Because air combat involves dynamic movement in three dimensions, one could conculde that it is an infinitely variable maneuvre/counter-maneuvre process. But such in not the case. A fighter pilot has only a limited number of options with which to meet a given situation. Which one he uses will be dictated more by the relative positions and energy states of himself and his opponent than by any potential technical advantages that his aircraft may possess. He will strive to deny his adversary the initiative, knowing that air combats are lost more often than they are won.
The pilot who holds the initiative can push his opponent around the sky, keeping him under constant pressure. The longer the pressure continues, the greater the stress on the defending pilot becomes as his life is threatened. Stress breeds mistakes and the first error may well prove fatal. Even if the defending piulot makes no errors he is likely to be forced into a series of energy-dissipating maneuvres that deplete his very maneuvre capability and render him ever less capable of defending himself.
Tha maneuvre phase proper generally begins when a pilot realises that he is about to come, or already is, under attack. His first priority is survival; turning the tables is secondary at this stage. The opening moves are thus defensive with with the attacker conforming predictably to the defender's movements. Each maneuvre has its counter. However, it is the precision and timing of a maneuvre which is important; the ability to out-fly an opponent. The most technically advanced fighter in the world is only as good as its pilot.
If, however, the defending aircraft can achieve an eraly sighting the pilot should be able to maneuvre using normal turns to prevent the attacker from positioning in the lethal orvalunerability cones. Having negated the attack, the defender should eighrt disengage (for instance, on an attack sortie the promary aim must be to complete the bombing mission) or alternatively continue maneuvring into an attacking position.
The aspiring fighter pilot is taught basic air combat maneuvers, some defensive, others offensive. They are: the Break, the Scissors, the High-G Barrel Roll, Jinking, the Spiral Dive, the Vertical Rolling Scissors, the split S, the High Speed Yoyo, the Vector Roll or Rollaway, the Lag Pursuit, the Low Speed Yoyo, the Barrel Roll Attack, the Vertical Reverse, the Immelmann and various versions of and conuters to these.