Thursday, October 21, 2010

Distance in relation to Proper Guard,Stance & Technique

Most self-defense confrontations usually happen rather quickly and in your face.Many times there is no time to assume a "stance" or bring the hands up into a "guard" position.If there is a verbal exchange before the actual physical conflict,a "fighting stance" is not usually the appropriate response and can indeed escalate a situation when you should be trying to peacefully resolve it by using de-escalation/verbal judo to avoid conflict.In the non-threatening ready position,you want to have the hands up in a natural position that doesn't appear aggressive,but allows you to react & defend. Having the hands up and open using then in conjunction with your dialogue is common and won't be seen as being aggressive,but puts you hands in a ready position between you and the possible assailant.If a situation escalates,then the hands go into a open-hand,hands up,palms out,elbow in back-off position while you still continue to persuade the other party to avoid confrontation.

Depending on the circumstances(like you & your Family are being confronted by multiple assailants,you might even use a pre-emptive strike if you are positive an attack is eminent or on the immediate cusp of occurring(such as adversary reaches into pocket as to draw a weapon or a certain shift in body position preparing to attack)to exit the scenario.Many times you can intercept an attack with a stop-hit,jam or evasion and counter to resolve/finish/stun & run at the onset.Jams are usually(not always)directed to the lever or root of the attacking movement/technique and not actual weapon.Against a punch,you would likely use a shoulder stop or jam at the bicep etc.,but if He's in a guard/ready position,you might jam the wrist or forearm.Against elbow and knee attacks,the jamming defense usually has to be a little more direct since movement is shorter and fewer options in what you jam.Still,if you catch it early,you should be able to jam it at the forearm(elbows)or thigh(knees).Knees and Elbows are normally very short range techniques(although an opponent can lunge in with a flying knee or elbow or simply close the gap,so always be aware of that possibility although punches and kicks are most likely attacks at the longer ranges),so it doesn't take much to get out of range.In close,you don't want to stay in a position and leave your opponent in position to deliver them,so get out or get to a better position.

During an active engagement,distance usually dictates body posture,stance and guard.Far away like Karate guys spar,the hands can be more relaxed and lower and the stance longer.I don't like the position most of them take and recommend a more natural position with the hands loose & relaxed,but relatively high and a shorter more mobile stance,but at a far distance,it isn't usually of critical importance.You can cover distance by lunging type movements or shorter shifting steps and everything in between and all have a proper time and place.You just have to know what is the proper time & place for each.
The closer you are to your opponent,the higher & tighter your guard and stance need to be since you have less distance and reaction time.A parry with the hand to a body shot is might be ok from farther out,but inside,the Forearms & Elbows are what you use to protect the body with short movements and/or body movement(rotation,swaying,hollowing out etc.).Keep Your chin tucked(will protect against Knock-outs and chokes and should pretty much always be down except when You can't such as are fading or leaning back defensive,set-up etc.,but many times even then it can be tucked unless You need to get the face itself or top of head further back)and head down buried into shoulders utilizing more or less a peek-a-boo or otherwise "tight" guard.

Distance also dictates what techniques are effective.Straight punches are good for longer ranges whereas hooks and uppercuts are king in close although you can use either depending on the circumstances.A controlled style Karate roundkick is less powerful than a ballistic thai style kick,but is easier to recover from and balanced,so it is usually the better choice at a far distance or to use to set-up a takedown etc.Ballistic techniques are very powerful,but if missed can put you out of position and/or off-balance,but in close quarters they are not likely to completely miss.

"Exchanging" punches or standing toe to toe/"in the pocket" is normally not a good idea in most circumstances.You either keep distance(out of range or can easily move out of range)should they attack when closing the distance(or he has closed it)finish(he's on defense,hurt and you can dispatch him etc.),control,takedown or get out to reset or escape.You don't usually want to even enter or stay in the "Hot Zone"(primarily punching distance/toe-to-toe)unless it is at the right time(there's an opening,opponent is distracted,off-balance,out-of-position etc.) & not unless you have set up your opponent(create an opening,feints,use angles & timing etc.)or enter in such a way that He doesn't have the angle/position/balance to counter or defend or the opponent is not under control on the defensive(covered up backpedaling,your always ready to defend counter though and it's ok if you have to defend/parry a couple of time,but He's not on equal capability and rather primarily defensive)and he is able to hit back.You want to simply pass through it(to a takedown)or enter to hit(set him up before you enter so he is not in a position/angle to counter)and keep hitting to finish,but don't stay there if things aren't going your way(he's on the defensive,covered up etc.)
Much of the same principles that apply to unarmed defense also apply to armed defense.In a very tight & close quartered fight,a knife might actually be better than a gun.You have to have the distance and proper angles to draw the weapon.The way you hold/extend the gun depends on how far away the opponent is from You.Specific methods for firearms are covered elsewhere on this Blog.