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Managing The Distance With Rafael Cordeiro

Managing The Distance With Rafael Cordeiro

Distance management is one of the most important aspects of fighting. An athlete who can manage the distance will dictate the pace of the fight and control the action so he can always move around and be defensive or choose to pressure and initiate the action.

Many practitioners are not used to managing the distance consciously; they simply go into the fight and flow with the action. Allowing our opponent to control the action is a critical mistake we must avoid as the lack of distance management will affect the fight like no other aspect.

To deal with this problem, coaches developed an easy method for practitioners to analyze which distance they are in, which distance they want to be in, and what can we do from each distance - this method is called “The Three Distances,” and let’s look at them: 


  • Distance A - this is the close distance, in here both athletes can land punches at each other with no additional step
  • Distance B - in here, I can land kicks with no extra step, but to punch, we need to use 1 step forward; this is the boxing range
  • Distance C - this is our safe distance; we need to use 1 step to land a kick and 2 steps to land a punch


Now that we know the distances are divided into zones, we can implement them easily into our training and train to control each distance and lead the dance, but is it the only aspect of distance management?


Of course not; when we are fighting, it’s good to know which distance we are in, but we have many unique tactics and techniques inside every zone. The most crucial aspect practitioners need to improve is the movement in between the zones or inside the zone to keep it, and that’s what we will learn in the next section.


In this video, Rafael Cordeiro will teach us how to control the distance using our hand as a frame and indicator to move between the zones effectively.


Who Is Rafael Cordeiro?

Rafael Cordeiro is a well-known Mixed Martial Arts coach and the founder of the great “Kings MMA” gym, where many legends have been born. Through the years, Rafael had the opportunity to work with many legends of the sport that all trained under one roof; among them, you can find - Anderson Silva, Wanderlei Silva, Fabricio Werdum, and Rafael Dos Anjos. Rafael himself was a professional fighter before he became a coach.



Controlling The Distance

In this video, Rafael Cordeiro will show us how to measure the distance, and he further explains that everything we do in Martial Arts starts with managing the distance, so don’t neglect this area.

When we talk about managing the distance, it starts with simple stuff like moving forward and backward, and all fighters must train that even the most outstanding fighters; as Rafael tells us, he told the likes of Anderson Silva and Fabricio Werdum to keep that in mind because if you have the distance, you have the fight.

In today’s video, we will learn a drill to manage the distance using the jab-cross and to put pressure forward with my footwork. So after I throw the 1-2, I will keep my lead hand out as a measuring stick that will help me control the distance.

So first, when we work with a partner, he will show us his hands, and we will throw a 1-2; as soon as we come back from our cross, we will extend our lead hand as a frame between us, now in this position we are ready to throw another cross as we are rotated fully.

Now, while extending the hand and touching the partner’s hand/pad, we will shuffle forward with the hand extended and pressure the opponent’s back. Now we will do the same if the opponent comes forward; I will keep the distance and take two steps back, controlling the distance between us.

Now in a fight, we extend the hand framing on his face and immediately throwing a cross after the two steps back or forward we took. The opponent will be positioned in the perfect range for a right hand and won’t be able to do anything to me as he cannot strike or grab me with the frame.

Learn More From Rafael Cordeiro

Muay Thai Fundamentals by Rafael Cordeiro

If you liked this video breakdown and would like to see more from Rafael Cordeiro, check out  “Muay Thai Fundamentals - By Rafael Cordeiro” available exclusively on Dynamic Striking.