Managing The “X”

This is material that will help students understand how to manage the X, or more specifically, the spatial and angular relationship between you and your adversary(s). There are degrees, quite truly – continuums, in the area of distance (interval), space, and timing (initiative). How you manage the fight depends greatly on your position with regards to these continuums of interval and initiative.

For example, with regards to interval, the bad guy may be at arm’s length, or he may be 50 meters away. How you handle a man at phone booth distances will vary greatly from the same man with the same weapon at 50 meters. As well, space is a consideration. While it may not matter at 50 meters, having space to move and fight would be an asset for you if you face an attack at arm’s length. We know that “Getting Off The X” is an advantage at close range fights so being able to exploit the space to do so at close range would be a good thing. Finally, the issue of initiative must be examined. Where are you in the reaction cycle? Did you see it coming and prepare, or did you first notice the fight when you sipped your espresso?

So that leads us to an examination of how to Manage the X. The secret is to change your positioning in relation to the adversary’s attack. There are several ways to accomplish this, but at its foundation is the need to change the relationship between the line of attack and the intended target.

One possibility and a very common one in the world of gun people is Attacking From The X. Attacking from the X requires that your position on the initiative continuum allow for such a proactive and preemptive action. Where you are with regards to space available and distance to target does not affect the decision to attack as long as the proper weapons are used. One can launch a preemptive attack at 5 feet or at 500 feet. As well one can do the same if he was standing in the middle of a football field or in a phone booth. Conceptually it is the same and the only thing that would change with the varying distances and space variances would be the tools and techniques used. Attacking from the X is a very proactive concept that may be a stationary or moving attack.

Another possibility is Defending The X. Defending The X is the first reactive option, and probably the least desirable as it is the most tenuous. It involves holding your ground and fighting from your existing position, probably because you have no distance advantage (he is just outside of arm’s reach), no spatial advantage (you do not have the option of moving off his line of attack), and no initiative advantage (you are reactive, not having anticipated and prepared). While this is certainly an unenviable place to be, we cannot ignore the possibility of being there. If so, our first consideration, after the fight begins, will be to gain an advantage either in the spatial or interval areas.

Moving the X is one option that is rarely considered in the gun world, but always a first option in the world of martial arts. It differs from getting off the line of fire (getting off the x) mainly due to interval problems. Conceptually, it is most applicable inside arm’s reach where you can affect position by moving around an adversary, either by your own positional changes or by moving or redirecting his own attack. This in effect does the same thing as moving off the line of fire. Consider an attacker is coming in with a Folsom Prison stabbing attack. You pass the attack off to your right and now find yourself off his right shoulder…on his flank. You have vastly improved your positioning and moved the X off his attacking line. We see a great deal of this in the new class Zero To Five Feet – Pistol Gunfighting. This can be on any place along the initiative continuum, either proactive or reactive.

Finally we have Moving Off The X. The X of course is the intended target’s current position. By employing various movement methods, one can evade an adversary’s initial attack and counter him before he can recover. Generally a reactive concept, it is usually most applicable when the operator is in a poor position with regards to initiative, but has some distance available as well as some space available. And these do not need to be extreme as one can apply the get off the x concept in a hallway with the proper techniques.

By understanding these concepts, and organizing your training around them, the speed with which you are able to perceive the appropriate response and put it to use will be faster. And that will increase your chances of prevailing in the fight. __________________

Gabe Suarez

One Source Tactical
Suarez International USA

Lateral movement decreases your chance of getting hit exponentially.
Lateral movement combined with distance, even better.
Just make sure to make it a random set of movements, so it’s not predictable like changing direction every ten steps.