Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Stuck In the Middle


In Kali Majapahit we discuss three possible ranges for fighting:

1) Largo --- far distance.  Touching is not possible without closing distance
2) Medio --- medium distance. Touching with both weapon and alive hand is possible
3) Corto --- close distance. Punio, dumog, knees/elbows/headbutts happen here

The actual distance varies according to the weapons being used.  For us, the most important understanding here is avoiding the middle distance.

In middle distance, you can touch with full power, and also use the alive hand to check, redirect, and gunting.  Sounds great, right?  Unfortunately, at this distance we are also in the optimal distance for our opponent to do the same to us.  Staying here yields the maximum chaos and opportunity for something unexpected (read: BAD) to happen to us.  Many fighters train to keep medium distance, basically guaranteeing that they will get a barrage opf hits from their opponent.  They step backward, their opponent steps forward and they remain in medium range.  Their opponent steps backward, they chase and stay in medium range.  Better ides are to step in when opponents' step in and fight from corto, or to step back when opponent's step back and go to largo, preparing to gunting whatever approaches from largo.

One of the main objectives in a fight is to have control of the situation.  To do this, we need to minimize the chance of something unexpected happening.  That means no matter where the fight starts, we should seek to change to largo or corto distance as fast as possible.  Largo is a good first choice (assuming you can outrun your opponent) since it is not possible to be touched at this range.  An example of this is to kick the opponent's knee when he closes distance and step back into largo.  As well, using just the tip of the weapon to hit his/her hand as we step back into largo is another way to use this.

However, in many cases this is not possible.  We cannot outrun our opponent, or the environment prohibits opening such distance, such as being in a hallway, elevator, bathroom, etc.  In such cases, it is important to close distance as fast as possible to corto.  This enables us to get inside the guard and intercept at the torso (elbow/shoulder/knee/hip) rather than at the full extension of the attack.  It also allows us to control the head and spine, as well as going to work on destroying the opponent's structure by attacking the footwork through foot traps and the like.  Moreover, close range negates a taller opponent's reach, which can be useful if you are a smaller guy like me.

In Kali Majapahit, we specifically train in Inayan Serrada and other systems which are designed for close quarter combat at corto distance.  Whatever you do, the middle ground is bad.  You have to choose.  Be prepared.

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