Struggling with your eyes closed

Fighting with your eyes closed is something that you have certainly seen in many cases to see some movies where martial arts techniques or closed-eye workouts were studied.

Now apart from cinematography, it is really a working method that serves to develop the kinesthetic characteristics and propriocetion of our body to perceive the presence “listening to the contact” of our skin that is very sensitive in perceiving even the smallest movements.

A small premise about what is kinesthetics and proprioception:

  • Body-kinesthetic intelligence consists of the ability to use one’s body in very different and skillful ways, for expressive as well as concrete purposes: to work skillfully with objects, both those that involve fine finger movements, as well as those that require control of the whole body.
  • Proprioception is the ability to perceive and recognize the position of one’s body in space and the state of contraction of one’s muscles, even without the support of sight.

Struggling with your eyes closed

Your skin contains millions of pressure receptors and when your eyes are closed it becomes much easier to be aware of the input they receive.

This allows you to “feel” more about your fight whether it’s standing contact in clinch/trapping or whether it’s jiu-jitsu (or fight in general) and to become more sensitive to subtle variations in the weight distribution of yourself and your opponent, and feel even the smallest changes in muscle tension.

Facing a training partner with your eyes closed is an excellent method to acquire sensitivity, balance and timing.

When you close your eyes, you lose the balance you’ve been given by the visual landmarks you usually have.

As a result, the organs of the inner ear responsible for the balance of the body become more tuned and increases the sense of balance, position and contact.

This greatly improves kinesthetic awareness or ‘body sense’.

The space and environment around you

Space awareness, the ability to know where your body is in space, is also greatly enhanced.

High levels of kinesthetic and spatial awareness are hallmarks of good athletes and are some of the most vital elements for an all-round game whether it’s standing or ground fighting.

Speaking of fight and Jiu Jitsu, without going to , when you fight “from above” an increase in sensitivity will allow you to feel where the spaces are in your control positions and keep the pressure in the right places and instead when you fight “from below” it will be possible for you to feel where your opponent is putting pressure and where it is out of balance and susceptible to sweeps and bridges.

Because this sensory-pressor data is processed much faster than visual sensory data, you can teach your body to use it as a primary feedback mechanism during the fight, your reaction times will eventually improve significantly by taking your fight “game” to the next level.

Another advantage of practicing in this way is that when your eyes are closed you have a tendency to relax, which is vital for your progress in combat.

Then choose a training partner you trust and catch with your eyes closed for 20-30 minutes a week.

You will be amazed at how much your game improves both standing and on the ground.

My advice is to do this exercise that you can use for different martial arts, I explain better:

  • Muay Thai — > Clinch from blindfolded entrances and exits with blows and no knee blows
  • Self Defence (JKD, Eskrima, Wing Chung, Krav Maga, etc.) — > Chi Sao and Trapping by blindfolded. Hubad Lubad by blindfolded in Kali/Eskrima. In addition to this especially if you study situations with firearms and with threat knife / robbery perform these exercises from blindfolded (clearly the weapon in contact). It is important to feel the location of your attacker’s weapon and body.
  • Brazilian Jiu Jitsu or Grappling (Fight in general) — > Fighting with your eyes closed by sparring is something that takes your fighting game to the next level, your whole body needs to perceive and feel your opponent.