In this post, I want to discuss fighting ranges. What are fighting ranges in martial arts? How do we apply them in Wing Chun training?

Why are they important?

What are the fighting ranges?

The concept of fighting distance is crucial in martial arts, as it determines the range at which a fight or combat situation takes place. This range can vary depending on the specific martial art being practised and the individual styles and preferences of the fighters involved.
We can break down the fighting distance into four major categories: long range, medium range, close range and ground range. Each of these ranges has its advantages and disadvantages, and understanding how to effectively move between them is key to being a successful martial artist.

The Wing Chun fighting ranges

Traditionally in Wing Chun, the main training and fighting applications are in the medium or “Chi Sao” range. However, our Wing Chun training considers three fighting ranges: long, medium and close range. This allows us to have more extensive usage of the fundamental Wing Chun techniques, strategies and body structure. Such as Chi Sao (sticky hands), the basic Wing Chun defensive hands and punching methods. 

Long-range fighting, also known as “boxing and kicking range,” is the distance at which fighters can effectively use their legs and fists to deliver powerful punches and kicks. Fighters who are skilled at long-range fighting can keep their opponents at bay and deliver devastating blows from a safe distance. For example; Tae Kwon Do is mainly long-range, whilst Mixed Marital Arts(MMA) covers all four fighting ranges. 

We practice Sanda or Chinese boxing at this distance using our Wing Chun structure, punching and defensive methods.



The medium range is the “cross hands” or Chi Sao (sticky hands) range. At this fighting range, opponents have “bridge” or forearm (elbow to wrist) contact.
This is the training for what Wing Chun is most famous for. The aim in Chi Sao is to stick and control your opponent’s bridge and disturb his balance and defense. This will leave him open to close-range strikes and chops. 



Close range, also known as “clinch range,” is the distance at which fighters are chest to chest, and in a position to grab and hold each other.
At this range, fighters can use their position and leverage to take their opponents to the ground.  Apply joint locks and finish the fight with short ranges strikes, elbows and knees.  


Overall, the importance of fighting distance in martial arts lies in its ability to provide fighters with a strategic advantage. One must be able to transit fluently between the different ranges eg. from long distance to medium or short distance vice versa. By understanding the different ranges and how to move between them, fighters can control the pace and flow of a fight, and use their skills and techniques to their advantage. 

Final words 

We discussed what are fighting ranges in martial arts. Each martial art, based on its techniques and strategies, has its own concept of distance fighting. 

In Chu Sau Lei Wing Chun, we consider three ranges: long (boxing, kicking) range, medium (Chi Sao) and clinch range (sticky body).

In summary, fighting ranges gives the martial artist options to choose “where” to fight and exploit the relative weakness of his opponent. Whether you are a beginner or a seasoned martial artist, understanding and mastering the concept of fighting distance is crucial to becoming a successful martial artist.

Looking forward to your comments.

Wang Sifu

Head coach Chu Sau Lei Wing Chun Singapore.

Relevant links

Wing Chun Energy Strikes