catch (someone) off balance

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catch (someone) off balance

To startle someone; to come upon someone unawares and/or when he or she is unprepared. Often used in the past tense. The security guard caught the thieves off balance. That essay question on the exam caught me completely off balance. Your opponent is going to try to catch you off balance during the debate, so just be sure to stick to your position.
See also: balance, catch, off