One of the most difficult part of combat is to learn how to read an attack when squaring off with an opponent. It is the point in which all combat starts off at, the first strike to the second and so on. Let’s face it, if we knew an opponent’s attack, we could easily create (with proper training) a counter attack to give us the edge to defeat our adversaries. There are many different telegraphing points an opponent can show, but which ones should we look for?
Now there are certain schools that would tell us that it is the shoulders that one should look for because it moves just before the arms do signifying an attack, while others might say that it is the eyes that give away the practitioners intentions because he will look to what he wants to hit, yet others will say to look at the elbows because the placement of that joint will tell us if it is a swing or a jab, while yet, some may even say to look at one’s stance because it shows his strong side versus his weak side. There are many ways one learns to read when and how one strikes, but the one question remains is, “Who is right and who is wrong?”
The answer to that question is that they are all right and all wrong at the same time. If one were to telegraph what you are looking for, then it would work. But what if he shows another part different from what you are looking for? That would then work against you. There is always a sign in which one can see, but not every practitioner attacks the same way or in the same manner. Every practitioner attacks differently therefore showing different signs. Since there are many different ways one can telegraph attacks, what do we look for when we don’t know what the opponent will show?
The answer to this would be NOTHING. What do we mean by that? When one looks at a specific thing, then it is all he sees. He creates a tunnel vision in which he loses site of other signs that could be seen but cannot because he is too busy looking for the one specific thing. By looking at nothing, one can see everything. By this we mean that one can pick up any movement occurred because he is not focused on a certain motion, but rather picking up anything that is initiated without thought allowing the practitioner to act without distraction.
When looking for a specific target, an opponent that knows what the practitioner is looking for can use that against the practitioner by feigning a strike. The practitioner can also lose sight of his surroundings as he becomes focused on an opponent allowing others to attackers to sneak in strikes unaware. When one looks at nothing, he not only picks up any movements better, he is also able to recover from any feigning attacks because he does not “jump the gun” to intercepting the strike but rather moves subconsciously as opposed to emotionally.
This technique is achieved by using our peripherals not only giving us the ability to see a wider range, but also allows us to see without looking thereby cutting off the thought process which delays action. While we are taught as young children to always look at someone when talking to them, we have become accustomed to focusing through our “frontal view” and lost our peripherals. We get into the habit of looking before acting while our peripheral allows us to act without looking or thinking. Your eyes have a natural tendency to focus on movements.
The saying “the hands are quicker than the eyes” holds true. Our eyes can become blurred when there are too quick or too many movements. Strikers who create flurries of hits can cause us to lose sight when trying to look too hard. With the peripherals, this doesn’t’ happen because your side view doesn’t have the ability to focus, but it does have the ability to sense motion which gives us the chance to respond to actions a lot faster because we do not need to ” look before we act.”
One technique I tell my student to develop a good habit is to look off to the sides to pick up things like your keys or a pencil, or anything of that sort. Look at the object then turn away from it and use your peripherals to pick up that object. In this manner, one will develop and widen your sight from both your sides. By looking away with what you see, you develop what you don’t normally see with.
So remember, in order to see, try NOT TO SEE.
Thank you and God bless