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Where to look when sparring/fighting?

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#1
Gregor

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Personally, I am not a very eye-contact heavy person and when sparring I accordingly have a defocussed look which goes through my partner's midsection and with which I try to take everything in at the same time.

Would you rather generally recommend 1) this defocussed look or 2) looking your partner/opponent in the eye and why? Personally, I would still need to force myself to do the latter and should be doing it to experience the differences.

Furthermore, when do you recommend to deviate from either your 1) or 2) standard? For instance when looking at incoming attacks for optimal blocks? Do you switch from defocussed to eyes or vice versa when sparring/fighting?



#2
NewThai

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Pretty sure I'm using the Force.
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#3
K. von Duuglas-Ittu

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Personally, I am not a very eye-contact heavy person and when sparring I accordingly have a defocussed look which goes through my partner's midsection and with which I try to take everything in at the same time.

Would you rather generally recommend 1) this defocussed look or 2) looking your partner/opponent in the eye and why? Personally, I would still need to force myself to do the latter and should be doing it to experience the differences.

Furthermore, when do you recommend to deviate from either your 1) or 2) standard? For instance when looking at incoming attacks for optimal blocks? Do you switch from defocussed to eyes or vice versa when sparring/fighting?

 

Sylvie's definitely a no-eye contact person, so this is a thing that she's wrestled with as well. Hopefully she's hop on and talk about it. But til then I'll just note that last week Chartchai, former WBC World Champion boxer, and former Muay Thai fighter told a friend of ours that best is to look right below the chin, maybe the throat or collarbone area. He said that a lot of fighters look at the eyes and end up with their punches floating up, missing high. If you look here though they land right on target. Believe me, he said.


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#4
Emma Thomas

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In my old gym, I was always taught to look directly in my opponent's eyes, so I got pretty used to that. It's weird to me now, though. In any case, I'm constantly trying not to look where I'm about to strike, so I don't tell them what I'm about to do. 


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#5
Gregor

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Sylvie's definitely a no-eye contact person, so this is a thing that she's wrestled with as well. Hopefully she's hop on and talk about it. But til then I'll just note that last week Chartchai, former WBC World Champion boxer, and former Muay Thai fighter told a friend of ours that best is to look right below the chin, maybe the throat or collarbone area. He said that a lot of fighters look at the eyes and end up with their punches floating up, missing high. If you look here though they land right on target. Believe me, he said.

Very unusual and unexpected advice. Thanks for that input, I will (attempt to) give it a try. On a related note: During a drill in my last session where we were supposed to reply to a standard mid-kick with a punch, I noticed that my standard mid-section look was too low as I did not have good vision of where my partner was moving his head. The Chartchai tip, which would mean looking up for me, might indeed fix this. On the other hand it might worsen my aim for mid- and low-kicks? Gotta experiment with this.

 

In my old gym, I was always taught to look directly in my opponent's eyes, so I got pretty used to that. It's weird to me now, though. In any case, I'm constantly trying not to look where I'm about to strike, so I don't tell them what I'm about to do. 

Yeah, if your partner/opponent telegraphs where he/she is attacking with his/her eyes - something which I noticed in an exercise with one partner - then that would be an overwhelming reason for (often) looking into the eyes. I don't think I am giving away where I am attacking but I could be wrong.


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#6
Sylvie

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I played soccer as a kid and learned to watch the hips because you can't move anywhere or anything without telegraphing there a little bit. So I look at kind of the hip/torso area. Sudsakorn told me to watch this area as well, although I've also been told to look at the chin and upper chest (like a rectangle that includes both those areas) because you can see everywhere from there. Namkabuan wanted me to look right in his eyes but I can't do it. With my own trainer I will occasionally look right in his eyes after a good shot or as a kind of moment of recognition when he or I get something good on each other, but that's based on years of becoming very familiar and playful with each other. I don't do that with anyone else.


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#7
Gregor

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I played soccer as a kid and learned to watch the hips because you can't move anywhere or anything without telegraphing there a little bit. So I look at kind of the hip/torso area. Sudsakorn told me to watch this area as well, although I've also been told to look at the chin and upper chest (like a rectangle that includes both those areas) because you can see everywhere from there. Namkabuan wanted me to look right in his eyes but I can't do it. With my own trainer I will occasionally look right in his eyes after a good shot or as a kind of moment of recognition when he or I get something good on each other, but that's based on years of becoming very familiar and playful with each other. I don't do that with anyone else.

 

The momentary conclusion, in other words, seems to be that there is no concensus on where to look even among professional fighters and legends. Rather interesting.



#8
Fighting Frog

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When working pads I try to keep my gaze on the centre of the upper chest, just below where the clavicles meet.

When sparring, I stare into my trainer's eyes. However I am blind as a bat without glasses so it doesn't feel 'awkward' to be staring directly like that because I can't actually see his eyes beyond being blobs anyway! :wink:


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