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5 Ranges of Self-Defense

Updated: Feb 26, 2021

The Five Ranges of an Assault

Empty hand self-defense is primarily thought of as using hands and/or feet to protect you. A complete system should incorporate a standard in which I believe five ranges must be studied. I think this concept is mostly over-looked and must be a corner stone of any self-defense system. Self-Defense students need to become effective in not only using these ranges but also recognizing what range they are in during an altercation.

A well-balanced system should make the defender able to move in and out of multiple ranges in a fluid manner. I believe the ability to understand the application of these combative concepts should be a critical part of any training method.

Here are my five areas of focus in order of greatest distance; everything being equal, distance equals safety.

1. Verbal – This will often, but not always, be the first exchange between a potential victim and an aggressor. While this can be combined with any of the other four, an attack may begin with the interview process*. Good verbal skills can be an invaluable tool for protection. Command presence with confidence should be studied. The art of dealing with an aggressor in a calm and non-threatening manner while demonstrating the body language that displays you are confidently ready to defend if needed is priceless!

2. Long/Kicking – Not only should you learn the mechanics of kicking, but the science of when and when not to kick as wells as recognizing when you could be kicked!

3. Intermediate/Striking – The same concepts used in the kicking range should also be practiced with the intermediate range along with the additional concepts of how to be more effective. Fluidity with no wasted movement* and indexing*. Indexing is simply relying on the sense of touch to aid in targeting.

4. Close/Trapping – Weapons such as Elbows, Knees, Head, and Shoulders are extremely effective which is great however the defender must be extremely close to an aggressor in order to deploy such a weapon. Remember distance equals safety.

5. Grappling/Ground – Altercations frequently end up on the ground and the defend and escape* concept must be taught to round out your self defense toolbox. You should be familiar with basic controls and submissions thus making it difficult if not next to impossible to become surprised by experienced ground fighters.

We will go into greater details of all the five ranges in future posts. We will also upload video examples of these in the coming weeks

Take care and be safe and remember…

Knowledge increases confidence, and together, they increase decisiveness!”

* We will be covering all ranges in greater detail in upcoming posts

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