Quote Originally Posted by Kuroimaken View Post
While I don't disagree with the notion that experience and skill can only get you so far, my theory regarding Ichigo is more along the lines of "he's the series' main character and has so much deus ex machina going for him that it's not funny". See the Ulquiorra fight for what I mean.
That might be the narrative, meta-textual reason, but remember: we're also writing a similar story, and putting characters in similar positions. We have characters who're barely adults, characters who've lived for centuries, and characters who might've as well existed forever as far as either of the former categories is interested. Yet we'll place (and have placed) characters from all of these categories at odds with each other. Because of this, it pays to think why and how these things could happen for in-story reasons as well.

Quote Originally Posted by Kuroimaken View Post
There are WAY more than three factors that decide a battle.
The point is that they boil down to that trinity. Ability to analyze your opponent, using the battlefield to your advantage, technique, "not screwing up" are all facets of skill. Fitness is how hard and fast you can do those things, and willpower is how willing you are to do any of them.

Those three things pretty much cover anything the combatants themselves can bring to the table. All the other little things are so fuzzy they're best summed up under the concept of "luck", and I've also heard it said that outcome of any battle between equal participants is 80% of that.