Know the Distance
Self-Defence Martial Arts
Know the Distance
Distance changes the way you work.
In most self-defence martial artists, you study self-defence from a set distance – about an arm’s length away. Techniques and drills usually stay within this agreed upon space. The reality is aggression comes from many distances, both far and near.
Someone is 30 feet away walking towards me. I feel uncomfortable and start to sense the aggression. Do I need to see the fist? Or has my training allowed me to develop tactics from 30 feet away?
I greet someone with a handshake and feel my fingers squeezed past the point of firm, bordering on pain. Do I now need to push away and set myself before I can respond? What do I do if my fingers are broken? Or has my training allowed me to develop tactics for fighting with injuries?
Both these examples are not that uncommon. What is uncommon is the amount of time spent on these two polar extremes. While you’re training to make sure to spend time-varying your distance. Here are some things to consider:
Far distance (Not close enough to touch):
• Observation skills – The walk, run, look, breathing and tension
• Reading the situation – Intuition, fear in yourself and aggressor
• Scream and shouting Skills
• Throwing skills – Chair, bottle, knife…anything
Close distance (Close enough to touch):
• The use of movement to defend against any aggression
• The use of breathing to reduce or increase tension
• The ability to use the entire body as a weapon
• The ability to take various strikes onto the body
• Dissipate or isolate tension from the body
• Understanding the dynamic rolls from various angles and levels
The Result from Physical Contact:
• Use of movement to lessen impacts
• Concentration and focus on the end results; not the moment
• Protection and working with injuries
There are thousands of ways to train for distances, so I will stay away from giving specifics – just remember once the distance changes, so does your work.
Be creative and the benefits are remarkable.