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Tatar
05-16-2001, 02:53 PM
When facing your opponent, do you look into his eyes? If not then where and why?

Thanks

mj
05-16-2001, 03:25 PM
Hi Tatar
Some look in the eyes, some look between them, personally I try not to look at anything at all.
Why? I don't trust myself not to get 'drawn in'.

lt-rentaroo
05-16-2001, 03:48 PM
Hello,

I don't look into the eyes directly, but instead I focus on Uke's overall facial expression. By watching for subtle changes in Uke's facial expressions (including the eyes) it is possible to develop a stronger sense of what Uke is going to do. I've noticed that most of the Uke that I've trained with would "widen" their eyes just before striking or grabbing or whatever type of attack. When I say their eyes "widened" I mean that their pupils got bigger, to let in more light. Perhaps this is an involuntary reflex. Whatever the reason, I've noticed it many times. Have a good day!

JJF
05-17-2001, 05:48 AM
My teacher emphasizes that one should try to have a perception of everything and everybody in the room, so I try not to focus on the uke (or nage when I'm uke) to much. When ever I start looking to focused on my training partner I tend to get too focused on him/her and forget to maintain the feeling of the space around me.
Perhaps one day I will be able to look into uke's eyes while knowing what happens around me as well.

Al
05-17-2001, 09:24 AM
I do not know much about this subject, however, at my last class Sensei instructed us that looking into the face (and therefore the eyes) of the uke would steal our attention. In looking at the uke the attention is stolen, and so also the one point, this leaves the nage in a vunerable position.

Also, what if you judge the subtle changes in uke's eyes wrongly and end up anticipating an action that never transpires?

lt-rentaroo
05-17-2001, 10:23 AM
Hello,

Al, good question. If Nage incorrectly judges what Uke is going to do by observing facial expression or the eyes, then Nage will have a more difficult time controlling the strike or grab or whatever the attack is. The key is to not react to what you anticipate, it is to react to what happens. So, if what you anticipate never transpires, then you've succesfully avoided a conflict without making contact (at least physical).

Learning to "read" Uke's intentions takes time and practice (just like everything else). In hockey, goalies are taught to watch the approaching players shoulders in order to "read" which direction the puck will be going. I'm not a hockey player, but have learned that by watching Uke's subtle movements I'm able to "read" what type of attack Uke will perform. I'm not an expert at this, but with practice I'm getting better. This is in no way a "sixth sense" type of thing, it's just a body language type of thing. Boxers and Karate students learn a very similar strategy when competing.

I believe it is possible to maintain your center and observe Uke's body language at the same time. Looking at Uke's face or eyes will only steal your attention if you let it. In other words, if you allow yourself to become mesmerized by Uke's stare, then Uke has accomplished what he / she wanted the stare to accomplish (distraction of Nage). I hope I've clarified my thoughts on this a bit. Have a good day!

Matt Banks
05-17-2001, 12:10 PM
Originally posted by Tatar
When facing your opponent, do you look into his eyes? If not then where and why?

Thanks



We teach as standard, to focus your gaze
in 'the triangle'

The triangle is any where from the shoulders upwards. Forming a triangle with the head



Matt Banks

mj
05-17-2001, 01:03 PM
Hi again, I have noticed when I did some 'sport' aikido (I am just saying what type, not being disrespectful,) that they say to look in (or in between) the attackers eyes. Probably because it is 'one on one'.

George S. Ledyard
05-20-2001, 11:15 PM
O-Sensei taught not to look at the opponent's eyes because he could steal your spirit. On the other hand when he was faced with an opponent he would do just that and steal their spirit.

So it rather depends on your perception of your ability and intention as opposed to the other fellow's. If you are pretty sure your are better than he is then look him right in the eye and crush his spirit. I have been on the receiving end of "the Look" from Ikeda sensei and it was an interesting feeling knowing that he had defeated you before he even moved.

Other than the psychological aspects of looking at the eyes or not, the standard advice is to use "soft focus" and place the eyes on the center of their body (the triangle as mentioned). The motion receptors are at the perifery of the eye. Focal vision connects to the brain's anlysis section. Information goes to that part of the brain for classification and processing. It is too slow for the spontaneous reactions needed in sports or martial arts. The motion receptors on the other hand don't connect the same way. Information from these receptors bypass the thinking part of the brain. Most of us have had the experience of seeing a movement out of the corner of our eye and instantly ducking away from something that might have hit us. We didn't take the time to identify the object or think about the reaction, we just moved. That is precisely what we want to encourage when we use the movement receptors instead of focal vision. Practice will imprint the type of movement we want as the response.

BC
05-21-2001, 12:32 PM
Good points all. I agree with Mr. Ledyard in using "soft focus" and look not at the eyes, but around the upper center of the chest. Years ago when I practiced kenpo, my instructor told beginners to look into their opponents' eyes, mainly so the beginners wouldn't telegraph their movements and so they could determine if their opponents were telegraphing their movements. Later at the more advanced levels, we were taught to practice the "soft focus" around the chest. This enabled the individual to not be deceived or trapped by his opponent, and still be able to perceive movement from any part of the opponent's body - essentially with peripheral vision. Peripheral vision is much better at detecting motion than focused vision, as Mr. Ledyard points out.

That said, some of my seniors in our aikido dojo still tell me to look them in the eyes, but my preference is not to do so based on my previous experience.

I remember reading in one of Dave Lowry's books that in some of the koryu sword arts, the bugeisha were taught to watch their opponent's shoulders to detect movement.

I've also been told by some knife fighting experts that one should always watch the knife blade when faced with an opponent wielding a knife. This is because a skilled knife fighter can switch hands and grips very quickly, so you always want to know where that blade is.

I guess everyone has their opinons...

Peter
05-21-2001, 06:16 PM
Interesting topic. Any birdwatchers or hunters out there may agree that it is much easier to spot a bird, etc. in the woods when one does not focus on an object and just relaxes the eyes and takes in everything. Much easier to notice movement this way, as was mentioned.

Also, by not focusing on any part of your attacker, they will not be able to predict your next move with any accuracy. Focusing in on something, or using "tunnel vision" involves the mind too much, which is way too slow for these things.

Peter

ian
05-30-2001, 05:16 AM
Originally posted by BC
I've also been told by some knife fighting experts that one should always watch the knife blade when faced with an opponent wielding a knife. This is because a skilled knife fighter can switch hands and grips very quickly, so you always want to know where that blade is.


This really suprises me as (though I'm no expert). One of the things about attacking with a knife is to hide it in your back hand and use your closest hand to strike the opponent (often with the butt of the sheath if it is metal or wood) as a set up to the stab. Possibly the stategy is different if both people have knives.

In addition to the above comments (to which I agree) a useful way of thinking about uke's body when viewing it is as a 'door' formed by the chest and hip area. By looking at this area as a flat 'door' shape you can see where their shoulders and hips are pointing, without focusing on anything in particular. Another useful concept is the relationship between head, shoulders, hips and ankles vertically. When you (or uke) displace one of these over the others, it is easy to take uke's balance.

Ian

aikilouis
06-08-2001, 05:08 PM
Let's not forget that aikido is intended for any fight situation, including multiple opponents. Some can come from behind, and in this case vision is not sufficient. This is why I'd say that training peripheral perception and general awareness to your environment is a fondamental part of practice.

Louis R Joseph

thomasgroendal
07-03-2001, 11:44 PM
I have always been told not to look at the opponent but at mountains far behind them taking them all in at once, giving you the *big picture* A friend of mine compared this to what he called *basketball eyes* He said you need to take in the whole court at once, a very valid description of an aikido technique which is always ready for the group or the individual.

PeterR
07-04-2001, 12:03 AM
They is wrong. What Shodokan dogma preaches is that you should not be watching the weapon. Look towards the eyes and watch the entire body of your opponent using peripheral vision. Looking directly at any one point reduces the peripheral vision.

There are kata in which the use of peripheral vision is an intrical part of what is being done.

Originally posted by mj
Hi again, I have noticed when I did some 'sport' aikido (I am just saying what type, not being disrespectful,) that they say to look in (or in between) the attackers eyes. Probably because it is 'one on one'.

Mark Jakabcsin
07-04-2001, 08:31 AM
"I've also been told by some knife fighting experts that one should always watch the knife blade when faced with an opponent wielding a knife. This is because a skilled knife fighter can switch hands and grips very quickly, so you always want to know where that blade is. "

I have heard this on more than one occasion from various people as well as the reverse. For those that believe in focusing on the knife please list the benefits/advantages gained from this approach.

I will list a few of the disadvantages that I perceive with this approach to help push things along:

a) Fixation on one point reduces or eliminates your ability to see other important movements.

b) The knife is not the ONLY aspect of danger. By focusing on the life it is natural to develop a feeling that 'if I can only control the knife I will be safe' mentality which is totally false and leads on to miss other dangers in the encounter.

c) When an attacker attacks with a knife, the knife is the LAST thing to move. Therefore, you are greatly reducing your reaction time and ability to respond to the knife attack.

Just a few thoughts for discussion.

mark