Monday, 6 July 2009

Closing the Distance when Fighting

When watching boring fights, one of the main reasons why they are boring is because two fighters are constantly at a distance away from each other not allowing for blows to be traded, countered etc. The main reason for this is because a fighter may find it hard to close the distance on their opponent.

Closing the distance is an art form in itself. It requires cunningness, patience and speed. Many times fighters rush in on there opponents with punches and kicks, frustrated with the fact there can not reach them and end up getting countered easily or shoot down towards there legs in an attempt to take them to the floor resulting in them being sprawled on.

Below is a short list of some tried and tested methods for closing the distance on your opponent with the intent of being in range to land successful blows, take the fight to the clinch or maybe go for a takedown.

Sweep – By performing a sweep on one of your opponents feet (preferably the forward foot) it draws his/her attention below to the foot allowing you to move in. The sweep does not have to take the opponent down. A slight touch would do.

Jab forward – By jabbing as you move forward you disguise the fact that you are moving forward by giving your opponent something to defend. Be careful that you keep covered up when jabbing and watch for any counters.

A kick with the front leg – Scoot forward with your back foot as you raise you front leg in order to kick. After the kick you shall land forward closing the gap slightly. Because your aim is minimise distance between you and your opponent the kick does not have to be powerful. A roundhouse to the thigh is good to use for this. This is similar to the sweep method above.

Feint – Feints are definitely not used as much as they should be. A good feint will provide you with a split second to quickly move in on your opponent as there mind will be concentrating on the dummy technique. The feint should be effective so make it look like a real technique but don’t actually intend on hitting or maybe even reaching the target.

Let your opponent come to you – draw your opponent in towards you, making him/her do all the work of closing the distance. Ways to do this include, moving backwards so they move forwards, intentionally leave an area of your body open so they can attack that area and when they do, be ready to counter, or, perform a technique in a sloppy manner knowing very well they will counter it and be ready to take the advantage when they counter.

Use the ring/cage – By using your surroundings you may be able to trap your opponent into a corner or against the fence/ropes. The key to this is to learn to be able to make your opponent stop revolving around you. Close them down so they can only move in the direction you want them to move rather than letting them keep circling you and when they are trapped and cannot move back, capitalize on your chance.

There are many ways to close the distance and the best way to practise it is during sparring. Let your sparring partner know what you intend to practise so they are aware and to take it easy on the counters giving you the opportunity to master this very much needed ability.


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Elias said...

Whenever I use the feint I end up eating a knuckle sandwich, probably because most people I train with are more experienced/bigger than me, or both.

What I've been experimenting with recently is advancing, but not in a straight line. Moving so I'm in striking range with my hands, but not directly in front of my opponent. It seems to be a little more successful, but could be because people don't yet expect it of me.

Thanks for the tips =D

MARKS said...

ELIAS - The feint is much harder than people think to pull off. Keep practising it and you will get it. I may write an article about it so stayed tuned.

Attacking off the centre line is a very important lesson that all martial artists should learn. People practise defending and countering against someone in front of them without giving much attention to attacks which are not. Learn it and use it as it is effective.

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