Aristotle classified five human senses. They are sight, hearing, smell, taste, and touch. When we fight we use most of these senses. However a talented student of the arts will tap into more ambiguous senses. Those may include but are not limited to the sense of time, balance (equilibrioception), joint motion and acceleration, (proprioception and kinaesthesia), and pain (nociception). (This is the part where I break off into a story that centers upon one of my idiotic moments as a student of the martial arts.)
I’ve always been proud of my kicks. I was particularly good at spinning kicks. However, as I advanced, I came up against people who were reading my spinning kicks and stuffing them. Stuffing is a striking term used to describe a situation where one fighter closes the distance on another fighter, not allowing them room to punch or kick. There by effectively stuffing their attack. The problem was, I would spin, then “look” for my target, before throwing the technique. It was a big “tell” that also wasted time. So, not only was I “telling” my opponent what I was about to do, I was also allowing them time to counter. I had to learn to execute techniques without looking for my target. Which meant I had to KNOW where my target was as opposed to seeing where it was. I had to train my brain to use the more ambiguous senses. I had to calculate distance, my speed and my opponent’s speed. Then I had to figure out where my target would be at the completion of my technique. I had to KNOW where my opponent and their body parts would be in relation to my body parts. This eliminated the “tell” and gave the illusion of me being faster than I actually was. I wasn’t any faster, I was just eliminating the time-wasting step of looking and sighting a target.
Years later I’m training in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, and my partner tells me, “I knew you were going to do that because I saw you “look” before you attacked.” So, I’ve developed a “tell” in BJJ. I’m depending on “SEEING” my opponent. I need to go back and train by brain to KNOW the location of my opponent and their body parts. By knowing instead of seeing, my attack will be faster and I won’t give away my intent by looking.
See also: Seeing vs Knowing, Part I