I have tried looking in every dictionary I could think of, but off-balanced simply means "losing ones balance." This is not an English Language Question, because the english definitions I have found are not what I am looking for. When my teacher says to "keep your opponent off balance and distracted" what is he talking about? Note that this is specifically martial arts, as I know the traditional meaning.
It's actually a common phrase in English. Keeping someone "off balance" means to "confuse" or "surprise" someone.
So this means never letting your opponent know what you're planning to do. You have to keep them guessing. Hide your true intentions. Otherwise they will be ready for it, and you will not be successful.
Distraction is part of it. If you can distract your opponent, they will be focused on whatever you are doing to distract them, and they won't see what you're getting ready to do. By the time they figure out what you're doing, it's too late for them.
Successful martial artists do employ a lot of distraction and decoying in their strategy.
Hope that helps.
I will describe a technique which I am not skilled at but was demonstrated ON me in front of a large class. The technique was introduced in the context of a police arrest.
- Throw a couple of punches to daze the opponent for a moment
- Use the opportunity to get behind them and apply a choke
- This is the important part. While choking them, walk backwards. When this was happening to me I couldn't even reach my pocket knife despite my hands being free.
- If you sense you are losing control, throw them on the ground and stomp them.