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Distance and control

Posted by Matthew Chapman on

Defence is entirely a matter of distance.

Staying too close to the opponent reduces the reaction time available to block, evade or destroy. Being too far away from an opponent makes initiating difficult as one has to step into range to strike which telegraphs the attack.

For any technique therefore it is necessary to maintain the optimal distance for that technique to be practical. Trying to punch from a long-distance will result in a lunging punch that is easily counted. The defensive distance drill was designed to develop a fighter’s sensitivity to the importance of distance. It is also a mirrored drill with the striker and pad holder perform the same techniques making it easier to learn. 

  • Hitter jabs
  • pad holder returns a jab
  • hitter snaps back out of distance and returns a cross
  • pad holder returns a cross
  • hitter snaps back out of distance and returns a jab cross
  • pad holder returns a cross and hook
  • here the drill changes slightly as the hitter slips to the outside of the cross
  • and rolls underneath the hook.

Here a video of the In & Out drill

The emphasis on this drill is on just moving far enough back to evade the strike but staying close enough to strike back quickly. Snapping back out of distance can be performed using the upper body leaning back or the rear heel dropping to move the head away. Sometimes both can be combined with the head snapping back and the heel dropping to pull the fighter from danger.

The pad holders punches should miss by the smallest margin possible. Imagine having a beard (if you dont have one) and the punches just grazing the chin whiskers every time. In the beginning the natural reaction is to flinch away from the oncoming strike creating too much distance but with regular practice this overreaction can be reduced so that the punches eventually miss by fractions of an inch.

Mittmaster Matt

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