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Old 06-26-2004, 02:59 PM   #2
George S. Ledyard
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Dojo: Aikido Eastside
Location: Bellevue, WA
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 2,670
Re: to look at opponent's eyes or not?

Mehmet İsmail wrote:
My sensei and my dojo mates always advises me to look at my partner's eyes in order to estimate his forthcoming attack. Frankly it has rarely worked. And recently I have heard of a word which is " do not look at your opponent's eyes, otherwise your spirit will be drawn in." I am not sure whether it belongs to O Sensei or not; but I think it has some true aspect. However accepting this word arises another inevitable question; that is " if not to opponent's eyes, where to look?"
I wonder your comments and experiences.
What O-sensei said was essentailly not to look at your opponent's eyes because he could take you spirit. However, what O-Sensei himself did was to look at his opponent's eyes and take his spirit. So what it really comes down to is who has the stronger spirit. If the other guy is intimidating and you are frightened by him in any way, then it's better not to look in his eyes. But if your spirit is strong and you can't be intmidated by him, then look him in his eyes.

Actually, I was taught by a high ranking Kendo instructor to look in his his left eye; this has to do with effecting the right hemishpere of the brain.
"Similarly, the right hemisphere is not just the seat of intuition. Perhaps it is more intuitively oriented than the left, but in most cases it also identifies patterns and performs spatial analyses. This hemisphere tends to process information in non-linear ways, looking at the whole instead of all the parts that make it up." from
An alternative is to look at the spot between his eyes. It can be very disconcerting because it looks as if you are looking at his eyes but he can't connect to you through his eyes. This can be very effective in psyching him out if he is used to using his eyes to communicate with his opponents.

If not looking at the eyes then either place them on the mid-section of the opponent or just over his shoulder. In both cases a "soft focus" is used to maximize peripheral vision.

George S. Ledyard
Aikido Eastside
Bellevue, WA
Aikido Eastside
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