Peripheral Vision

Discussion on the three big Chinese internals, Yiquan, Bajiquan, Piguazhang and other similar styles.

Peripheral Vision

Postby KEND on Thu Sep 21, 2017 10:34 am

Quote from Wiki: Peripheral vision is a part of vision that occurs outside the very center of gaze. There is a broad set of non-central points in the visual field that is included in the notion of peripheral vision. "Far peripheral" vision refers to the area at the edges of the visual field, "mid-peripheral" vision exists in the middle of the visual field, and "near-peripheral",
I was trained in this as part of a shamanic study. It speeds up response to incoming blows. If for example you look at a ceiling fan out the corner of your eye it appears to slow down, you are aware of the motion but cannot see details. It is also used when you 'soft focus' on an opponent. Anyone had experience of this
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Re: Peripheral Vision

Postby Steve James on Thu Sep 21, 2017 10:57 am

Yeah, one can see moving objects faster and cover more area with peripheral vision.
it's interesting that some arts stress looking at the opponent's eyes, while others direct their gaze elsewhere.
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Re: Peripheral Vision

Postby kenneth fish on Thu Sep 21, 2017 10:58 am

I have taught that as a prerequisite for speed / reaction training and fighting for many years. What surprises me is that it is not a commonly taught concept. IMO the only time one should gave intently at one's partner's eyes is if one is romantically involved - the eyes do not convey any useful information for fighting reactions.
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Re: Peripheral Vision

Postby Peacedog on Thu Sep 21, 2017 12:49 pm

Interesting.

A variety of military training I received over the years stressed never to look directly at a group of people you were about to attack from a position of surprise. You were to use your peripheral vision to observe the group until the moment you attacked.
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Re: Peripheral Vision

Postby windwalker on Thu Sep 21, 2017 1:36 pm

Traditional CMA training covers how, where and the why of how to use the eyes.


The science behind it is interesting.

The differences between central and peripheral vision start at the backs of our eyes where we have two types of light-sensitive cells, called cones and rods. Our central vision uses an area densely packed with cones. Cones are sensitive to color and need ample light to function well. Our peripheral vision uses mostly rods and almost no cones. Rods are sensitive to movement and quickly pick up changes in brightness. They function well in a broad range of light conditions.
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Re: Peripheral Vision

Postby windwalker on Thu Sep 21, 2017 1:38 pm

Peacedog wrote:Interesting.

A variety of military training I received over the years stressed never to look directly at a group of people you were about to attack from a position of surprise. You were to use your peripheral vision to observe the group until the moment you attacked.


This might have been more related to "intent" something that people can feel
if its directed at them.
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Re: Peripheral Vision

Postby Wanderingdragon on Thu Sep 21, 2017 2:25 pm

Peripheral vision is a form of awareness and should be trained as such, first you must take in the big picture, once you are aware of all that is involved, you can focus on immediacies. To focus on the periphery can cause tense reflex action placing you in jeopardy of over reaching leaving you vulnerable, instead the awareness of challenges in your periphery can allow you to determine their immediate concern. These days are good for training peripheral vision, every time the wind blows a fallen leaf during your training give it you attention, count the leaves that actually move, all while maintaining focus on your training, step on or catch the closest wind blown piece.
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Re: Peripheral Vision

Postby LaoDan on Fri Sep 22, 2017 9:18 am

I recently wrote an article on this topic that I plan to have posted on the Slanted Flying web site. Unfortunately, it probably will not be posted until early next year (I have 3 other articles submitted before this one, and he only posts about one of my articles a month).

Here are some preview quotes from the pending article:
...
In both solo and interactive practices, we want to train to have a “wide-angle” vision such that we have awareness of the whole body, from the hands to the feet. The “binocular” vision of humans is good for focusing both eyes on an object, enabling accurate depth perception, but sacrifices peripheral awareness. Our eyes are not as wide set as in prey species, like rabbits, where safety requires a wide visual awareness so that predators do not sneak up on them.

While humans are not capable of seeing behind us (rabbits can see almost 360° horizontally), we should be able to have visual awareness of about 180-200° horizontally and 125-135° vertically. About 60-70° of the horizontal visual field does not have binocular vision since only one eye can see those parts of the field. Our field of view narrows considerably when we focus intently on a single object, the so called “tunnel vision.”
...
Gallop states that “...it is the nature of our culture that emphasis is placed on the small details, not the big picture; on outcome, not process; on stasis, not change. Central/foveal vision is about static details and outcomes. Peripheral vision is about movement and process, and it is involved with detecting and understanding the big picture – the context and changes in our environment. It represents the bulk of what our world demands that we process visually.” This information on peripheral vision fits well with Taijiquan’s emphasis on change and movement.

Central vision and hard focus are more about reaching out for information, whereas peripheral vision and soft focus are more about receiving information, letting information come to us. This receptiveness should be accompanied by alert awareness since we do not want to reach the stage where we lose interest; we should be aware of when we stop letting new information in.
...
While wide angle awareness may have evolutionary importance in protecting us from danger, modern society has trained many people to limit our visual capabilities. Gallop states: “We are typically taught early in school that we must block out all distractions and concentrate entirely on the task at hand. We quickly learn to narrow our focus to a small volume of space/time in order to carry out our required duties. This type of behavior is not innate and, in fact, requires considerable effort to achieve. Nonetheless, with repetition this becomes an automatic behavior, one that is likely to manifest any time we are engaged in some demanding task...”

As martial artists, we need to practice to overcome this behavior that has become automatic for many of us. We need to practice having a soft focus, a wide angle vision. As an optometrist, Gallop found that “While it is not at all a simple matter to maintain optimal peripheral awareness at all times, it is surprisingly easy to enhance this function enough to make a meaningful difference in overall visual performance.”
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Re: Peripheral Vision

Postby dspyrido on Sun Sep 24, 2017 2:55 pm

Consensus here is that peripheral vision is importantn which raises the question:

How do you train it?
How do you apply it?

Why is this an advantage over not placing any emphasis on it and for example training around it?
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Re: Peripheral Vision

Postby Steve James on Sun Sep 24, 2017 4:53 pm

Imo, the issue isn't developing peripheral vision; the issue is using it. For ex., it's similar to speed-reading training. I.e., when we read, we don't look at every letter. Most can read one word at a time. But, some can train to read the entire line of text --as soon as they see it. It's even possible to read paragraphs or even pages.

Try it. Look at the paragraph without focusing on any word. How much can you understand? One exercise is to try reading a license plate in one glance. Hint: don't verbalize the letters or digits.
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Re: Peripheral Vision

Postby dspyrido on Sun Sep 24, 2017 5:03 pm

But in martial context?
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Re: Peripheral Vision

Postby Steve James on Sun Sep 24, 2017 5:09 pm

See the whole opponent, and be aware of the whole world. Avoid combat tunnel vision.
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Re: Peripheral Vision

Postby dspyrido on Sun Sep 24, 2017 8:43 pm

I'll clarify with some examples of peripheral training:

1. Do the usual deflections from 4 corner, 6, 8 to random with an emphasis of looking at the throat or chest yet seeing all around
2. Speed ball - try using a speed ball while facing slightly to the side and eyes are front facing (ie not straight on to the speed ball). Peripheral vision must be applied to the and hand eye coordination.
3. Watch my hand - hold up a pad and have to follow it with a strike on a verbal queue but in the background the other hand or limbs are used to attack - the defender must use peripheral vision to keep aware or multiple targets.

Other examples?

The last question regarding emphasis is that although I believe in peripheral vision training I know people who don't seem to emphasise it and do just fine because they drill. Whether they are using peripheral vision or not IDK but just leaving it as an open thought.

A final thought is that peripheral vision rolls into sensing and feeling. Instead of see, read and respond there seems to be a faster reaction time on feeling and reacting. So peripheral vision can play a big part in sensing an incoming attack which is translated into feeling & reacting. Pretty esoteric & I don't have any evidence other than anecdotal but I'm sure there are plenty of internalists that would like to jump on this.
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Re: Peripheral Vision

Postby KEND on Mon Sep 25, 2017 8:05 am

The PV appears to pick up small movements, for example if someone is going to punch there may be a slight tensing of the shoulder, this leads to 'you move, I move first'. A similar kinesthetic effect is when you are bridging and feel a slight change in pressure. Each gives an early alert to the nervous system.
One exercise I learnt[through shamanic rather than MA training] was to hold the two index fingers at eye level in the center then move them apart focusing on center and two fingers simultaneously.
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Re: Peripheral Vision

Postby LaoDan on Mon Sep 25, 2017 9:52 am

There are several therapeutic training methods, but it seems like there is agreement that jugglers have superior peripheral visual awareness. If you want a fun way to improve yours, I would recommend learning to juggle. For MA, just shift your soft focus point as appropriate (e.g., to the opponent's chest) while retaining the peripheral awareness.
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