The Eyes Have it

It has been said that the eyes are the windows of the soul. Perhaps that is true. There is much that can be gathered from looking into someone's eyes. But there is more to the eyes than meets the eye.

In the practice of "any" martial art, the importance of the eyes is often neglected. As a result, many practitioners suffer from lifeless forms and inhibted sparring and spirit. So how do we pump new life and spirit into what we do Quite simply, pay attention and focus on what you're doing!

Here are some guideliness to follow that will dramatically improve the way others will perceive you and the way that you perceive yourself.

1. Keep your eyes open and focused on the moves at hand. Don't look asleep or comatose as you're moving. If you feel sharp you will look sharp.

2. Move your eyes with your moves. If you turn, your eyes should be there first. If you lunge forward attacking, your eyes should lead the charge.

3. When sparring, or, if need be, fighting, do not be afraid to look your opponent in the eyes. Your eyes have a power which can direct energy, or chi. When you combine proper movement with proper conviction and correct focus (eyes) you will be hard to stop.

4. Be aware of your eyes. If you focus on your eyes for a brief moment now you'll notice that they widen ever so slightly. Try it now. Pay attention to your eyes and you should feel a change in them. Feel the power that this simple exercise can generate. Now apply that power to everything you do and you will be amazed at what you can accomplish.

One of my teachers, Master Ralph Shun, always stressed the use of the eyes in everything. He used to say that if we pay attention to something as simple as the eye movement in a form, it will translate into incredible power later on. He was right! Keep paying attention to your eyes and see what they can do for you also.

Rick Zanotti is a Master of Kung Fu specializing in Northern Shaolin and Tai Chi and is the president of a software development and consulting firm.