Martial arts instructors teach karatekas to always keep one’s eyes locked onto the opponent’s eyes. Why is maintaining eye contact important during sparring?
The eyes are the window to the mind!
As the karateka studies the opponent, he/she can learn to anticipate the opponent’s moves correctly by the facial “telegraphing” that most people unconsciously use. They eyes will generally show where the opponent is aiming prior to their strike and will give the karateka a chance to counter or adjust.
It is extremely difficult to mask feelings, so they are not reflected in the eyes or face. A mere blink or tightening of the muscles can indicate intent or change.
Dropping one’s eyes can be interpreted as a weakness or a sign of fear; however, a piercing stare can be very unnerving! This can be used not only in the martial arts but, in any situation where intimidation is desired.
A stare is commonly felt to project an aggressive personality. The true projection should be one of supreme confidence, even if one feels far from comfortable in a situation.
Using peripheral vision will also give a view of the opponent’s upper torso so the shoulders are visible. This concentration enables one to anticipate the intension of the opponent. Shoulders will tighten and start to move in the direction of a punch or shift of weight.
Anytime a student is sparring in a tournament or even in class, it is important to remember to focus on the eyes of the opponent because…
The spirit is always in the eyes.