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Old 09-19-2002, 09:09 PM   #1
Dojo: Great Wave Aikido
Location: Alberta, Canada
Join Date: Jun 2002
Posts: 543
Focus in Rendori?

Guten Tag, mein freunds!
Another thing I was thinking about:
When doing Rendori, or a variety of other defence drills, I do something I don't see anyone else doing: I defocus. In other words, I don't stare - don't even look at uke(s) as he/she/they come in; I look at a spot in the middle distance and relax the old eyeballs; taking everything with peripheral vision. Not entirely sure why it works, other than my own unsubstantiated belief that concentrating on one attack may distract me from another, and that peripheral vision is collected mainly by the eye's rod cells - which (being B&W receptors) pick up movement much more accurately than cones.However shaky my science is in the matter, the fact is it does seem to work, and work well.
Any comments/ arguments? And more importantly to the anatomically knowledgable among us - How wrong was I in my assumption of the way the eyeball works?

Answers are only easy when they're incomplete.
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Old 09-19-2002, 11:23 PM   #2
PhilJ's Avatar
Dojo: Aikido Bukou
Join Date: Sep 2002
Posts: 240
I think your approach is a good start, from what I've experienced. When I ask a student to pretend I'm a car rather than some shmuck throwing a punch, the student invariably worries less about my fist.

Defocusing helps you deal with people as streams of energy rather than "attackers". I'd probably suggest being careful, you don't want to "defocus" too much -- there's a point where you still ought to be aware of your environment, I'd think, as well as your ultimate goal: throw people around or harmonize with the situation?

I'd love to hear more input on this one, it's something that's crossed my mind in the past too.

Phillip Johnson
Enso Aikido Dojo, Burnsville, MN
An Aikido Bukou Dojo
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Old 09-20-2002, 12:40 AM   #3
Bronson's Avatar
Dojo: Seiwa Dojo and Southside Dojo
Location: Battle Creek & Kalamazoo, MI
Join Date: Feb 2002
Posts: 1,677
Yeah, I do the unfocused eye thing too. It helps keep me relaxed and keeps me from fixating on one thing.

I've been told the same thing about peripheral vision picking up motion better than focused vision. Same as you, I don't know if it's true but it sure seems to work for me.

It was first demonstrated to me by my former tai chi instructor. He had me hold my thumb and forefinger the width of a dollar bill apart. He then held the dollar bill lightly just over the space between my thumb and forefinger (you might have to put a slight crease down the length to keep it somewhat rigid). He had me focus intently on the bill and when he dropped it I was supposed to close my finger and thumb together in a pinch to catch it. I missed it almost every time. When I did catch it it was just barely. Then he had me look past the bill and told me to see it with my peripheral vision but keep focused past it. Caught it most every time usually at or before the middle of the bill. Most people I've tried this with have similar results. One of my students has had the idea of using a ruler instead of a dollar bill. Then the results could be measured...might have to try that.


"A pacifist is not really a pacifist if he is unable to make a choice between violence and non-violence. A true pacifist is able to kill or maim in the blink of an eye, but at the moment of impending destruction of the enemy he chooses non-violence."
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Old 09-20-2002, 12:45 AM   #4
Bronson's Avatar
Dojo: Seiwa Dojo and Southside Dojo
Location: Battle Creek & Kalamazoo, MI
Join Date: Feb 2002
Posts: 1,677
Last post got long so here's another

My sensei calls this "soft eyes". He does it all the time. It's a strange feeling but it's like his eyes are drawing you're attack in farther than you intended. We talk about how the eyes lead the mind and the mind leads the body. For new folks this translates into looking where you're going and not staring at your hands. For the senior students it is learning that if you can keep your eyes/face relaxed the rest of you tends to stay more relaxed. I think


"A pacifist is not really a pacifist if he is unable to make a choice between violence and non-violence. A true pacifist is able to kill or maim in the blink of an eye, but at the moment of impending destruction of the enemy he chooses non-violence."
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Old 09-20-2002, 02:58 AM   #5
Genex's Avatar
Dojo: Warrington Seishin Kai
Location: Warrington, England
Join Date: Jun 2002
Posts: 155

I've only dont a little randori, and to be honest at first i was looking at Uke's hands and where they were, his footwork etc... then after i let myself relax i found i was just generaly looking in the direction of Uke but only when he got within 5 feet, i see randori as more of a moment thing, i'm not thinking about what technique to use i'm just going to take uke's attack and refocus the energy into something else (throw, tenkan, block with strike, irimi nage) usualy to keep my mind off the attack i'll sing a song in my head, you wouldnt beleive how many times the Eurythmics or soft cell make it into there.



like having your brains smashed out by a slice of lemon wrapped round a large gold brick. - The hitchhikers guide to the galaxy on the Pan-galactic Gargleblaster!
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Old 09-20-2002, 04:38 AM   #6
Ta Kung
Join Date: Apr 2001
Posts: 237
In my dojo, we are told not to stare at the attacker, but rather to look "through" him (or at least look past him). It's akward at fist, but I recently started to get the hang of it. And it works great!


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Old 09-20-2002, 07:02 AM   #7
Veers's Avatar
Dojo: Shinkikan Aikikai Aikido of Corpus Christi
Location: Corpus Christi, Texas
Join Date: Aug 2002
Posts: 169
Bronson, funny you should say that. Yesterday in physics class we did that very thing. That is, had someone hold the ruler, dropped it, and measured the distance and time it took us to react. I averaged out to catching it at the 15 cm mark (place my fingers at the 2 and catch it at the 17)...and I don't watch my fingers, I watch the person holding the ruler's fingers. Using a calculation, I determined my reaction in seconds... I had .175 second reaction time, and most of the people in my class had about .19 or higher.

The early bird may get the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.
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Old 09-20-2002, 09:58 AM   #8
SeiserL's Avatar
Location: Florida Gulf coast
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 3,886
Yep. soft focus, defocus, looking through, all tend to utilize the periphery vision which picks up movement faster. It also helps reduce emotional arousal which tends to create tunnel vision. Pardoxically, by not looking you see more.

If ou get stuck in it, its called "the thousand yard stare".

Until again,


Lynn Seiser PhD
Yondan Aikido & FMA/JKD
We do not rise to the level of our expectations, but fall to the level of our training. Train well. KWATZ!
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