Range is one of the most important aspects in controlling an opponent. Unless you are in control of the opponent, either physically or psychologically, you should never be in striking range of the opponent. To gain physical control of an opponent, you must decrease the range while simultaneously blocking, checking, jamming, or attacking. Control comes when the opponent cannot gain the balance and leverage needed to attack or when he/she has lost control of an extremity, such as an arm. If the opponent is skilled, control may only be maintained momentarily, so you must immediately immobilize the opponent or retreat to a safe range.
A skilled defender may gain control of an opponent by psychological means. This may be accomplished by giving the opponent an opportunity to attack you (baiting) and then countering the attack. This manipulation allows you to gain physical control. A skilled opponent may not take the bait and may fake an attack so he/she may counter your counter attack. Combat is a game similar to chess. Each opponent is trying to out fox the other. You must correctly access your control of an opponent so you may adjust your range accordingly. Psychological control is harder to assess than physical control.
The exact safe range is difficult to define since it depends on several changing variables, such as the reach, quickness, and velocity of your opponent's attacks. Safe range also depends on your reaction time, reach, and quickness, which may vary from day-to-day. Finding the proper distance for a given combat situation requires awareness of yourself and your opponent. This kind of awareness comes from experience.
The defensive sphere is the invisible barrier one erects around the body. It has two aspects, the physical and the mental, that combine to protect one from harm. The physical aspect is dictated by the distance one may reach with the arms or legs to defend oneself. The mental aspect is the area around oneself where one believes defense is possible. This area changes in relation to the circumstances and ones capabilities. The physical aspect is limited and obvious to others but the mental aspect may change due to the circumstances. Speech, posture, and body language project the range of the mental aspect to others; they detect the level confidence displayed.
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