Two female fighters prepared to strike at each other while standing.
Stand-up fighting (or stand-up) is hand-to-hand combat that takes place while the combatants are in a standing position. The term is commonly used in martial arts and combat sports to designate the set of techniques employed from a standing position, as opposed to techniques employed in ground fighting. Stand-up fighting that takes place while the combatants are grappling each other is referred to as clinch fighting. Techniques used in stand-up fighting include various strikes or blocking techniques, either with parts of the body, or with mêlée weapons. Essential aspects of stand-up fighting include striking combinations, with the aim of striking to incapacitate or injure the opponent. Martial arts and combat sports that emphasize stand-up fighting include boxing, escrima, jōdō, karate, kendo, kickboxing, kung fu, muay thai, savate, fistfighting, silat and taekwondo.
Stand-up fighting distances
The nature of the stand-up fighting depends on whether the combatants are unarmed or use mêlée weapons. Batons become less effective at short, especially clinching range, where they cannot be swung properly. Knives on the other hand do not need as much thrusting space to generate damage. In stand-up fighting without mêlée weapons, it is possible to separate the distances between the combatants according to which strikes can reach the opponent.
Comfort zone: The comfort zone is a non-combat distance from which it is not possible to kick the opponent without closing the distance considerably. From this zone the combatant might carefully close in on the opponent to engage with strikes.
Kicking distance: The kicking distance is the most distant unarmed fighting position in which consistent contact can be made with the opponent. The combatants can use far-reaching quick kicks to the legs, body or head of the opponent. Martial arts such as Taekwondo, emphasize the kicking distance in fighting.
Punching distance: The punching distance refers to the zone where punches can be thrown, and this is the distance from the furthest jab to the closest hook, as long as no grappling is taking place. In addition to punches, this distance often also allows for elbows and knees. Boxing is a combat sport that concerns itself exclusively with the punching distance. However many martial arts, particularly those that employ extreme close range fighting (for example Wing Chun and Southern Praying Mantis) train ranges within punch range, but do not necessarily employ clinching techniques. This collection of ranges is often called the in-fighting range.
Clinching zone: The clinching or trapping zone refers to the same distance as the punching distance, except that one or both combatants grapple, and at the same time prevent the other from moving into a more distant contact zone or into the comfort zone by using a clinch hold. This zone involves a multitude of both striking and grappling techniques, and is discussed in its own article Clinch fighting.
- Løvstad, Jakob. The Mixed Martial Arts Primer. www.idi.ntnu.no. URL last accessed March 6, 2005. (DOC format)