Thought For The Week

Thought for the Week (November 25th, 2002)

From Sensei Joe Knight
East Meets West Karate Club of Virginia


Visual Awareness

This weeks thought/technique concerns visual awareness. It is imperative
that the eyes be totally integrated into our karate do. This applies both on and
off the deck.

The Green Book documents this precept on page 17.

"A warrior while engaged in conversation perpetually scans the area. The
eyes take notice of the surroundings and the arena. This precept is hardly
noticeable and appears to be a half-hearted disinterested glance here or
there. The peripheral vision concept is the Gan precept, and is the primary
tool of the military, police officer, martial artist or warrior. It is a life
saving mechanism without which the warrior would be useless to himself and
others. It also must be utilized on an almost subconscious level, allowing
the warrior to key on hundreds of indicators simultaneously without dwelling
on one or two."

The Gan precept must be developed thru hard work and sweat, as with the
development of strength, balance and technique.

It starts with the beginning of class, in the seizai position, visualizing
the perfect kata visualizing giving a total effort to the workout at hand.

It continues with the warm-ups, keeping the eyes engaged with your
surroundings. Do not disengage the eyes when stretching. Do not roll the
eyes aimlessly during neck exercises. Visually engage your surroundings while
performing knuckle pushups. Make it second nature. It should occur without
effort- do not force it.

During kata, do not blink during execution of blocks, strikes, kicks or
punches. This is the exact moment when body and mind must be totally
committed to defeating your opponents. This is where the eyes must trigger
and lead the movement/technique thru the target.

Another common kata habit requiring discipline to break is looking down
during turning moves. Nothing could be more damaging during a fight than to
visually lose your enemy in such a vulnerable posture. Again the eyes must
trigger and finish the movement.

We also must not leave this precept at the dojo. The eyes should always be
engaged during the course of the day. Ready to detect and quickly/confidently react to changes in our surroundings. This quiet confidence is projected outward thru the eyes, and in itself can prevent an attack. The aware deshi cannot be victimized. A battle already won without a fight!

Domo Arigato-

Joe Knight
San Dan/Director
EMW Virginia Karate Club