What’s a Good Distance to Keep in a Street Fight?

Self-defense classes have seen quite a surge in popularity over the last few years, but I haven’t seen a lot of discussion around what distance you should keep when you end up in these situations.

woman with black boxing gloves throwing punches

Why would you talk about distance in a self-defense class? Because that’s what most people prefer to do.

We don’t like being in close-quarter combat, it’s uncomfortable and the average John Doe isn’t wired to handle that kind of situation.

With that in mind, what is a good or safe distance to keep if you’re in these situations?

The best range to keep in a street fight depends on the situation, but generally keeping the other person within your striking range is the best way to do it because you’re close enough to do something but you have the option to run if and when needed.

Creating Space in Self-Defense

The last place you want to be in a self-defense situation is up close and personal with someone.

If your opponent is bigger and stronger than you, you won’t be able to do much.

Besides being generally uncomfortable and seriously risky, the fact is that being up close and personal in a fight can have a detrimental effect on your ability to (a) escape and (b) deploy your own weapon.

Of course, street fights aren’t anything like what you see in a Dojo most if not all street fights are up close and personal so, with that said, when you’re in a street fight the ranges to keep in mind are:

  • Kicking Range
  • Striking Range
  • Grappling Range

Kicking Range

Your legs are longer than your arms and they have more muscle meaning you can do more damage with them.

You can use your legs to drive your opponent(s) back so that you have enough space to get out of dodge.

The downside to this range is simple; while you’re getting space to get away, you’re also giving your attacker time to deploy a weapon.

Striking Range

Striking range is exactly what it sounds like, you’re close enough to punch, slap, and/or elbow the other person. A good explanation of the pros and cons can be found in the video below:

Best Distance to Keep in a Street Fight

Grappling Range

Sadly, the idea that you’re going to have a wide gap between you and your opponent is false and most of the time they’re in your face screaming and yelling at you. Very often they’re within grappling range.

This is very close quarters for a fight, you’re too close for kicking and sort of too close for striking so you end up grappling with the other person.

Unfortunately, being this close to someone means that you can’t see their hands too well so you might not see it if they pull out a weapon of some sort.

Additionally, if they’re bigger than you or a better grappler than you, they’re likely to mop the floor with you.

So, What’s the Best Range?

The problem with this question is simple; the range is subjective to the situation in which you find yourself. With that said, objectively speaking striking range would probably be the best.

You get your hands up, with your arms slightly bent, and you’re close enough to do something, but you can retreat if/when necessary. You can make a few steps back, but moving backward leaves you very vulnerable.

Something to keep in mind is that street fights are often explosive and violent. One minute it’s angry words, the next it’s flying fists.

You need to understand and be able to fight in striking, kicking, and grappling ranges so that you can adapt to the fight as it happens. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: prevention is better than a cure.

Most if not all street fights can and should be avoided; it’s not worth risking life and limb to fight with someone because they insulted you so don’t do it. Don’t get into street fights.

This is a common question and it’s an important one. Many people have this idea that they’re going to be able to plan for and/or predict what their opponent is going to do.

Street fights/self-defense situations aren’t like that. They’re violent, unpredictable, and dangerous you cannot plan for self-defense situations, but you can adapt to them!

I hope that answers your question guys and gals. As always, I hope you enjoyed the article and found it informative. Thanks for reading and I’ll see you for the next one; take care and stay safe!

1 thought on “What’s a Good Distance to Keep in a Street Fight?”

  1. Fighting, and studio “fighting,” are entirely different. In a genuine fight, you have to react like an assassin with rabies …. If the opponent isn’t blind, disembowled, with multiple broken bones and torn tissue, and still has a pulse, you did it wrong. Punching, kicking, and wrestling alone, won’t do it.

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