Long, Medium, & Close Range

I define long range as the distance at which I can hit the opponent’s lead arm or leg. I can also thrust to the head at this distance. One advantage of this range is that the opponent usually can’t use his non-weapon hand.

One disadvantage of this range is that the opponent can bait with a lead weapon hand, drawing me to swing and miss, then close.

Even though my goal is not to hurt the opponent’s hand or knee, but to crush it (keep in mind I am swinging a bat with both hands), such a strike may not be enough to end the fight.

Middle range is where I can hit the opponent in the head with full force. This is my preferred range, and the preferred range of GM Estalilla. This is the range where I can hit with my greatest force, with the aim of obliterating the opponent.

Close range is where the opponent moves within my optimum striking distance. He can typically hit me with both hands at this range. While I have worked to be as efficient as possible with the long stick at close range, close range is the danger zone for me. These are the problems of close range as I see them:

  1. My worst nightmare is someone at close range with a knife. I may not know someone has a knife until I am already cut or stabbed. As long as the knife-wielding opponent is at long or medium range, I have the advantage.
  2. It’s too easy to get hit. The further the opponent is, the greater time you have to detect his attack. At a certain point, he moves within your “reaction range,” where he is closer than the shortest distance that you can detect a strike and react. That means that any strike he launches will land.
  3. At a distance, the opponent can only launch one weapon at a time, but in close he can hit with both hands, kick with both feet, hit with the elbows, the knees, head butt, and even bite! This means that defending against all of these strikes becomes very complex. I believe that a simpler (though sophisticated) system is easier to learn and apply in real life combat.
  4. The more complex the system the longer the learning curve. Long range techniques are relatively simple and straightforward. Short range styles tend to become very complex. The result is more time learning, more time practicing all of the possible contingencies, and more that can break down under stress.
  5. An opponent at close range can easily close to grappling range.

I define grappling range as anytime an opponent has grabbed either me or my stick, so “range” in this sense isn’t so much about distance as it is about the opponent tying me up and putting me in a grappling situation. A grappling opponent with a knife is just as deadly, and even worse than close range, grappling range limits my mobility, which can be disastrous if the are multiple opponents.

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One Response to “Long, Medium, & Close Range”

  1. I do not like the idea in FMA that long range is a “style”. A style should cover all ranges: Stuck in a car waiting for a light when some guy shoves a gun in through the window? Stuck in a phone booth when making a phone call? Walking on a beach when you see three bad looking dudes coming from 100′ away with pipes?

    It is the situation that dictates the range and not a person’s prefered range. A Taekwondo guy may love to fight long range but it’s not going to happen if he gets attacked while seated in a movie theatre.

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