“APPROACH – CLOSE – ENTRY” by Hunter B. Armstrong

“Adversary combat includes three vital components – APPROACH, CLOSE, ENTRY. These three components are inherently contained in classical combat training systems (i.e., pre-modern, non-pop fighting arts), and are vital parts of military small unit tactical training. However, the integration of approach, close, and entry are usually lacking in the more recently developed fighting systems, from self-defense training to recreated or reconstructed systems, whether empty-hand, handheld weapons, or firearms. For the most part, the modern-based systems tend to ignore everything up to the moment of impact on the adversary entry, ignoring the other two thirds of the combat engagement – approach and close.

APPROACH begins at the point where one becomes aware of the threat/risk presented by the adversary. It is at this point—around 20 ft (7 meters)—that one should start movement towards the adversary in preparation to close and dominate the situation. In essence, approach refers to the direction one takes in approaching an adversary. Approach is always a part of every combative scenario, and is a particularly important aspect as it is based on and takes advantage of combative awareness and dominance. It is the main stage in which to either avoid/avert the potential for physical confrontation or make decisive the assault. In military tactics, it is the tactical maneuvering used in setting up a military assault.”

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  1. This is definitely worth reading. People who are confused by much of aikido training should be encouraged rather than dismayed by the difference between us and karate. Remember, however, that in an actual situation an adversary will use the environment to conceal or obfuscate the approach, even the entry. Training works wonders but blends into “street smarts”. There’s an old book “Defensible Space”* that addresses urban spaces. But street smarts and intuition don’t require reading a book. They do require that you give credence to the cautionary messages that float into your consciousness. Being brave is not the same thing as being foolhardy. The foolhardy boldly walks into situations which aren’t necessary. It’s a form of showing off. The brave undertakes a risk because it is the right, honorable thing, and looking the other way is not.


  2. Dean Burns says:

    I liked the article. I would have liked there to be more said about the methodology of approach and close since most systems do not discuss or train in this area.

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