Lack of Sight

Wey

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Today I went to the park and was practicing my katas. I decided to go through it a couple of times with my eyes closed. Holy eff, the whole game changed. It got me to thinking, is balance really balance when you have your eyesight?

At my dojo we've done our katas blind-folded before, but it was nothing like what I experienced at the park. The uneven terrain really gave me a run for my money.

Have any of you ever trained blind-folded / with your eyes closed before? To you, what are the pros and cons? Personally, I'm going to do it more often, I think it will dramatically improve my balance and overall awareness.
 

dancingalone

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I hold weekend retreats about once a year for my students where we totally immerse ourselves into study and mediation. Blindfold exercises are part of it. I have a sensitivity drill where I put a student in the middle of a room and then have the other students make noise one at a time at varying sound levels or (carefully) touch, push, or pull the him/her. The blindfolded person is supposed to attack the stimulus they perceive. You can play with this drill according to your goals: is it precision? is it to get a shy person to cut loose with everything they have? is it to show them that their technique and balance is really poor without eyesight to help them?
 
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Wey

Wey

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I think I'll try that drill, seems very interesting!
 

Jade Tigress

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I've done forms with my eyes closed before. It really does change things. Another thing that really threw me off: when we did forms at the school we always started by facing the mirrors. Sifu would occasionally have us start facing another direction. Talk about whacked. I couldn't believe how much those position points made a difference for me.

Outside of school, when I practiced on my own, I would start in a direction that I would imagine was the mirrors and go from there. But put me in class with the mirrors in front of me and ask me to start in another direction? Not so much. lol

Training with your eyes closed is an excellent exercise.
 

jks9199

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Many years ago, I broke the habit of setting my direction in forms by "landmarks", whether they be the front of class or other features of the training area...

A group I was training with was training hard on a form. And everyone looked good, in practice. When it came time to demonstrate what they'd learned -- several people got lost! The final demo was in a completely different place, and the ones who got lost had shaped their practice by landmarks in the original area... Without the "tree there" and "creek here" -- they didn't remember which way several moves went...
 

terryl965

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We get together and work drills with someone blindfoder, it helps with your perception when you are dpoing it and man it does take some getting use to.
 

Chris Parker

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Regularly. We train with our eyes closed for kinesthetic reasons, for visualisations, to aid in adrenaline training, for intuition techniques, and more. And yes, it does make a fair bit of difference. But the important thing, as dancingalone said, is the purpose of the training exercise. I would advise having a particular outcome or focus in each drill (it sounds like balance could be a first focus for yourself there), and in that way you will find that you are able to get more out of each exercise without getting overcome with every detail of the new experience.
 

Stac3y

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We do forms and sometimes kicking/striking drills (with multiple people holding body shields) with eyes closed. I love those! I think they're great for really learning a kata, as well as getting your techniques and reflexes ingrained so that you can still spar effectively with sweat in your eyes or when you lose a contact lens.

I also practice kata (on my own) facing in different directions to make sure I don't get locked in to telling my direction by landmarks.

One really fun balance-improving exercise I did last year at the beach was to do kata right at the edge of the water, where the tide kept pulling the sand out from under my feet. It was very helpful (my balance is terrible due to inner ear issues, so I have to work at it) for balance, and combining beach and karate was SO COOL.
 

Flea

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In my Systema class we work with our eyes closed a lot. It's great for developing sensitivity. I find that I'm more comfortable doing drills without vision; personally it cuts down on the anxiety that sometimes comes with the "I'm gonna get hit!"

Another good friend of mine was proficient in TKD and had let it go for several years. He completely lost his sight and went back to the MA after getting mugged one day. Now he has a black belt and uses a 6' bo instead of a white cane. :whip1: So it can work both ways.
 
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