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Keep Your Distance!

Avi Nardia & Tim Boehlert © 2022/01/21

Man has utilized various techniques, strategies and weapons during recorded history, not only to hunt, but to do battle as well. Typically, if a weapon was discovered, it was used perhaps until a better one was found. Sometimes it was a matter of finding that tool in the environment, sometimes it was making that tool, either through serendipity, or through passed-down knowledge.

Perhaps the first tool was simply using a strike with a hand, or foot. Maybe it progressed to wielding a rock in that hand, or using a switch. That discovery may have been followed up by a rope, which may have led to the club, then the war hammer and finally the hatchet.

With those natural progressions, discovery included ingenuity, thought, observation, and ultimately conclusions. “If I hit an animal with a rock, eventually it becomes a meal.”

As the brain developed, so did the tools. Man learned to better use them, to devise new and better weapons, and new and better ways to access the food resources all around them. It also developed awareness – this tool works best on this animal, in this way, and by doing ‘this’ with it.

Eventually the brain developed the ability to quantify methods based on observed results. Those observations would have had to include – accessibility, ability, prowess, favorable results. Those would develop and progress further to include – risk vs. gain, favorable odds, element of surprise, planning, strategy, tactics and ultimately the addition of distance as a factor to be considered to attain not only victory, but mastery.

In ancient times in order to engage in conflict, one had to be in contact with another. They had to both be within reach of each in order to escalate conflict into combat. Distance. To do that, one or both parties would have had to move closer to the other, or each other. Contact then becomes possible, dependent in proximity, and the weapons range. If that weapon was merely a fist, they’d have had to be with arms reach to be effective at all. If the combatants were a football field away, that would not have resulted in contact/combat.

At the same time, limiting contact/damage/casualties would also require distance – retreat, withdrawal, or simply by not being there!

Distance can be both beneficial and a deficit to your personal safety and that of your tribe/clan/family.

While engaged in contact, you can continually use the gift of distance to improve your tactics, improve your odds of victory and limit the damage your are subjected to. By using it wisely you can counter their attack strategy, eliminate their effectiveness to do damage, and quell their strike capabilities due to their dependence on using distance as well.

Close-in fighters, like boxers, often rely on their own abilities to ‘get in and get out’ during heated matches.  They use their feet way more than they use their hands – the striking tool. Their feet provide mobility, which helps them create distance to eliminate distance issues. They can use one leg to pivot either in or out to create targeting opportunities – the liver punch is an excellent example of delivering a devastating blow to an opponent that absolutely requires good use of distance.

We can use distance to effectively avoid conflict, and thus contact – by simply using the gift of remote location, If we’re not there, the opportunities for contact and damage are limited, or entirely eliminated! If we run away (run, hide, fight), we avoid conflict and contact.

If contact is inevitable, then we must master the use of distance. It needs to be prioritized and mastered to assure positive outcomes – for our team. Closing distance is but one strategy – it provides unique opportunities and may be the only answer, or the best answer for the situation that faces you. Leaving the room may also be the only answer, or the best solution to your conflict/contact.

Distance provides many opportunities. It provides ability. It provides advantage. It can provide surprise. It can provide access. It may ultimately affect the psychological state of the other party – which can include disrupting their OODA loop, and thus their ability to continue the conflict/contact. Which could hand you victory. Yes, it’s effective when used as a psychological tool as well as a physical tool.

You know what it feels like when you have been one-upped in sparring, and your opponent has suddenly taken your base, you’ve lost your balance and you are in free-fall – on your way to the mat, and in that instant, you are in shock, and realize that your strategy just failed. That is a psychological fail for you, and a victory for your opponent. He just used distance to affect victory… and the point. He used distance to get within striking range to sweep your leg, or to attach his center of gravity to your framework and then he effectively used simple leverage to take your center of gravity off axis. Distance. It was really that simple.

You’ll need to consider distance, and all that it provides, all that it entails, all that it can reveal. Use it effectively, and you may prevail. But certainly ignore it, or don’t use it to good effect and you will become the vanquished, the defeated, just another victim of it’s abilities.

…Distance is your friend.

Distance – study it, play with it, learn from it. It really is a gift.

© Copyright 2022 Tim Boehlert/Avi Nardia