Does Belief Matter in a Fight?

I usually say, no, belief doesn't matter.  Skill and fate are what matters.  But actually before the first punch is thrown belief can matter a lot.  Even after a few punches have been thrown, your opponent or attacker may believe something about you which gives you an advantage.  They may be carrying around a fantasy.

If a potencial attacker believes you are strong, they have an incentive to use a surprise attack.

While if a potencial attacker believes you are weak, they have an incentive to use intimidation.

I would much prefer to have a potential attacker try to use intimidation than to be attacked by surprise.  Someone who is trying to intimidate me may have second thoughts when they get up close enough to see my 1000 yard stare, or notice that my hands and feet are still moving as if caught in a gentle wind.

Just a thought.  How we look and act can affect what people believe about us.  Spending time preparing for a monster which may or may not be coming to get you someday is a rather poor way to live.  So I'm not recommending anyone give it much thought at all.  But it is a good retort to the big-muscles-good, small-muscles-bad body image mind game.