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 Post subject: Range Game
PostPosted: Wed May 23, 2012 9:37 am 
The Smoking Gun
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Combat in Belegarth, or any other scoring-based melee sport system can be broken down into 4 effective combat ranges. Each range is defined by the nature of a participant’s options for point scoring in that range. The ranges are universal to the game, different for every player, and determined ultimately by the sum of the fighter, his gear, and the gear’s “fit”. Being aware of your personal combat ranges allows you to decide when best to take an action, and, to an extent, what action will best help you achieve your goal. All of this is written from a Dueling perspective, as things like missile weapon or polearm support from either team (or an infinite number of other on field possibilities) can change the game completely.

4 – Out of Range; In the 4th combat zone, where every encounter begins, both participants are engaged, but not yet threatening. There is generally some expression of intent for combat, be it taking up a guard stance, making eye contact, whatever. This zone is pretty safe most of the time, particularly on the outside edge; it can be useful for feeling an enemy out. If an enemy is intimidated easily by threatening movements, or fakes, you can sometimes force a big enough mistake with fakes in this zone to allow an easy close to the Kill Zone. Don’t rely on this tactic however, as more experienced fighters aren’t likely to react to more than one fake in this range, recognizing that you are not a genuine threat, and are likely trying to force a mistake. What separates zone 4 from zone 3 is a lack of options, in 4, it is impossible to score with a single action. Any move you could make from the 4 zone could be countered or blocked; that makes 4 a generally inefficient combat zone, lots of opportunities to expend energy, no opportunities to score.

With the Advantage: If you hold the range advantage in 4, your biggest advantage is the overlap of your 3 zone, allowing you a very small instant while closing in which your opponent may not perceive danger from an attack (thrown from your maximum range), that is threatening. This is also a great time for lanky players to limb an extremely threatening enemy who insists on lurking out of range; with many fighters extending their limbs far out beyond their center, opportunities to cut wrists and knee/lower thighs. Keep those arms in! Reaching out of the relative safety of 4 with a stray limb is a great way to get scored on, or left with a disadvantage for the rest of the engagement.

Range Disadvantage: Without a reach advantage, you are left with a few options on how to best make use of your time in range 4. The first and most obvious to most people is to bait a mistake. Lurk on the very edge of an enemy’s range, baiting a reach into your range with a sloppy shot or committed action (such as a reaching arm chop or leg sweep) which you are prepared for with a defense and counterswing. Closing is dangerous, and a skilled fighter will try to hit you in the moment where you have no options against them, but they have one or several safe, long range shots against you. Learning to predict these shots is of great utility: it allows you to set up your defense around a forseen shot, and gives you a pretty good idea of what your opponent will be leaving open, enabling you to throw a return shot very quickly. This is not something any fighter will get right away, it takes a long time and a lot of being hit before your body can instinctively recognize openings, sometimes extremely brief, associated with shots coming your way.

3 – Compound Land! A compound attack is a single attack with multiple parts, referred to in fencing as a second-intention attack (intention 1, throw a high cross, they will block it, by blocking it, they will open their hip, intention 2 is the following hip cut). Compound attacks can be as short as a dip followed by a shoulder pop, (very very fast), or more complicated and drawn out, with the goal of overwhelming the enemy. The reason 3 is called the Compound zone is because it is extremely difficult to score a point in this range. In order to get a kill in 3, you must force a mistake. This can be done with fakes and feints – make the opponent think you are going to throw one shot, they go to block it, you throw a completely different shot. A good fighter will have the time and skill to react to nearly any shot you throw at this range – this makes it necessary to force a mistake in their defense to get a kill, or close to a range at which you can get a fast kill off on them.

With the Advantage: If you have the reach Advantage, zone 3 is all about trying to get the other person into zone 2. (See the section on Closing Safely with Fakes and Mistakes below). One of the two big Kill Zones that exist for lanky fighters is in Zone 3. If you know you have the range advantage on an enemy, then you can safely keep the enemy at the very extent of your own range and be pretty safe. Your opponent’s only option is to try to close on you. His or her best strategy is a predictive block on a shot he or she is trying to bait you with, or knows you are likely to to throw against a closing enemy, and the Lanky fighter would do well to keep that in mind. Throw unpredictable shots, and if you see they are trying to bait a shot out of you, they are more likely to bite on a fake emulating the shot they are baitingl take advantage of that and throw compound shots and combos.

With a Disadvantage: If you have a range disadvantage, your range adjustments have to be more drastic. When transitioning from 4 to 3, you should do it quickly, and be prepared to absorb a hit as you pass through the range at which the enemy has more offensive options than you. Being prepared for what shot is coming your way is ideal. Block and counterswing, their arm will be extended to hit you in the outer reaches of their range, so you will likely have a pretty good shot at their wrist or forearm. Just remember not to lurk out of your own range.

2 Speed, Speed, Speed – In a perfect world, a fighter with a range advantage will win every fight by scoring a point on the enemy at the instant the enemy enters his 2 range. The 2 range is the zone in which a fighter can move his sword to the target area and score a point in less time than it takes the enemy’s brain to a) see it, b) process it, c) respond to it. The minimal reaction time is a matter of biological reaction time and neural path lengths, and there really isn’t much that can be done about it. Your 2 range is constantly varying by large or small amounts, if your opponent is in the midst of something that is taking up their full attention (blocking, a complicated shot, whatever), then you have quite a long time between the start of your action and when their reaction begins; this means that your 2 range sometimes extends most of the way through your 3. The real trick is identifying exactly when you are at the absolute extent of your 2 range and acting at that instant, attacking your opponent when there is nothing they can do about it in time. No traditional combat or exchanges happen at this range.

With the Advantage: This is where a range advantage really takes root. Your objective as the fighter with the range advantage is to close from 4 to 2 without being scored against, then attacking at the exact instant that the enemy enters your 2 range. Timing, timing, timing, I cannot stress this enough. If you never enter your opponents 2 range, you are never in real danger. Don’t close without an offensive capability available to you, if this means waiting out a barrage in the 3 zone, do it. Bringing an enemy into your 2 is useless if you do not capitalize on it, it gives them an opportunity to bring you into their 2 and attack in a single motion: since, in their 2, you cannot react in time, your death is nearly guaranteed.

With a Disadvantage: Do not allow a person with a range advantage to control the range of the fight. While in the 3 range, maintain distance, and close only when you are certain that you can safely close the gap between your 2 ranges. This is the most difficult and important skill for a range disadvantaged fighter to have. Forcing the enemy to block an attack or series of attacks, forcing a flinch or block on a fake, or taking their attention away from your distance from them is your friend. As soon as you are able to get the opponent into your 2 range, you should score. Compound attacks are your best friend in preventing near-simultaneous deaths. For example, some fighters throw a deep darkside wrap, knowing that if I choose not to weapon block, I will be hit, then following it up with a predetermined followup. What is happening here is that the fighter with the range disadvantage is leaving the advantaged fighter few choices, to not block the darkside wrap spells death from the Zone 3 due to an unblocked attack, while blocking the attack prevents them from preparing and throwing a shot, keeping the range disadvantaged fighter at bay. The Range Disadvantaged Fighter however, already knows what shot they are going to throw next, and it should something safe, fast, and thrown from close range.

1 - The Grind – The Grind Sucks. Throw a deep wrap, or get out. If two opponents are so close to each other that they are basically bumping bellies, it’s a sign that both parties failed to capitalize on the 2 zone, and are now stuck squarely killing each other. Some fancy tricks can be used here to increase win rates, but ultimately, ties are common and flailing is king.
*

Closing Safely With Mistakes and Fakes.
To close safely, you should force a mistake - a mistimed attack, freeze, or tangle allowing you to close a gap without threat to yourself or limbs to an enemy. A more advanced way to force a mistake is to overload the enemy with meaningless stimuli; foot taps, jukes, stutters, noises, shrugs, pops, snaps, claps, anything and everything. Ultimately, the brain cannot multitask, our attention is linear, and we can exploit that in combat. If an enemy is focusing on what you are doing (waiting for you to enter their range, for example), you have their attention, you can use that attention to eat up microseconds of time in which your brain has to process some piece of information. Even if the person decides unconsciously to ignore some insignificant stimuli, (a foot tap, for example) they are paying attention to you, and DECIDED that that information was unimportant, they couldn’t help it, the information was there, and their brains received it because they were paying close attention to what you were doing, and that ate up a fractional amount of their processing time ultimately shortening their range. In the case of a compound attack, timing fakes is critical; a large threatening fake appears to be an attack for a longer time (their brain has to spend more time on it before eventually dismissing it or committing to a response, then moving on to the next piece of information). This technique can be used to mitigate insignificant range differences, the matter of a few centimeters – as it only buys a few fractions of a second, allowing a fighter to close a small dead zone gap between ranges safely, to make a kill in the 3 or 2 zones.

Tips Tricks for Transferring between combat zones.

A wide, relaxed, bent knee stance allows you to float and sway forward and back, allowing you to lean from one combat zone to the next without actually moving your feet. This is useful when trying to make a very subtle hop into 2 from 3 or 3 from 4, without committing to a close.

Varying your attack speed allows you to distort your enemy’s mental map of the world around them, and can cause an attack to come in before, or better yet, after, a guard has already been posted as a reaction, then relaxed.

Approach on a curve, not necessarily an angle. If you’re approaching in a straight line, whether head-on or at an angle, the opponent’s brain has a pretty easy time tracking your route, If you approach on a curve or hook, the brain not only has to deal with your speed and angle of approach, but the angle and relative amount of time you will be in any given zone.
Image

“Telegraphing” shots shorten your overall range. Remember, your range is, in-part determined by the opponents capacity to react, if you give them warning, it gives them slightly longer to react.

*EDIT:
A range disadvantaged fighter can use their closer 2 range to their advantage. The fighter with a closer range can retain control of a fight to a much closer range than a longer fighter can. This gives the range disadvantaged fighter the option to get inside of the enemies 1 range, taking away many of the opponent's options, without the enemy ever entering his or her 1. Many skilled fighters will panic, lock up, or begin a sloppy retreat, when you enter their 1 range in an attempt to regain control of the fight, giving the range disadvantaged fighter ample time to calmly score a kill, without ever leaving their 2 zone. Be prepared to block shots you know your enemy favors, as those are the shots they will throw in a panic.

Credit to Phlebas for much teaching and information.

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 Post subject: Re: Range Game
PostPosted: Thu May 24, 2012 1:46 pm 
The Nightbringer
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respectfully disagree about the grind sucking. as a shorter armed, usually stronger fighter, the grind is where i get some of my best work done.

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 Post subject: Re: Range Game
PostPosted: Thu May 24, 2012 2:40 pm 
Veteran
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Bo i said the same thing to daggonath right after i read this. He pointed out that while you may get your best work done in the grind that you are still within what he consider range 2. and that your range 1 is very very small. You being able to exploit someone who panics while you are in close is very similar to how tall lanky guys skirt the edge of a range on the opposite end.


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 Post subject: Re: Range Game
PostPosted: Thu May 24, 2012 5:07 pm 
Forum Gordon Ramsay
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Gumby Kung Fu Master Mother ****...
Dagganoth has taught this class the past two quarterly war colleges and it's one of the most popular ones, with many of the participants telling me they have utilized this class to great effect. I'd be one of those people. Actually used it to great effect going single blue all weekend at WW this past weekend.

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 Post subject: Re: Range Game
PostPosted: Thu May 24, 2012 7:49 pm 
Warrior
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Interesting read.

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 Post subject: Re: Range Game
PostPosted: Fri May 25, 2012 7:25 am 
Recruit
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Quote:
This gives the range disadvantaged fighter the option to get inside of the enemies 1 range, taking away many of the opponent's options, without the enemy ever entering his or her 1. Many skilled fighters will panic, lock up, or begin a sloppy retreat, when you enter their 1 range in an attempt to regain control of the fight, giving the range disadvantaged fighter ample time to calmly score a kill, without ever leaving their 2 zone.


I think this is the heart of what makes the 1 range so potential problematic for people. At any other range, retreating is generally a neutral or safe option- you're expanding the distance, so you get extra time to react, so you can usually create some space. but from the infighting range, taking a step back still leaves you in the range where hits can come faster than you can deal with them. Essentially, trying to try back out of 1 range gives a free shot to your opponent, and trying to hit or move closer and past are much safer options, which is counter-intuitive to a lot of fighters.

There are styles that thrive at this range, but the things that make them work are very different than the kind of seeing and reacting used in the rest of the range game. Much more about framing, seams, and how it is physically possible to bring your weapon to bear. At infighting range trying to use your eyes is mostly a liability- you get information by having a point of physical contact with your opponent and learning how to "feel" their entire body from that point of contact, which allows for much faster and prescient reactions. Learning that ability isn't necessarily a good use of time if the range game is your main focus- it can be a lot more efficient to simply train one or two main actions for grind range and train yourself to fire them off as fast as possible once the distance collapses.


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 Post subject: Re: Range Game
PostPosted: Fri May 25, 2012 9:43 am 
Brute
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Hmm. Very nice read. It sounds alot like shield fighting but it could also be applied to other weapon styles (redswords, heh). Love the thing about "forcing mistakes".

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 Post subject: Re: Range Game
PostPosted: Fri May 25, 2012 9:57 am 
The Nightbringer
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ok, i have a 1 inch zone 1 then. fine by me, i have no issues then.

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Sir Beauregaurd Brutus Elevo
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That's Mr. Implacable to you.
If you disagree disrespectfully, the boards are a much better read.
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 Post subject: Re: Range Game
PostPosted: Fri May 25, 2012 11:34 am 
Warrior
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I guess I'll be honest: this reads like a treatise on how to kill bad fighters.

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it's not the weight of the weapon that makes for a solid hit, it's how much i don't like you when i'm swinging.

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 Post subject: Re: Range Game
PostPosted: Sun May 27, 2012 6:39 pm 
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Hey, someone's gotta do it.

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