This article is my view on dealing with a violent attacker. You always want to try to defuse a situation first but you have to be able to recognize when a situation starts to degenerate into violence. This happens very quickly. If you feel like things are going to turn violent then be first. Range is one of the most important concepts to understand in a self-defence situation. Controlling the range is key. If you are to engage physically, then you need to utilise the best techniques for that range. Also you must take into consideration your own strengths and weaknesses. This is where good training is a must. Finding out what techniques suit you takes a bit of time but good solid basics and repetition works. Being fast, accurate and powerful is what you want to achieve. Being able to pull the trigger at the right time is a huge part of the skill set.
Kicking distance usually happens when someone is out of the range of punches. If the assailant comes at you fast and you believe they are going to attack you I would use front kicks for this as it creates space between you and the attacker. You now have the option to run or, if you have no escape, to finish with punches. After you punch or push the attacker, you can also use front kicks as he is traveling backwards. High kicks and spinning kicks, while impressive to watch or indeed attempt, are low percentage moves and have very little use in street confrontations.
Punching distance is where you usually find yourself if you are in an argument. Remember, If you are in punching range, so is your opponent. Never fold your arms or have your hands in your pockets, even if you think things are starting to calm down. I have seen numerous people become blasé and arrogant about a confrontation only to be head butted when they least expected it. Use the fence, have a good stance with one foot in front of the other. Your lead hand should be controlling the distance, sometimes tactile but not holding the person. This will do several things: give you the range to strike, keep your personal space from being invaded, and can calm the opponent down. Also stand slightly off, not square on to the assailant. If I am right handed, I will stand slightly to my right so I have a clear shot of my opponents left jaw line. If you feel like the situation is going to escalate and all your attempts to control and calm the situation have failed, then be first and be ferocious. I cannot stress this enough. Most street attacks last a few seconds; if you are not first the likelihood is you will lose.
Clinch or grappling range is not really where you want to be in an attack situation. It’s hard to get away if someone is grabbing you by your clothes and also people bite. For stand up range, knees and elbows are your best weapon of choice. If it goes to the ground you need to get back up. I have seen the most damage being done when someone is on the ground and is being repeatedly kicked in the head and body. Even if you have grappling skills, being on the ground is not the place to be in a street altercation. If you are on the bottom you need to get up. This is where training comes in. If you have no clue about what to do on the ground, unlike a moment of clarity, it won’t suddenly come to you. By controlling your ranges effectively you will greatly increase your odds of surviving an attack. Let me know if you have any questions and I’ll see you in class!
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