Muhammad Ali used a famous technique called the "rope-a-dope" to defeat opponents much bigger and stronger than he was. He would absorb the opponent's flurry of fierce punches and put his back against the ropes, encouraging the opponent to waste his energy and make mistakes when moving in for the kill. Ali would then slip in a few precise, deadly punches and send the opponent sprawling.
I recently played a game against Shredder that reminded me of this. By most objective standards I was losing -- Shredder had the initiative and a strong command of the board, attacking my king relentlessly. But just when the game seemed over, I found a subtle technique that Shredder had overlooked, and in a few short moves Shredder resigned. The technique involves how to create passed pawns and should be helpful for beginners.