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Eyesight and Combat
Clued and James Discuss their Failing Peepers in a Combat Context


I was wondering what you know about eyesight in regards to training.

Specifically, I’ve always had to wear extreme corrective lenses or contacts; without them I am comically nearsighted, so bad in fact I can’t even read large print unless its 3 inches from my nose. Objects aren’t recognizable as anything more than a blurry blob at more than a few paces, can’t even recognize a shape as a person unless they’re a couple feet away, and of course all this means my hand eye coordination is, and always has been, abysmal.

Is it even possible to spar or train decently if I’m always having to worry about my lenses or contacts getting squashed in? I’ve tried stuff in the past but it always seemed to me that I had to take so much extra care to protect my face, it made so much more of a hassle out of it. That plus my seemingly retarded levels of hand-eye coordination was a big discouragement.

I guess to sum it all up, can the training be hard enough if I’m always having to worry about glasses or contacts.

Thanks again for your time,


Man, I’m sorry about your eyes. But this is not the end of the road.

Briefly, even with shooting long guns, I have found that my better than 20/20 eyesight as a young man did not permit me to hit a man size target at 30 yards while my brother, with mere 20/20 [I used to be able to read the line they don’t ask you to read] was hitting milk bottle caps. My hands were so shaky I was hopeless. But at 53 years, with a little coaching from Ishmael, I actually hit a beer can from that range with my failing eyesight and no glasses.

Let’s set aside weapons and speak on boxing and eye sight—but recall, that stick and blade fighters wear fencing masks that obstruct vision by up to 70%.

The second best boxer I ever trained with, Dan Funk, was clinically blind in both eyes. All he saw was shadows. So he trained as a counter puncher. Any time you hit Dan it was like ordering a combination from a punching machine. Here is how you can learn to box.

-Take out those contacts and glasses.

-Touch the wall. Move. Touch it again. Move. Touch it twice. Step away and touch it. Step to the side and touch it. Move, touch and move.

-Do not lean, reach, stretch etc., but slide your lead foot slightly as you drag the rear foot.

-Keep your feet the same distance apart all the time.

-Bend your knees slightly.

-Flex your rear foot slightly.

-Make sure you maintain a one-inch space laterally between your lead toe and rear heel, with both feet pointed obliquely to that line at about 30-degrees.

-Hang a sheet of paper from a doorway and practice stabbing it with your fingertips, shaped into a spear, with the fingers slightly bent.

-Now begin punching this paper in such a way as it makes a popping sound.

-Hang a speed bag. If you can’t, than hang a double-ended bag.

-Access instructional videos on the use of these bags.

-Get used to missing by shadowboxing one round for every round you hit the bag. Do not extend the arm until it locks out, ever. Even top boxers miss most of the time.

-Mentally, your boxing is self-defense, meaning a counter to an attack. Your punches are based on your balance and your rhythm not you picking out a target.

-Imagine you have been pushed or punched or grabbed. Tuck your chin and punch back.

-The speed bag is your best contact tool. I can hit a sped bag with my eyes closed. You can hit this bag in 4-beat rhythm, with about 10-12 hours practice. I suggest you spend your first 10-12 hours working the speed bag with your corrective lenses on. Then take these off and begin adjusting and making your form abide by your tactile and rhythmic sense instead of your sight. The most important thing with the speed bag is to keep your hands up and your shoulders down and relaxed.

-Most of all, do not make your choice to punch a slave to your sight, but make yourself into a punching machine.

-Once you have done this, work on moving small distances between every punch or every combination:

Slide, punch, slide.

Punch, slide, punch.

Step & jab, push off while throwing the rear hand, pivot while throwing the jab, slide of and jab.

Now chain those beats together.

Have a good time with this.

Do this for a year before you spar.

Get a copy of The Punishing Art.

For inspiration watch the original TV series Kung Fu and the B-movie starring Rutger Hauer, Bling Fury.

Good luck, Man and do not get discouraged. Just keep working.

The Punishing Art

Add Comment
JohnnyDCanuckApril 12, 2018 4:39 PM UTC

As a practicing optician, I urge caution. Extreme myopia is often accompanied by a thin and fragile retina. A sharp blow to the head can tear the retina. Sometimes the tear can be repaired, albeit imperfectly with a laser treatment, sort of like a spot weld and sometimes a scleral buckle can salvage some of the vision. Not pleasant. Please, consult your eye doctor before you engage in unnecessary risk.
responds:April 15, 2018 9:33 AM UTC

Thank you for that.

Clued, if that is the case, than non-contact training is better than no training.