Maintaining distance in combat

Closing the distance is what secures a technique in a fight. Whether it’s using a boxing technique like countering a punch, stepping into range to defend with a krav maga technique or following an opponents back step to deliver a kick. Controlling your opponent’s distance and having that literal one step ahead of your opponent to deliver the move, will win you the fight.

Closing the distance:

Closing the distance is what secures a technique in a fight. Whether it’s using a boxing technique like countering a punch, stepping into range to defend with a krav maga technique or following an opponents back step to deliver a kick. Controlling your opponent’s distance and having that literal one step ahead of your opponent to deliver the move, will win you the fight. This is how you change the tide of battle.

Why is closing the distance to important?

Closing the distance on your opponent allows you to break your opponent’s structure, collapsing any type of defence his arms or legs may provide them. With you stepping into this range trapping his arms momentarily, his body has no leverage to push against you as his joints and muscles are to enclosed to his body. This use of breaking structure and keeping your opponents temporarily pinned to his body is called “trapping” and is one of the main strategies used in wing tsun, to keep your opponent pinned down when closing the distance to strike your opponent.

Mantaining distance

This is why maintaining distance is so important in any style you do. Keeping you opponent at a safe enough distance in which he cannot easily close the distance between you quickly to deal considerable damage, allows you time to pick out your opponent’s gaps in his defences - This gives you time control of the flow of the battle.

However this style of combat is a luxury. Although managing distance is important to keep yourself safe in a fight, you may be limited by your surrounds. Maybe you were attacked in a corridor, or happy hour in a busy pub. Awareness must not be also be limited to your opponent, but what other structures, objects or even people that may get in your path. Maybe his friends come to help him and you get hit from your left side. You can’t see that happening if you’re wildly swinging punches or grappling on the ground. The same goes for doing high spinning kicks; you may hit a column or table if you’re in a crowded pub.

Manage distance, but don’t loiter

Distance gives you time to think, and consider that you can and cannot do. But also bear in mind, this gives him just as much time as you. If your opponent has experience in combat he may use this to his advantage like you will. This means once you have control the distance and you see the gap, do not hesitate to take it. This momentarily lapse of concentration you see may not return, take this lapse as a gap as it will give you the victory you’re looking for. If you abuse the control of distance for too long, not escaping and not attacking, if will betray you and your opponent will close the distance when you lose concentration - possibly having you lose the fight.

Maintain the distance, close the distance, don’t loiter and find the gap in his defence.

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