What are his fastest options according to his distance? It takes longer to use legs than hands unless your leg is already lifted to the center of the body as you get closer to the opponent, then it is closer to reach your opponent than putting it down and then using your hand according to the distance.
What are your fastest options according to your starting distance? This should be the same as his if you are physically similar to him and if different still the time different would be mostly insignificant, since all analysis is based on reaction time and mitigating it by modifying the timing according to the initial distance.
When you are putting your hands in front of your body, they can become a target as well. Or in other words you should make the opponent’s hands your primary target instead of looking for opening in his body and try to punch and kick around it.
You might need to continue and attack if for example your first punch was aimed to your opponent’s hand, and you broke his line of thought, or if you just blocked the opponent’s front hand before he even attacked and continued with a counter attack.
Positioning your hands to the sides of your body, invite straight attacks to your vital organs and prompt you with inside defenses. Also, circular attacks are done from a shorter range, and straight attacks have faster reach before the opponent got closer.
Positioning your hands crossing each other prompts outside defenses, and if you position them in the center of your body you invite your opponent to attack higher to your face or lower to your legs.
If you start to attack in full force aiming to the center of the opponent’s hands that are positioned in front of his body, you make it difficult for him to defend since he would need to either absorb the strike with his hands and this will slow him down from immediately attacking you, or he would need to move his hands to the sides and try to bring them back and fort to block you when you are continuing with full speed forward.
Obviously you will hit his body. Another alternative is or him to push his hands forward toward your foot or fist faster then your motion which might stop your strike before it reached full speed and force, but while you strike with the hard part of your arm or leg, he might be forced to counter it with a weaker part of his hand.
I see in boxing and Muay Thai training that as one student strikes or kick, the training partner holding the mitt is just pushing the mitt forward toward the strike before the strike reached full speed and force.
It can be also done with a headbutt toward a fist punch and it happens in boxing matches. It can be frustrating if someone is trying to block your fist by pushing it straight back before you reached maximum speed, but it does not facilitate a quick counter attack option for hm if you follow up with continuous attack.
If you noticed an attack coming in the last second, you do not have the luxury to position yourself before you defend or attack, and therefore have to react according to the way your body was positioned in the shortest fastest move that it facilitates.
Circular attacks have more force in the short range but take a little longer to execute.While weaker strikes can at least cause a distraction and buy time to execute more powerful strike, Series of weak attacks can slowly recuperate defender’s train of thought and he could get out of it if trained right (boxing) and fight back. This basically sums up the advantages and disadvantages of the Jabbing principle.
Assuming you might have a lifetime chance to defend yourself and no time to research your opponent’s capabilities when it happens, you better of learn to prioritize between all the methods and techniques and build up your reflexes to execute the most efficient more responding to the most efficient more that any human that has two hands or two legs can execute.
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