Concentric Circles of Self-Defense
I would like to start a discussion about your personal self-defense. You may have heard of situational awareness: identifying, processing, and comprehending the critical elements of information of your surroundings. If you are utilizing situational awareness give yourself a gold star. Many do not. Situational awareness is only part of your personal self-defense strategy.
Shit just hit the fan, now what?
Consider range as concentric circles. Concentric circles in the realm of self-defense are the different ranges extending out from your body. Visualize them as circles radiating 360º outwards from your core. Many classify the number of ranges differently, but I prefer a less complicated way of 3 levels of range: short, medium and long. Each range provides different questions to be proficient in self-defense you must answer. I am not talking about competition. Bruce Lee was progressive and inspirational with this concept and evolved it to another level with Jeet Kune Do (JKD). Jeet Kune Do was developed for combat realism, as techniques are based upon their effectiveness in real combat situations. If Bruce Lee were alive today he would be in a Gi, incorporating Gracie Jiu-Jitsu into the art as well.
Each martial art may provide a technique to manage the different levels of range, but this necessarily may not compute to be the best or most proficient answer for you. At 6’2″ my game is different than someone of 5’7″ stature. My short range would be his medium range. Your firearm is an excellent long-range tool, but you may not be able to get it into the fight. In a short-range situation you have to know how to pummel and grapple your way to create space to reach your firearm. Jiu-Jitsu is a short-range tool, but does nothing against a firearm from distance.
Some examples of fighting at different ranges are:
Short range: Jabs, elbows, knees, jiu-jitsu and wrestling.
Medium range: Cross, foot jabs, kicks, sticks/sword
Long Range: Firearms or an object you can pick up and throw.
Proficiency navigating between ranges, making space or closing the gap to attack and/or counter is key. Efficient footwork is the critical piece for success. Footwork gets you in and it gets you out. Superior footwork keeps you from absorbing significant damage and will allow you to navigate range efficiently.
“Drills are the road to technical proficiency, sparring is the road to being functional. Without conditioning you can be neither technical or functional.” -Guro Moss
If your training only consists of drilling, then you are doing it wrong. Drills do not equal fighting. To become proficient with the technique you have to spar and see what happens. Understanding first hand what works and what don’t work for you is what you are looking to accomplish. Sparring consistently and smart will give you this insight and allow you to functionalize technique. When defining your ranges you must ask yourself what you are willing to allow. Would you allow x or z to happen? Now you are on the path and have started to find your answers. In my podcast with Bryan Mossey we go into this in detail. All these are questions you must answer prior to your martial art discovery, if you are serious about your personal defense.