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Part 2: "The seven secrets or criteria of the knockdown fighter

Updated: May 22, 2022

This is the second article in a series on "The seven secrets or criteria of the knockdown fighter". I would like to remind you that these 7 criteria are the selection of various criteria that I have elicited from 3 models, 3 multiple national and international champions in Karate Knockdown during a victorious fight.

2. Stop the internal dialogue.

3. Filter out external noise (concentration). Obtained by the "auditory and visual tunnel".

4. Be in external awareness (this allows you to focus your attention on the other person and avoid any sensation of pain on yourself, useful in full-contact combat, as our attention is "dissociated" from ourselves).

5. Recognise the anomalies and weak points of your opponent. In a non-conscious way.

6. Distorting time to see the other in slow motion and increasing speed.

7. Being physically relaxed, but alert (zanshin) and the mind focused on the opponent, but without attachment (mushin). In this way, the movements are more explosive and the timing impeccable.

First criterion: Peripheral vision

Did you know that the main reason why we wave our hands in front of an opponent is to attract his attention on a precise point in order to place him in a focused gaze (foveal vision) and thus make him leave his peripheral vision? This way he will not detect the movement you are preparing for him in a hundredth of a second. This is why I often tell my knockdown fighters: "Everything you won't see if you are not in the peripheral position, you will feel it more strongly. And that goes for your opponent as well." The first secret with the peripheral vision: If you are in peripheral vision and your opponent is in foveal vision, your chances of winning at that moment are multiplied by 10. Find out more about this first criterion.

Here is an exercise to place yourself in peripheral vision

1. Take this picture and enlarge it. Place your gaze (in foveal vision) precisely on his nose. And take a few moments to see what is happening in front of you, and to hear what you can hear around you, and feel what you feel inside you. So I'm asking you to be present to what is happening at the moment as you observe her nose and face. Then maybe your gaze will go to the hair on his chest and the shape of his left glove and the smoke behind him. Let your gaze go to where he wants to go now.

2. Now return your gaze focused on his nose. Then, from the corner of your left eye, look at the boxing glove to your left and from the corner of your right eye, look at the right glove. While holding part of your gaze toward the nose, see both the left and right glove and the whole picture as a whole. How is your attention span now? What do you see, hear and feel differently when you are in peripheral vision (and peripheral hearing and peripheral kinesthetic sensation)? Do you feel that your body is more relaxed in peripheral vision? While placing your attention on the whole image, expand your peripheral vision to everything that is happening outside the image, and is observe everything that is happening in the whole environment. To your left, to your right, up and down, forward and back. What happens when you enlarge your peripheral vision? Do you feel "plus connecté » avec votre champ relationnel, avec votre environnement ?

What is peripheral vision and what are its benefits in karate?

In any physical altercation, whether it is a fight or a self-defense situation, it is important to be aware of your surroundings. This is often called having "peripheral vision". Most people only use the direct center of their foveal vision to focus on what is in front of them. This can be a fatal mistake in a physical confrontation or competition.

Peripheral vision is the ability to see things that are not directly in front of you. It can be a useful tool in karate because it allows you to see the movements and reactions of your opponents as a whole. It can also help you avoid being hit by an opponent's attack. Peripheral vision also allows you to see around obstacles. One of the characteristics of peripheral vision, unlike focused vision, is that it detects movement because of the greater number of rods in the peripheral retina.

By training your peripheral vision, you can improve your performance and your karate fighting. You will be able to detect the muscle contraction of his shoulder, chest, hips, legs, feet and any micromovements of the body and eyes. You will recognize that a specific muscle contraction is essential for a given technique. This is why we say that a master or a combat specialist can know what his opponent is going to do before he does it. Some believe this ability is the trait of a genius or a "sixth sense". The bad news is that I'm going to disappoint some people who think this is mystical, but this phenomenon is completely natural and part of our nervous system. But the good news is that everyone can develop this ability to see what the other person is going to do. This is part of what I call VK vision, which I will talk about in another article.

Eye micromovements or how the eyes move

Have you noticed that when a person talks they move their eyes? There is a reason why those eyes move and I have talked about it extensively in my series of books on psychoverbal self-defense. This is used to defend ourselves verbally and psychologically against a person who tries to manipulate or attack us, but with words and gestures. Therefore, we must develop a range of psychoverbal techniques to respond to these people without hitting them. The use of eye micromovements is one of the advanced techniques in my psychoverbal self-defense system. My understanding of this dimension in Karate has allowed me to better develop and apply this technology. Let's continue with the application of this in Karate.

The small movements of the body will precede the large movements (attacks)

These micromovements, for example, his gaze moving to a particular part of your body is a signal from his cognitive mind that will then give a command to the body (the somatic mind) to strike in that direction (in the relational field).

Because you know how to detect your partner's or opponent's eye movements, you will perceive what his mind is doing even before he reproduces it in his body.

Because you have analyzed his fighting system, his fighting style, his reflexes, and his choice of techniques, you know that when he looks in a certain direction, he will reproduce this movement. Here are some of the easiest examples to understand in Kyokushin Karate. Your partner looks at your thigh and hits you in the thigh. He looks at your head before giving a roundhouse kick. He looks at your body before punching it. I talked about this phenomenon in a previous article and how to use it to your opponent's detriment.

Peripheral vision is the part of your vision that is outside your direct line of sight. It is what allows you to see what is going on around you, even if you are not looking directly. Peripheral vision is important in karate because it helps you stay aware of your surroundings and react quickly to threats or attackers.

The role of peripheral vision in karate fighting: How is it useful?

One of the key elements of using peripheral vision is the ability to detect a person's eye movements and react accordingly. By understanding how a person's mind works, a karate practitioner can better plan their attacks and defend themselves. This knowledge also allows them to read an opponent and determine the best way to neutralize them.

The importance of detecting a person's eye movements during a karate fight cannot be overstated. If an opponent is able to follow your eyes, they will be able to anticipate your next move and gain an advantage over you. This is why it is so important to keep your eyes in peripheral vision, even when you are simply standing still. Because your eyes will be moving less, it will be hard for your opponent to predict and beat.

In Karate, what is more important than detecting your opponent's movements?

In karate, the ability to detect a person's eye movements is extremely important. In fact, according to several research studies, detecting a person's eye movements can give you an advantage when fighting them. The study found that people who were able to quickly follow their opponent's eye movements were more successful than those who were not. This is likely because being able to anticipate what your opponent is going to do allows you to react more quickly and defend yourself more effectively.

Peripheral vision is essential for karate practitioners because it helps them keep track of their opponents and react quickly. Peripheral vision allows practitioners to see around their peripheral area, which gives them a better understanding of their surroundings. This knowledge allows them to defend themselves more effectively and anticipate their opponent's next move. In addition, peripheral vision can help practitioners track the flow of energy in a fight, which can help them determine the best course of action.

The use of peripheral vision in karate fighting is often overlooked, but it is a very important aspect of the sport. Peripheral vision allows you to see what is going on around you without having to look directly at it. This can be useful when trying to avoid an opponent's attack or when looking for an opening to strike.

Peripheral vision allows us to be more relaxed and enter into what I call "second mindfulness" where we let our cognitive mind and our somatic mind be "connected" or aligned.

Peripheral vision also plays a role in relaxed states. When you are relaxed, your peripheral vision is sharper and you are able to react more quickly. This can be especially helpful in a fight, where movement and reaction time are critical.

Training to improve peripheral vision: What exercises can be done?

There are many exercises that can be used to improve peripheral vision. Here are some simple examples.

You can focus on a specific point in front of you, then slowly sweep your eyes to the left and right.

A partner can pick up targets or battle mitts. You place your gaze on your opponent's chest and move into peripheral vision. He then places the mitts in a specific spot and you must strike immediately. Any work with the striking mitts should also be done in peripheral vision, as you will detect movement more quickly.

Get in the habit of walking around from time to time to place yourself in peripheral vision and see what is in front of you and on either side.

Fight multiple opponents at the same time. You won't have a choice but to use peripheral vision. Fighting with one person tends to narrow our vision and put us in tunnel vision.

Do katas in groups and at a very close distance. Your peripheral vision should allow you to see all the movements around you.


This article examined why peripheral vision is important for karate and how it can be used to detect your opponents' movements. Peripheral vision can be a useful tool in karate because it allows you to see your opponents' movements and reactions as a whole. It can also help you avoid being hit by an opponent's attack. Peripheral vision allows you to see around obstacles that are not directly in front of you. It allows you to be more relaxed and react more quickly. It opens your "second attention", which creates a connection between the mind and the body, what we call psycho-somatic. This mind-body state allows access to all the creative and generative potential that our unconscious mind has within it, which allows us to act elegantly in our relational field (the "battlefield").

Gaëtan Sauvé

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