The Space Race
As someone who trains to be able to defend himself in a violent altercation, there is an overarching (no pun intended) theme that I believe spans across disciplines - space management.
Whether you are shooting at long range, striking, or grappling, your management of space is going to determine, in large part, the outcome. We’ve all heard the saying “it’s a game of inches”, well there’s a lot of truth in that statement and “self-defense” is truly an exercise in making space and/or filling it.
For a shooter, I don’t think I need to tell you what an inch could mean relative to your intended target. The farther the shot, the more important that inch could be. Other weapons systems such as blades or sticks have similar space management requirements. And conversely, those inches while defending yourself from any of these weapons in an attack are even more of a priority. You versus the edge of a blade is not a game and inches become more like millimeters.
Space management is equally necessary in Striking. Ever heard of a “knock out button”? The tip of the chin, the temple, just behind the ear? Do a good job managing the space and one good strike could end the fight. But poor space management could lead to a broken hand and a prolonged fight that opens up more opportunities for your opponent. Opportunities that potentially put you in greater danger.
In the triad of self-defense training categories - weapons, striking and grappling, Grappling may be a discipline where the idea of space management is less obvious to a casual observer, but practitioners of grappling arts know that space may be the most important consideration here because there is much less of it and it comes at much more of a premium. In grappling, making and filling space requires a lot of energy and a tactile sense of when and where that space is, needs to be, or sometimes where it needs to not be.
So, as you train in whatever discipline(s) you train in, cast your thoughts upward, inward, down, and out. Think about space and how mastering managing it can improve your skills.