Many assaults happen in small spaces and/or with the assailant getting very close to you. After all, unless he has a gun or is wielding a long weapon (e.g. baseball bat) he needs to be close to control, strike, steal, etc….
Defending in close quarters is extremely difficult. Why?
- You have very little reaction time.
- Your visibility is limited.
- Your range of motion is limited (e.g. kicks are not effective if the attacker is very close).
- Avoidance and escape options are compromised (e.g. subway, elevator).
Your training must prepare you for such situations. Here are some general points we include in our self-defence training.
Short range striking: Knees, elbows, hooks, head butts… You should be able to effectively strike in all directions and at different heights and angles.
- Improve Your Reaction Time: Through various exercises, you can make effective decisions in a shorter time. Sudden stabs from different directions, wrist grabs, bear hugs, chokes…… The faster you can identify and react to an assault the better chance you have of surviving.
- The economy of motion: Are you deflecting, blocking, striking…in the most efficient way possible? In all situations, but especially in close proximity, you have precious little time.
- Stress Exercises: You need to learn to manage your stress and fear to avoid freezing or acting ineffectively. Training must include exercises that induce stress.
- Realistic and Various Attacks: You need to understand the various ways assailants really attack.
- Finishing: Escaping is the preferred option but if you are trapped (e.g. in an elevator) then you have to disable the attacker. Training must include both options.
We always stress avoidance and doing your best to maintain distance from an attacker. There are times, unfortunately, when these are not a viable option. In close quarters, you need to make quick decisions, act precisely, and do whatever the situation requires to get you home safely.
Feel free to contact me with any questions.
– Christopher Gagne, Toronto Krav Maga Academy at firstname.lastname@example.org