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Old 06-30-2004, 08:36 AM   #25
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?

Geoff Flather wrote:
Hello Mehmet,

Like you I have received this information of concentratng on looking in to the eyes of opponents etc.

Like you it just does not work.

However Osensei stated that we would lose our souls should we practice this way.( death??)

Certainly practicing with the major use of periphery vision does work. The use of the core of the eye produces tunnel vision and a lack of suble or direct response. I feel you have received some good answers to your question. Thank you.
What is the basis for your translation of O-Sensei's admonition to the deshi not to look at the eyes? I have never heard it translated as "taking the soul". This has a sort of ghoulish, semi magical flavor which I do not believe is in the original meaning. But I am not fluent in Japanese so perhaps you could explain why you have used this terminology?

Also, to make a categorical statement that it just doesn't work to look at someone's eyes is wrong. It clearly does work for some people. I think it is always a mistake to take a simple statement from the Founder and cast it in stone like something God gave to Moses on the Mount. It is better to simply take that instruction and realize that you are not receiving it "in context" the way the original students were and therefore can't necessarily judge exactly what the Founder may have meant by it. So you need to take it as an area of investigation for your training.

As I mentioned in my post, it is my understanding that O-Sensei, while advsisng his students not to look at the eyes, often did so himself in order to take his opponent's "spirit".

The use of focal vision does not, in itself, produce "tunnel" in the way that most of the posters have meant the term. Tunnel vision is the result of a physiological process that has to do with how the body hadles the adrenaline dump that comes with high stress. The problem with "focal vision" is that it connects to the part of the brain that has to do with pattern recognition and categorization. This is a relatively slow process. The motion receptors in the eyes connect to a part of the brain that contrtols rections which by-pass that slow process of thought and can result in spontaneous reactive movement which is faster.

George S. Ledyard
Aikido Eastside
Bellevue, WA
Aikido Eastside
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