By Jose R. Villanueva

As originally published on the Listen & Be Heard Weekly1, July 20, 2005.

It is very important for practitioners or potential students of the Martial Arts to train with the idea of learning how to defend oneself with short, medium, and long range techniques. One has to be able to train without tunnel vision because it only limits one's ability to defend oneself against opponents that apply other ranges of techniques that one is not familiar with defending against. There are many Martial Arts systems that only apply short range, medium range, or long range techniques, and this is a very narrow viewpoint on the subject of self-defense.

Short-range techniques can help to defend against close hand-to-hand melee. Boxers, Pugilists, street fighters, and Joe citizen will usually attack you with their hands. So it is vital to know and understand thoroughly how one can apply short-range techniques to handle short-range attackers. The Martial Arts systems that handle short-range techniques are: 1) Kenpo Karate, 2) Wing Chun, 3) Aikido, 4) Kung Fu, 5) Jui Jitsu, etc. There are many more, but this gives you a starting point.

Medium-range techniques can help to defend against short-range and long-range attackers. One will not usually see kickers in the streets unless they have had previous training in some form of Martial Arts. Kick boxers, Tai kick boxers, and Muay Tai kick boxers are very avid users of short and medium range techniques. Their kicks range from knees, sweeps, leg strikes to the knees and legs. Tai and Muay Tai kick boxers are very vicious, and they will not hesitate to take your legs out.

Long-range techniques can help to defend against short, medium, and long-range attackers. One will not usually see a street guy trained in the kicking arts, so one has an advantage against the general attacker. Short-range attackers will have a hard time with a long-range defender because the kicker will kick to keep the short-range attacker at a distance. Medium-range attackers may have a few techniques to disrupt a long-range defender but they are still limited. Kicks can be very powerful depending on the Martial Arts system one knows. Tae Kwon Do is a very powerful kicking art. It can do a lot of damage once contact is made with a target.

The whole concept it to broaden one's scope of self-defense. When one has an ability to defend against short, medium, and long-range attackers the chances of surviving an attack greatly increases. Do not limit one's training to just one Martial Arts system that only applies one range of attack. One is not mixing Martial Arts systems. One is simply adding as part of a repertoire of techniques to fully realize one's potential.