Distance is King (Re-Examined)

People often ask me why
I’m so against self-defense?

Personal Space


The ability to protect yourself is SO VERY IMPORTANT.
The skill to stop or ward off an attack and allow you to escape without injury is priceless.

Yet as soon as the action starts, all they have to be is that little bit faster, better, or luckier than you and YOU may sustain serious injury.

What gets to me is the HYPE about how effective self-defense is.
The claims, the promise of SURVIVAL 100% of the time i.e.

Take this course  in 10 easy lessons over 6 weeks for only $199 (plus tax) and you’ll ” Kick Ass” with the best of them.
You will learn how to disarm single and multiple assailants, whether they are armed with bats, knives, or guns with just your bare hands.
Money back guarantee (If you make it out of the ER).

Yep, I’m taking the pee. Yet am I?
Ask most anyone who is NOT peddling a self-defense course and they will tell you that the BEST defense is DISTANCE between you and an assailant.

As for weapons?
Sure carry if you must only consider these important things.

  • To carry most anything is an offense in the UK.
  • What makes you think that carrying anything makes you invulnerable?
  • There will always be someone out there who is a little better, more skilled, faster, more devious, or luckier than you are.

Heres a few examples of hazards to think about:

  1. Insects, and yes you need to think about them as well!
    Some home in using infrared, some by your smell.
    Aggressive ones (wasps, hornets) trigger on noise as well as proximity.
  2. Dog or wild animal attack. Yep, these too!
    Unless trained, most have a trigger point, a range where they will go for you. Beyond that you present no threat to them.
  3. Fists, Boots
    Distance means they cannot hit you. Bear in mind that a person running at you means your usual personal space can be invaded within seconds.
  4. Bottles, glasses, lumps of wood, concrete, etc.
    Your personal space now extends to over 20 yards and that is assuming they aren’t running towards you. Distance here means at most all they can do is throw things.
  5. Firebomb. Molotov cocktails sort of thing.
    Distance is mandatory to survive without the correct shielding or clothing. That and you need to have backup because if you are hit and lit up, “drop and roll” to put out the flames gets kinda hard to concentrate on. (Personal experience in riots)
  6. Knife / Blade Attack.
    Too close and in ambush, you will get hurt. Even an “open” fight is dangerous and yes a broken bottle or glass in a person’s hand is regarded by me as a bladed attack.
  7. Stick Attack.
    This one is a funny one. Close is best as the power is in the swing except that puts you WAY INSIDE their personal space. Once you are that close how will you cope with anything else they have?
  8. Slingshot or Bows and arrows.
    Distance and erratic movement rule although there are two thoughts here. IF you are too close for them to draw, it may assist you attack except too close puts you within their personal space, but once that weapon lets something fly you need to be far away.
  9. Gun fight.
    The further away you are from them the more chance the average idiot has of missing you.
  10. Pandemic.
    Too close and droplet infection via coughs and sneezes, touching, or (in the case of pest borne diseases) close contact can transfer things like fleas to your person, all can cause you to get ill.
  11. Nukes.
    Forget distance at first just get low and under cover before the pop. But afterwards, distance is definitely king to survive the aftermath.

The Wife, SWMBO.
Her own special category.
Distance is seldom the winner here but two little words often help.
“Yes Dear” or the short version “Sorry”.

OK, that’s a few examples of why distance is king.

Captain (Later Major) William Ewart Fairbairn was a God regarding Self Defense and close combat techniques.
If you haven’t got a copy of Get Tough, Self Defence for Women and Girls, and Shooting to live (all published in 1942), your survival bookshelf is missing out on some real gems.

However even he had a problem with dealing with knives.
Especially when they were used as ambush weapons.

Distance is so king here.
Get involved in a street knife fight, or victim of a close quarter ambush, and you can be Kung Fu 99th grade for all I care, where there are no rules, the danger of being cut is all too obvious.

Then the ultimate, you against a gun.
YouTube has so many examples of how to disarm someone.
Yet they all rely on the stupidity of the person holding the gun.

Stupidity, why?
It’s simple, even for those carrying a gun DISTANCE IS KING!
Those who know weapons and know how to use them won’t let you near them. After all if they have drawn down on you, there is little difference to threatening you and shooting at you in a court of law.

So what would a trained armed person do if you advanced on them?
If they are worried about the noise?
They may run away or just try to club you.

If they are not worried about the noise?
If they didn’t want to kill you then a couple in the legs comes to mind.
Or two in the chest may seem a better option to them.

Bottom line, you get hurt and they haven’t even broken sweat.

downandoutAnd finally
I’m all for people learning self-defense. It may be the difference between life and death BUT don’t believe the hype people.

Always maintain your personal space.
Being mugged? Give it up. What can be stolen can be replaced.
Mr. Macho? Run, evade, whatever. Better that than get hurt.
Riots? Get out of there FAST!

No choice?
Don’t play by some set of B.S. ethical, morale, polite, or martial arts rules, strike first and keep going until they can’t. Remember if they can’t see, stand, or breath, they won’t be able to continue their attack.

Then break contact as fast as you can and leave, run, drive off, ride a horse, swim, fly, or even teleport. Anything to put distance between you and what’s left.

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8 Responses to Distance is King (Re-Examined)

  1. Brittius says:

    Be a problem avoider, rather than a problem solver.

  2. Good common sense, but worth revisiting whenever we feel macho. I might add that a smaller, manageable shotgun seems to me to be a useful tool for protecting your distance, but only if you have it in hand when a threat is expected..

    • The shotgun.
      Probably one of the most misunderstood of weapons.
      Psychologically it sends a powerful message to an intruder, especially a pump action with the beautiful double crunch when loading. A truly effective laxative.

      Yet, it has many pro’s and con’s.
      At close range it blows large holes and needs to be aimed as carefully as a firearm.
      In that respect it is unwieldy in a confined space.
      Unless you shorten it or buy a combat version.

      At distance is it indiscriminate as shot can spread far and wide and is no respecter of collateral damage.
      It’s available ammunition is varied and affects it’s performance greatly.

      Magazine capacity is usually limited and unless you have someone reloading a spare, it’s fast cyclic rate can leave long gaps in your firing pattern. Gaps that are readily exploitable.

      It is not a precision weapon, effective within limits, a demander of respect, but ultimately to hold back the masses it only works by reaping carnage and even then it has a narrow field of coverage and effectiveness.

      As a fall back or last ditch weapon I approve.
      As a primary defense weapon against all comers? I’m not so sure.
      To brandish one will scare off the casual but to do that to the experienced will bring down a measured response.

      You’d put me at distance as I’m not stupid, except if weapons were freely available I’d come back, putting you on the floor from a safe distance and hopefully unable to get into a firing position with slow accurate fire whilst others advanced on you.

      If I was military and small arms fire was ineffective, I’d just flatten you with an RPG or equivalent.
      Your 40 yards of effective range, or 100 yards if you are using slugs, no match for the experienced and well armed.

      • Thanks for a thorough analysis. Food for thought. I’m only thinking about warding off one, or maybe two intruders or robbers. Don’t think I’m ever going to be in a gang fight or a war. I’ll have to read your blog more closely to understand the variety of dangers you’re prepping for.

      • Welcome to my scribbles Sir. Enjoy.

        As an editor (Retired) you’ll probably get a good laugh too.

        One thing is certain though you must prepare for the worse and anything less is a bonus. Si vis pacem, para bellum. Think that way, prep that way, and train for war. I’m not trying to overstate the problem but too many think small when few can imagine the extent of the dangers.

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