What is Bridging by martial arts definition? Bridging is a concept or method(s), in which the distance, range or gap between two opponents is closed.
Teaching and class work is trained with one person, the aggressor or defender, going towards the opponent, with a group of skill sets, advancing through their opponents ranges and into their guard gaining an advantage. Good stuff and it’s absolutely necessary. Footwork, timing, hand skills and more is taught for this in every style of sport or defense.
Looking at Bridging at the next level, you realize it is the Concept of Closing the Gap. That space and distance can closed by either person in the conflict or when the two opponents advance at the same moment.
The terms Gap, Range and Distance fundamentally mean the same thing. How far apart are you and your opponent? Range means this too. The term Range also applies to the ability to know your own attributes, when and where you can apply them. I.e. Kicking, Punching, Trapping, CQC and Grappling ranges.
When necessary, as defenders closing a gap, we filter a lot of stimuli including but not limited to Range, Stances, Lead, Terrain, Opportunity for escape or de-escalation, multiple attackers and so forth.
When the time is right we will close that gap by using one of the well-known, Methods of Attack (1); Single Direct, By Combination, By Draw, Indirectly and Immobilization. This is essentially the science by which we get through their guard using the combat elements of *Technique, Timing, Deception and Speed to name a few.
When We Bridge, we have our game together. We are poised, ready and On-Guard even if in a hidden way using the combat element of deception. We are ready to move and ready for them to move. Get that? When the Gap has to be bridged it does. Try to be first, know when to be first and do it with commitment.
Now, because this is an article on Bridging, we’ll presume your tool kit has many lessons, techniques and concepts to draw upon. I recommend we pull out Attachment. When the Bridge is complete, be in contact with the opponent and let your body’s computer take over measuring pressures, movement, height and so on. This hands on method continually becomes the first point of reference for us in most defense based scenarios. After closing you are in the trapping, CQC and grappling ranges.
Now you’re thinking a bit more conceptually. Gap and Distance are just that. So is technique.
Closing is a word for the concept of Bridging and the two of you to coming together. It is initiated on purpose by either person. How you get there is a Method and that Method may be full of fakes and feints or it may be very direct.
Next, I recommend you acquire and study the differences between **Self-Defense, a ***Violence Encounter and the transition when one becomes the other? This will give you additional perspective into Bridging, Closing the Gap and your personal defense.
*Technique- striking, blocking, footwork, etc…
**Self-Defense- Self Awareness, Verbal skills, soft and hard hands, Pepper Spray
***Violence Encounter- A Life and Death scenario
Tao of Jeet Kune Do, by Bruce Lee, Black Belt Communications LLC, 1975