Tunnel Vision Self DefenseYou may have received some advice that I’ve also been given: “When getting into an altercation, stare your opponent down.”
In other words, stare the person dead in the eyes.
Maybe that works for school yard bullies….maybe…but it’s not the best advice if you’re on the street.
You see, one of the challenges with this advice is that once you begin staring into their eyes, you begin to get tunnel vision and your peripheral vision is impaired. This makes it difficult to watch the person’s hands, or possibly detect another attacker.
It’s true that you can learn a lot about a person by looking into their eyes, but in a self defense scenario, you need to be aware of everything that is going on around you.
Consequently, if you don’t watch the person’s hands and body movement, then you’re going to miss their intentions. What I mean is, the eyes can”t actually hurt you, but a person’s hands, feet and body can.
If you get locked into tunnel vision, whether on their eyes or otherwise, then you can’t see their hands move to punch, push or grab you; you can’t see the person blade their body or shift their body weight; and you won’t see the person move their leg to kick or trap you.
Your senses will be heightened and you’ll be surprised at how aware you’ll become, if you train to do so. If not, you may fall victim to tunnel vision and lose the advantage from the very beginning of the attack.
So when you’re talking to a person or confronted in some way, watch the person’s body. I’ve never been hurt by someone’s eye staring at me, so I’m not going to get locked onto their eyes.
Watch their hands, watch their elbows, watch their knees, watch their feet, these are the things that can hurt you. Watch how they shift their weight, notice the direction they point their feet, notice if they bring their hands above their waist – these are the signs they may be getting ready to hurt you.
Keep your focus broad so that you don’t get into tunnel vision watching any one part of a person’s body. Move your eyes around noticing their movements and positions.
Until next time…stay safe!
Mark Roscoe
Senior Instructor
Shoken Self-Defense Academy


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