In modern badminton there is no clear-cut definition of whether an underhand stroke like a serve or an overhead one like a smash can be regarded as defensive or offensive. I subscribe to what cheongsa said in his post of Jul 1, 2006 when he emphasized "Intention is the Key!". I reproduce below his thoughts on the matter and welcome your views: "An offensive shot is one played with the intention of getting the opponent into trouble in the rally, and a defensive shot is one played with the intention of getting oneself out of trouble in the rally. If one is ready to accept this definition, then the corollaries are: 1. the possibility of playing a neutral shot, when the player is not in trouble, and there is no conscious intention of getting the opponent into trouble. 2. an offensive shot does not have to be the one that ends the rally. 3. a defensive shot can be the one ending a rally. 4. an underhand flick serve can be an offensive shot, if the intention is to catch the opponent off guard, and subsequently, out of position. 5. a smash can be a defensive shot if the player is in deep trouble, the opponent is in strong command of the rally, and a smash is one of the very limited number of options available, and at considerable risk to execute, that would get the player out of trouble. 6. a smash return can be offensive if executed with the intention of getting the smashing opponent into trouble. This is possible when the player is confident with his/her smash defence, and the opponent's smash is weak. 7. drop shots, both fast and slow, can be offensive or defensive shots. For example, in WC 2003, Camilla Martin used slow drops with an offensive intent to pull Zhang Ning further away from the latter's base position. Another example, in OG 2000, Jin Xinpeng, when caught in the forehand baseline corner by Peter Gade Christensen, chose to execute a cross-court drop shot to dig himself out. 8. lifts from the net can also be offensive shots. For example, in AE 2006, Xie Xinfang, seeing that Zhang Ning was slow to return to her base position after a straight drop shot from her forehand baseline corner, opted for a fast lift to Zhang Ning's backhand baseline corner, to elicit a weak reply. 9. clears can also be offensive or defensive shots. Generally, an offensive clear is flatter and faster, so that the opponent will be late (with respect to the shot, not with respect to the pace of the game) to the shot, while a defensive clear is played very high, so that the player has time to return to base. Intention should be the entity defining the nature of the shot, and not the quality of the shot itself. The opponent's capability should not matter."