E is for Eyes…and Energy

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During April, I’m writing 26 posts for the A to Z Blog Challenge. I’m combining my skills as a writer, a life coach, and a martial artist (2nd degree black belt in ITF Taekwondo) to create a series of posts about applying aspects of TKD to life outside of martial arts. Whenever possible, I’ll include a little Taekwondoodle to illustrate what I’m talking about.

In Taekwondo, we are always working to get our eyes, feet, hands and breath operating together. It’s an underlying principle in the Theory of Power – that if our movement, breathing and visual focus are all happening at once, the end result will be powerful.

In training, this often gets shortened to ‘look where you’re striking’  – which doesn’t necessarily mean to look at your hand or foot, it means to keep your eyes on your training partner.*

This same basic idea is also encapsulated in ‘where your eyes go, your power goes’ and that’s where the connection to the rest of your life comes in.

Ink drawing on white paper of a person in a martial arts uniform. Their stance is wide, their right arm is half way across their chest, their left arm is extended out to the left. Their head is turned toward their left arm.

Turns out sitting stance is challenging to depict. Their eyes are in the right spot though.

You have to choose your focus.  You have to choose where to apply your power, your energy.

I know that we have a lot of things competing for our attention, and we may not have a lot of choice in how we spend our time.

We can, however, take charge of our energy – of what we put our metaphorical ‘eyes’ on.

If you focus solely on how far you are from your goal, you will become discouraged.

If you keep your eyes on where people let you down, that is all you will see.

If you focus on only one area of your life, it will loom large.

All of your energy will go where your eyes are.

That makes it a good idea to be choosy about your focus.

None of this is to say that you need to pretend nothing bad is happening. I’m not suggesting that you ignore the challenges around you. I am suggesting that you keep perspective and put your energy and your power toward the way you want to view the world.

Keep your eyes where you are striking. 

Where do you need to keep your eyes at the moment?

(It’s okay if you keep having to remind yourself to look that way. It takes a lot of practice.)

*When we’re doing drills, we often refer to the imaginary person as an ‘opponent’ but when we are practicing with another person, they are our training partner. It sounds like semantics but you know how I feel about the power of words and the stories they shape. A training partner is helping you get better, an opponent must be defeated. There is very different energy in those two things.