Sunday, April 3, 2011

How to Use Your Eyes

Let us talk about how to use our eyes. You may be puzzled at hearing me say I will teach you how you use your eyes. You would say that you are using your eyes to watch things every day. In martial arts training, the most important, and the very first, thing to learn is how to use the eyes. It may be the first thing and the last thing to learn in any fighting skill. A person skillful at a martial art can easily know if the person he is facing to fight is skillful or not. He learns it from his opponent's use of the eyes.

Let us assume that two Japanese swordsmen are fighting. The skillful person would pay attention first to how his opponent uses his eyes. If his opponent were an experienced fighter, this person's eyes would not move much. The opponent's eyes would be focused on his eyes and would not move, even when he moves his sword. In contrast, the inexperienced person's eyes would follow the motion of his sword as he moves it. If the skillful person found that his opponent's eyes follow his sword's action, it would be easy to win by tricking his opponent.

When I was riding a motorbike, I found that my motorbike was directed in precisely the same direction as my eyes. Riding in the sharp bend of a road with an outside cliff, a rider afraid of falling off the cliff would naturally watch the cliff side. If the rider watched the cliff side, his bike would be directed closer to the cliff side he was watching. In contrast, if the rider is not afraid of the cliff edge and continued watching the direction he is turning; his motorbike would go through the center of the sharp corner and turn smoothly.

Let me bring the story back to the fighting swordsmen. The skillful swordsman could know the next move of his opponent. If his opponent watched his hand first, then his head, his opponent would be thinking to attack his hand first and head second. However, he needed to be careful, noticing his opponent's eye movement. He might be moving his eyes intentionally. If he paid too much attention to his hand and head, he would attack his body side instead of his hand and head. The skillful would be able to judge if his opponent's eye movement is fake or real by watching his eyes.

This would be useful outside of the martial arts realm. One could be careful to ask him a question if he is watching true movement or just the misleading fake action of an opponent's sword. The truth may be hiding behind the visible scene.

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