focus.
There is nothing new under the sun, just continued awareness gained by seeking what works.
So just stepping back is an alternative.