In this article, we’re going to take a look at the three main ranges of physical altercation; their main dangers, a couple of methods of defense against those dangers, and one or two ways in which you can attack from them. This article will explain and detail the three ranges of fighting.
Three Ranges of Fighting: Long Distance
Long-distance refers to a distance in which we are out of range of our opponent’s arms, and our opponent is outside of ours. From a self-defense perspective makes sense to try to escape if we’re lucky enough to identify a dangerous situation from a long distance, we’re here assuming there is no such possibility. We may, for example, be physically unfit to escape, or have a wall or an object or a crowd behind us, or want to try to de-escalate the situation, for personal reasons or in a professional capacity.
Dangers: At a long distance, especially against a bigger opponent, we are vulnerable mainly to tackles, both to the body and to the legs, and kicks above the hips, both straight and from the sides.
Defenses: The benefit of being at a long-range is that you have more time to react to any attack that comes your way. You have time to do things, even relatively slow things. Still, my recommendation is that if a kick comes, you elbow it. Whatever kick it is, elbow it.
Tackles are more difficult. If someone dives for your legs from a long distance, without training, I’d say move. Sideways and backward.
If someone goes for your body, with their head exposed, elbow it. If the head isn’t exposed, however… then you’ve got a real problem. A 200-pound brawler who is a head taller than you, charging at you full speed, with a straight posture, is a real problem. Without training your best bet is to move sideways and if you can, take some of that momentum and spin them to the ground and make your escape.
Own means of attack: Without training, against a bigger opponent, run. This is a distance to either escape from. get out and fight another day.
Three Ranges of Fighting: Middle Distance
The middle distance is when I am in range of my opponent’s arms. This is the main knockout-distance, and perhaps the most difficult distance, from a perspective of defense, because where at a long distance we could use our eyes, and at a close distance we can use feeling, at a mid-range neither of those work very well, leaving us more at the mercy of our reflexes.
Dangers: Strikes, mainly, but also mid-range tackles, kicks, including low kicks, and grabs.
Defenses: For mid-range perhaps more than any other range, offense is truly the best defense. Here is the place to gain the initiative, and to keep it. However, even better is to simply move away of the distance, either to a long range or a close range. This is not a place you want to be.
If you do need to stay in this range, the hands are both your first line of offense and your first line of defense, but what the hands mainly do is protect you from straight shots to your face. In reality, most things will probably be too quick to parry with your hands at this range, so what you trust in is your guard to protect you from frontal attacks to your face.
Own means of attack: If you find yourself in need of being at this range for some reason, or your opponent is simply not letting you close, your main guns are your hands and your main target your opponent’s face. It’s not more revolutionary than that. What I would suggest, however, is to use straight punches, keep them tight, and keep moving forward.
Without training, hooks are slow and easy to spot, overhands even more so. Keep shooting straight punches, and you’ll land them, and keep moving forward both to more easily get your weight behind them and in order to have a chance to get into a close range.
Three Ranges of Fighting: Close Distance
“Close distance” or “close range” means a distance in which you and your opponent are in a continuous state of physical connection. A range where you can’t use your eyes well for defense, but where you can easily keep your hands on your opponent, and reach with your elbows, knees and other short-range weapons.
The close range is where it’s at. The defense is easy, the offense is easy, and opponents who know what to do at this range are rare.
Dangers: Grappling. At a close range, against an opponent your size, it’s a striking competition and the person with the most elbows wins. Practice your elbows. Against a bigger opponent, in a striking-competition, you’re in danger, but your elbows will serve you well.
A bigger opponent who grapples you, however, is a different ballgame. Anyone can strike with some level of effectivity, but grappling against a stronger opponent, without training, is doomed to fail. What you need to do if an opponent grabs you, is to get back into striking.
A second danger, a subcategory to grappling, is clinching. You don’t want to clinch with someone stronger if you’re not trained to do it, but if you do end up there, take one hand over your opponent’s arms and place it on his opposite shoulder, take your other hand likewise over your opponent’s arms, but place it at the pit of his throat, now push away.
At this point, your opponent can answer either with letting go and striking, in which case you’re back in the game, or with trying to hold on, in which case you’ve now got an opening to attack the person’s face, before the person pulls you back and you’re stuck for real. Make it count.