Watch the elbows?
If you are a hand watcher, it is better to watch the elbows. If fist moves, so does the elbow, and, since the elbow is farther away than the fist and it is easier to read because watching it does not strain the eyes as does watching the closer fist. In addition, because it is farther away, the elbow moves more slowly than the fist, which makes it easier to read. In a linear attack, the elbow moves approximately two and one half times more slowly than the fist. In a circular attack, the elbow moves approximately four times more slowly. The longer you can follow the path of the strike (and thus detect it sooner), the longer you have to let your reflexes work for you.
Watch the feet?
A good kicker will kick without any upper body indication that the kick is happening. I tell students to kick as a swan swims. If you watch a swan moving around on the surface of a clam lake, it moves gracefully through the water with no other visible body movement. However, just below the surface, its legs and feet are rigorously kicking. A good Taekwondo kicker kicks in the same manner. There is little indication above the waist that a kick is coming. You will not know a kick is coming until you feel the pain. Therefore, if you only watch the hands, you will get kicked a lot.
When a foot attack fires, the last thing to move is the foot. Before the foot can leave the floor, the body weight must shift to the other leg and the kicking leg must start to lift. Since foot is last thing to move, it is a waste of time to watch an opponent’s feet in an effort to detect a foot attack. If you do not react before the foot moves, you will probably get hit by the foot because, although the foot takes much more time to reach the target, due to the distance it has to travel and the mass of the leg that must be moved, it is still quicker than you can react to. When it comes to total reaction time, the foot can also be faster than the eye.
Therefore, if you watch the opponent’s feet for a kick attack, you will probably get hit by a kick anyway. Since the hands are so versatile, powerful, close to your vital areas, and quick, if you watch the opponent’s feet, you will probably get punched a lot by the opponent’s hands.
So, if it is not good to watch the opponent’s hands and not good to watch the opponent’s feet, what should you watch? Should you watch the opponent’s head?