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Stand Up, Clinch, and Ground: Fighting Distance in Martial Arts

Updated: Dec 12, 2023

Today, we will explore the the fundamentals of fighting distance and how to seamlessly transition between stand-up, clinch, and ground ranges. By developing competence in each range, you can enhance your self-defense capabilities and competitive fighting skills.


So, let's dive into the practical aspects of transitioning between these distances and uncover the keys to success.


Stand-up Battlefield: Boxing and Kickboxing with Precision


In the stand-up range, focus on mastering striking techniques to effectively control distance and set the pace of the fight.


When it comes to specific striking techniques from the standing position, Muay Thai offers a highly effective move known as the teep or push kick. The teep is a versatile technique that allows you to maintain distance, control your opponent's movement, and disrupt their balance.

The teep involves extending your lead leg straight out, thrusting your foot into your opponent's midsection or lower body. The power of the teep comes from the drive generated by your hip and leg muscles, delivering a forceful push that can knock your opponent off balance or create space between you and them.


Check out this video from our gym in Raleigh, where Coach Johnny sets up his opponent with a teep, then closes distance to deliver elbow strikes at close range.



Apart from the teep, there are several other techniques that martial artists use to effectively manage the distance and keep their opponents at bay. Let's explore a few of these techniques:

  1. Jab: The jab is a fundamental punch used in various striking disciplines, such as boxing and kickboxing. It is a quick, straight punch thrown with the lead hand. The jab serves multiple purposes, including gauging distance, disrupting your opponent's rhythm, and setting up more powerful strikes. By using the jab effectively, you can control the range and keep your opponent at a safe distance.

  2. Front Kick: Similar to the teep, the front kick is another versatile technique used for maintaining distance and controlling your opponent's movement. It involves extending the lead leg and thrusting the ball of the foot into your opponent's midsection or lower body. The front kick can be executed with speed and precision, allowing you to keep your opponent at a safe distance while potentially inflicting damage.

  3. Pushes and Shoves: While not strictly striking techniques, pushes and shoves are effective for creating space and disrupting your opponent's balance. By using your hands or arms, you can push or shove your opponent away, forcing them to readjust and creating an opportunity to maneuver or strike.

  4. Low Kicks: Leg kicks, particularly low kicks, can be used to maintain distance and control the fighting range. By targeting your opponent's lead leg or lower body, you can slow down their movement and limit their ability to close the distance effectively.

Remember, each technique has its own intricacies and variations. It is essential to practice these techniques under the guidance of a qualified instructor to ensure proper form, technique, and safety.


By incorporating these techniques into your stand-up game, you can effectively control the distance, keep your opponents at bay, and create opportunities for offensive or defensive maneuvers. Continual practice and refinement will allow you to master the art of dictating the fighting distance, giving you a strategic advantage in combat.


Stay tuned, later this week we'll discuss nuances of fighting distance from the clinch and while on the ground!




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