Please take a look at Articles on self-defense/conflict/violence for introductions to the references found in the bibliography page.

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When you begin to feel like you are a tough guy, a warrior, a master of the martial arts or that you have lived a tough life, just take a moment and get some perspective with the following:


I've stopped knives that were coming to disembowel me

I've clawed for my gun while bullets ripped past me

I've dodged as someone tried to put an ax in my skull

I've fought screaming steel and left rubber on the road to avoid death

I've clawed broken glass out of my body after their opening attack failed

I've spit blood and body parts and broke strangle holds before gouging eyes

I've charged into fires, fought through blizzards and run from tornados

I've survived being hunted by gangs, killers and contract killers

The streets were my home, I hunted in the night and was hunted in turn


Please don't brag to me that you're a survivor because someone hit you. And don't tell me how 'tough' you are because of your training. As much as I've been through I know people who have survived much, much worse. - Marc MacYoung

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The postings on this blog are my interpretation of readings, studies and experiences therefore errors and omissions are mine and mine alone. The content surrounding the extracts of books, see bibliography on this blog site, are also mine and mine alone therefore errors and omissions are also mine and mine alone and therefore why I highly recommended one read, study, research and fact find the material for clarity. My effort here is self-clarity toward a fuller understanding of the subject matter. See the bibliography for information on the books. Please make note that this article/post is my personal analysis of the subject and the information used was chosen or picked by me. It is not an analysis piece because it lacks complete and comprehensive research, it was not adequately and completely investigated and it is not balanced, i.e., it is my personal view without the views of others including subject experts, etc. Look at this as “Infotainment rather then expert research.” This is an opinion/editorial article/post meant to persuade the reader to think, decide and accept or reject my premise. It is an attempt to cause change or reinforce attitudes, beliefs and values as they apply to martial arts and/or self-defense. It is merely a commentary on the subject in the particular article presented.


Note: I will endevor to provide a bibliography and italicize any direct quotes from the materials I use for this blog. If there are mistakes, errors, and/or omissions, I take full responsibility for them as they are mine and mine alone. If you find any mistakes, errors, and/or omissions please comment and let me know along with the correct information and/or sources.



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Attacking Distance

Caveat: This article is mine and mine alone. I the author of this article assure you, the reader, that any of the opinions expressed here are my own and are a result of the way in which my meandering mind interprets a particular situation and/or concept. The views expressed here are solely those of the author in his private capacity and do not in any way represent the views of other martial arts and/or conflict/violence professionals or authors of source materials. It should be quite obvious that the sources I used herein have not approved, endorsed, embraced, friended, liked, tweeted or authorized this article. (Everything I think and write is true, within the limits of my knowledge and understanding. Oh, and just because I wrote it and just because it sounds reasonable and just because it makes sense, does not mean it is true.) 

Please make note that this article/post is my personal analysis of the subject and the information used was chosen or picked by me. It is not an analysis piece because it lacks complete and comprehensive research, it was not adequately and completely investigated and it is not balanced, i.e., it is my personal view without the views of others including subject experts, etc. Look at this as “Infotainment rather then expert research.” This is an opinion/editorial article/post meant to persuade the reader to think, decide and accept or reject my premise. It is an attempt to cause change or reinforce attitudes, beliefs and values as they apply to martial arts and/or self-defense. It is merely a commentary on the subject in the particular article presented.

It came to me like a light bulb going nova and then blowing out, it is about distancing. Distance term for martial disciplines is, “Ma-ai.” It seems to me that many martial practitioners focus heavily on their distancing, i.e., for remaining outside their adversary’s range, getting into range and other such complexities of the fight game (not really a game but this sounded good at the time of writing).

I know I have had this dyslexic type of thinking but what practitioners should base their actions on is the distance of the adversary. The adversary has his or her distance where they can use their techniques to attack. There are a variety of many aspects that govern how they use their distance, with and without tells, as how they assume a stance or kamae to hit or kick and so on. A more natural stance may require movement before launching a kick while another does not - it can get complicated.

Marc MacYoung wrote (hey, if I got it wrong don’t look to Mr. MacYoung’s article. It is my problem) a piece on distance in response to someone stating, “How to hold one’s hands when an attacker is in your face,” to properly protect yourself from getting hit. This is about those comments so I want to stress that one’s perspective should not be about your distance, indirectly, but the distance of your adversary, directly. What the ….?

Mr. MacYoung says (think my assumptions here) that you can know your adversary’s attack range. Knowing his or her range is really critical when it comes to his or her hitting you. The attack range of your adversary, the distance he or she can attack without having to move or take that step, is found by eyeballing the distance from his or her eyebrows to the floor. Now, this next part has at least two benefits, look down at the floor and create a measure from their closest foot to you using that eyeball distance. If you are outside that range then he or she has to move and that movement is your tell. Maintain that or a greater distance along with bringing your environment into play as obstacles to his or her ability to close that distance. Looking down, takes a millisecond, also helps with the adrenal stress conditions that can cause tunnel vision and that term meaning you are seeing the threat as closer to you than they actually are type thing. 

Looking down for that millisecond from time to time helps you avoid some of the pitfalls of the adrenal dump. Keep that in mind as well, things tend to inter-connect and meld together creating a strong chain of defense or a weakened one when one or more links are stressed and/or broken.

What I am getting to here is “Control the Distance” by controlling your distance according to, “His or Her” attack distance. Just a quick note that one tidbit of detail is his or her stance be it normal and narrow over wider and more stable changes his or her distance as it effects kicking as in too close vs. hitting as in to far he or she has to move type thing. 

Mr. MacYoung writes that your hands and how you hold them becomes less important depending on your adversary’s distance so you need to know how to guage or judge that distance then maintain control over his or her attack distances. The hands and hand position when they are well within that attack range are more about keeping them at a distance over blocking or defecting a hit. Hits happen in milliseconds and believe me your arms and hands are not fast enough to block the hit at that distance so …. Control the ma-ai by using your adversary’s distance of effective attacking, not yours. 

Look at it this way, not using this means you might make judgements according to your attack distance and an adversary who just happens to have a shorter or smaller attack distance may hit you before you can do a damn thing about it and that sucks. 

I will go back even further, avoid the conflict first and it that fails then control the distance using his attack distance and the environment for obstacles, etc. until they cool down. Remember, control the distance to convey to the adversary you are capable and ready to apply force if forced. That alone may deescalate allowing them to choose a better path. If they continue to display aggressive behavior and close the distance regardless of what you say or do then that distance allows you to stop the threat, not react to an attack or have to do damage control (Marc MacYoung says about damage control: “no damage control is ever as good as keeping it from going down in the first place.” 


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