When I first started training striking I felt like all of my punches would come up short. I didn’t know what was wrong with me, and it frustrated me to no end. I was taking as many Muay Thai and boxing classes as I could, but I just couldn’t fix the problem. My coach at the time noticed that I was struggling to get into a good position to hit my opponent while not getting hit, and opened my eyes to the fundamentals of distance and range.
Finding your range and controlling distance are two of the most important aspects in the striking arts. Once you control distance, and find your range it becomes much easier to string together combinations. It also becomes easier to establish good defense. There are several ways to control the distance to find your individual range.
The jab - The jab is the most fundamental punch in any MMA oriented striking martial art. In boxing and Muay Thai it is often the first punch that is taught. The jab plays many roles. It can be used to cause damage that overtime causes pain and swelling, it can be used to set up other punches and combinations, it can be used to find your range, or it can be used to control the distance between you and your opponent. Constantly throwing the jab will keep your opponent at bay so you can utilize the full size of the cage or ring. Once you establish you can constantly land your jab, other combinations will become much easier to land. If you can touch a guy with a jab you can usually connect with your other basic punches.
The Teep and Push kicks - The teep, or foot jab, and the rear push kick are great ways to judge your distance, while keeping your opponent at bay. The teep and push kicks are effective when your opponent is coming at you in a straight line. Firing off a teep or push kick at an aggressive opponent will allow you to keep your distance and stay at your effective range.
Effective Footwork - Along with everything in stand up fighting good footwork is of the up most importance. Good foot work can be used to create distance by always moving side to side, constantly changing direction and distance. Also, utilizing good footwork can keep you within your range of attack. Footwork drills should be a regular part of your daily training.
Working on these aspects of your overall game will hopefully help you overcome any problems with dictating distance, or finding effective range. Regular practice is paramount. Striking is a game of repetition and constant practice, and in order to really implement these techniques into your game it is important to maintain good ethic and really stick to practicing your command of distance and range.