What should you look at?

Joab

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When I took Tae Kwon Do the teacher said to look at the part of your opponent that your striking. When I took American Combato I was told to look at your opponents eyes, not where your striking, "your feet will find the target". When I took Krav Maga I was told to look at your opponents chest. What do you think? What part of your opponents body should you look at?
 

Sukerkin

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It sounds like a Mr Miagi cliche but you should look at nothing but see everything. It is best to have your eyes pointing at the centre of mass - the chest does fine for this. But do not focus there. If you 'stare' then you will not take in the subtle movements of limb and balance and even breathing that let you react more quickly to any attacks.

The term used in Japanese arts is zanshin. Loosely this means 'awareness' and can tighten down to a single opponent or widen out to take in everything around you.
 

Rich Parsons

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When I took Tae Kwon Do the teacher said to look at the part of your opponent that your striking. When I took American Combato I was told to look at your opponents eyes, not where your striking, "your feet will find the target". When I took Krav Maga I was told to look at your opponents chest. What do you think? What part of your opponents body should you look at?


From my experience and what I was taught, if you chase the opponents weapons you will focus on the weapon (* be it hand/foot/head/or something held in the hand *) and you will at best only be able to play catch up.

If you look at the chest as stated already most people can see the feet and their vision in total can perceive the movement and react.

Looking at the eyes is good if you can still see the feet. It does many things. It offers challenge to the opponent. It also lets you know where (s)he is looking, for they may not be looking at your eyes or chest. This could give you a feel for where they are targeting.

Of course the best part of looking at the eyes, is to looking into someone eyes and then look at some part of the body, then look back. If they are paying attention, then they will move to stop you from countering this perceived attacked. This is when you move in and take advantage of their movement to counter and position yourself for a good strike. So, you bait them with your eyes.

My recommendation is that if you are not the one baiting with your eyes, and you are being baited, and do not feel comfortable baiting with your eyes, then step back and offer to buy the person a drink. ;)
 

searcher

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You should never look at where you are going to strike or at your opponents weapons. I am very suprised that your TKD instructor said that. I like what Sukerkin said and that is pretty good. Very good. I have my students look at the eyes or mouth, the eyes will give most people away.

In the end, it is up to you and as time passes you will make the decision on what works for you.
 

terryl965

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I have to agree with some here, never focus on a certain target. You should be training to be effective and that means a never ending set of strike that has no pre-set movement. Your memory will guide you to te target not your eyes.
 

seasoned

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It sounds like a Mr Miagi cliche but you should look at nothing but see everything. It is best to have your eyes pointing at the centre of mass - the chest does fine for this. But do not focus there. If you 'stare' then you will not take in the subtle movements of limb and balance and even breathing that let you react more quickly to any attacks.

The term used in Japanese arts is zanshin. Loosely this means 'awareness' and can tighten down to a single opponent or widen out to take in everything around you.
This small bit of information is very valuable, but sometimes misplaced in the big scheme of things. Well said Sukerkin.:asian:
 
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Joab

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You should never look at where you are going to strike or at your opponents weapons. I am very suprised that your TKD instructor said that. I like what Sukerkin said and that is pretty good. Very good. I have my students look at the eyes or mouth, the eyes will give most people away.

In the end, it is up to you and as time passes you will make the decision on what works for you.

To be fair to him, it was, in context, while practicing a back kick against a very heavy bag that another student was holding. He was telling me to look at the bag I was kicking.
 

shihansmurf

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I watch the chest.

Especially when sparring Mrs Smurf......

:)


Its too easy to be mislead by visual cues when watching the face. People have a tendency to look where they are going to strike and a savvy fighter that realizes that you are watching for that can misdirect you by looking at one target then striking another.

Mark
 

GBlues

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When I was young my dad told me to watch the waist. Anywhere the waist moves your opponent moves. The big thing I think, is being able to see your opponent limbs. If your within striking distance and you are watching his eyes, then you may not be able to see his feet. If your watching his waist you may not be able to see his hands. If you watch his chest, you can see everything, except the eyes. You learn to watch from edge of your vision. If your eyes are going all over the place from hand to hand, to foot, to foot, your going to miss something. YOu can't watch everything bouncing back and forth. So set your vision in one spot, but have soft eyes. Don't become to focused on watching that spot. Set them there, and then concentrate on watching with periphreal vision his limbs. Also you can see most of your targets from watching the chest. That's my opinion. And it is just that an opinion.
 

just2kicku

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Personally, I look at the chest and shoulders. My peripheral can see the rest. I shoot center mass, I look center mass.
 

BLACK LION

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I use an off center vision of sort and focus through them and beyond. Concentrating only on the shoulders and hips as all else could betray you.

I can focus on every target I need by focusing on the whole picture.... kind of like point shooting... you dont have time to line up the sights and take your breaths so you can gently squeeze... its quick and its dirty but it has a purpose, a mark and an end result.
 

Bruno@MT

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It sounds like a Mr Miagi cliche but you should look at nothing but see everything. It is best to have your eyes pointing at the centre of mass - the chest does fine for this. But do not focus there. If you 'stare' then you will not take in the subtle movements of limb and balance and even breathing that let you react more quickly to any attacks.

The term used in Japanese arts is zanshin. Loosely this means 'awareness' and can tighten down to a single opponent or widen out to take in everything around you.

Yes. This is what my teacher tells me. Although we look more towards the face, you don't exactly focus on it. If I had to put it into words, it would be like looking 'through' him.
 

Bruno@MT

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To be fair to him, it was, in context, while practicing a back kick against a very heavy bag that another student was holding. He was telling me to look at the bag I was kicking.

That is indeed a slightly different scenario, and I would bet he said that to prevent you from kicking 'blind'. If you do a back-kick without looking, you don't know where your opponent is or what he is going to do. So that is a case of looking where you are going to hit.
 

CuongNhuka

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I (without trying) tend to look at my opponents abdomen when on the defensive, or while feeling out my opponent. When I intend to attack, I tend to look at the chest area.

However, I once took a Seminar held by the Founder of a Ju Jitsu Ryu (I could get into him later). He pulled one of the students out and had this student look at different parts of the Masters body. When the student was watching the torso, he couldn't see the attack coming, and could only barely hit the Master. When he watched the eyes, it was the opposite. When the student watched the hips, he could kind of hit Master, and he could kind of defend against his attacks. But, when the student looked past the Master, he could easily defend against him, and easily hit him. I'm not sure why that works. But, I do know that it is hard to do, and very effective.
 

MJS

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When I took Tae Kwon Do the teacher said to look at the part of your opponent that your striking. When I took American Combato I was told to look at your opponents eyes, not where your striking, "your feet will find the target". When I took Krav Maga I was told to look at your opponents chest. What do you think? What part of your opponents body should you look at?

If you look where you're going to hit, that may give your attack away. Of course, you could do that as a fake, and then strike to a different area. However, IMO, I think that we should look at a spot that will give us the best view of the entire body.
 

astrobiologist

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I've never really thought about it or been instructed as to where to look. I like what Sukerkin had to say. Focusing too much on one area would distract you. I've pretty much always kept my gaze somewhere around the upper torso (chest, neck, shoulders).

I have noticed that when first learning a technique, it seems like human nature to focus on the target and the weapon. When we gain a level of competancy it then seems like we are able to work the technique on a resistant opponent without having to strictly focus our sight on either.
 

seasoned

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At first we are trained to look at something, but in time we are taught to look at nothing and see everything. My Sensei called it the karate gaze. A way of seeing, but not looking at. Looking at, freezes the mind in time, and in turn affects our reflexes. We would practice concentrating on our breathe while looking at an object. In time what this would do is open up doors of perception in our mind. Once we could gaze, while concentrating on our breathe, we would clear our mind, the fraze is called "no mindedness" where once the mind was clear of focused thought it allowed us to to see events as they unfolded. In essences, I teach to look at the chest, but in time with the above practiced daily, to not see the chest but gaze through the chest, unfocused.
 

ACJ

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To be fair to him, it was, in context, while practicing a back kick against a very heavy bag that another student was holding. He was telling me to look at the bag I was kicking.

He probably just meant look at thing your kicking, so your opponent, rather than the actual point where you strike.
Otherwise what everyone else has been saying, look at your whole opponent and don't over focus.
 

Chris Parker

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Hi,

The idea of "where" to look isn't really the most important, I feel; rather, the emphasis should be on "how" you take in the opponent(s). In this, there is little better advice than Sukerin's first comment on Zanshin, and this (no matter what particular terminology you or your system use) should be achievable with any technique.

The differing schools and arts will have various answers to the exact place your eyes whould rest, but all will have this concept at the heart of their reasoning. The idea is to be aware enough that you are able to see an attack coming, and also be in a position where you become aware of any openings, giving you attack possibilities and counter-attack options. This is predominantly achieved through a sort of "diffused focus", where your eyes settle on one or another point (the shoulders, the centre of the chest, the movement of the hips etc), but you maintain your peripheral vision to take in the entire body. This is not only a useful thing for the above reasons, but also because under the effects of adrenaline, your vision will tunnel, and the only way to keep your peripheral vision in this situation is to have trained (ideally under adrenalised circumstances) to be aware of, and maintain it.

But to give some examples of those methods taught, the Koto Ryu teaches it's practitioners to look between the opponents' eyebrows (this is designed to give the false impression of eye contact, while allowing you to keep the opponent in your vision); Yagyu Shinkage Ryu teaches to focus your attention (note: not your vision!) on three various points: between the opponents hands when they are holding a sword ("The Two Stars": to allow you to see the direction of their cut), between the wide part between the elbows ("The Peak and Valley": to see when an attack is coming), and the shoulders ("The Distant Mountains": when the opponent has engaged); the Go Rin no Sho (and by extension, the Hyoho Niten Ichi Ryu) actually teaches that you should never have a particular focus, as that is another limitation, but instead to maximise the breadth and range of your vision, while making the point that the observing and percieving eyes are different things; others teach to watch to the right shoulder (again, based in Japanese swordsmanship), and so on.
 

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