Monday, 15 June 2009

Eye Gauges for Self Defence

During UFC 99 Mirko Crop Cop beat Mustapha al Turk and during the fight inadvertently poked him in the eye. The eye gauge is a very dangerous but effective technique when performed correctly.

Most combat sports have made strikes to the eye illegal (quite rightly so) and for this reason this article deals with the technique from a self defence point of view and if one practises merely for sport should not attempt to train the technique.

Eye gauges have been used by martial artists for hundreds of years (see the pankration fighters on the ancient greek vase on the right). Nukite is the name used in Karate for finger strikes. Finger strikes are always aimed towards soft targets such as the throat, groin area or the eyes. However, when aimed towards the eyes, is it better to strike, in the same fashion as a punch from a distance away from the opponent, or to press during a grappling situation?

An eye gauge strike which is thrown in the same fashion as a punch is very hard to pull off during actual free fighting. Finding a target as small as the eye is hard when done with speed. If you add the fact that your opponent will be moving also, this makes it even harder to achieve and if you miss the eye, you could injure your fingers by striking the forehead or another hard surface. For this reason an eye gauge strike is probably not as effective as maybe a punch would be.

Eye gauges from a grappling situation are much more realistic and effective. Imagine you are clinched somehow with your opponent or grappling around on the floor. As you are holding your opponents head, clothing etc it is very easy to simply slide a finger or even better a thumb towards your opponent’s eye (see the picture). Instinctively if you simply touch around the area of the eye, never mind the eye itself, your opponent should draw all his attention to that, possibly leaving himself open to further techniques or providing you with the opportunity to flee the area, which is even better.

Being such a dangerous technique, the eye gauge must be practised with extreme caution. When practising the grappling version with a partner instead of actually going for the eye with a digit, aim for just above the eyebrow. Do not press hard against the area as it can be very easy to slip.


 Subscribe to

Related Articles...
Kata Bunkai with Vince Morris
Karate Lunge Punch for Self Defence Training
Ineffective Martial Art Techniques
Dealing with the Sprawl and Brawl
Most Commented Martial Art Articles

Tags: , , ,

I'm reading: Eye Gauges for Self DefenceTweet this! Share


Elias said...

Something that was taught to me in Krav was to use the thumbs to gouge the eyes, and to use the fingers to grasp the back of the head low, more to the neck area if possible. This makes it extremely difficult to disengage from someone who is gouging your eyes out, and as you said, it hurts!!

Chris | Martial Development said...

If you are close enough to casually slip your finger into the opponent's eye...then they are probably close enough to do the same to you.

John W. Zimmer said...

Good comments Marks - I found a journal of manly arts (search on google) - vol 2001 (left side bar) with an article entitled, "The Social Significance of Fighting in the Southern Backcountry." I guess people in the states - Deep South used to use mayhem in some of there fighting methods.

I'm really glad we are more civilized and only resort to gouges as a last resort nowadays - good info.

MARKS said...

ELIAS - The picture of the greek vase above shows a person being caught in a type of head lock/neck crank and retaliating by gauging the eyes with the thumbs and pressing the back of the neck. The same technique you where taught in Krav Maga seems very similar to what fighters where taught hundreds of years ago. Whatever works is what is needed, as long as the situation is called for. Thanks for the comment.

CHRIS - I completley agree with you, which is why it is very important to practise the technique and defences to it under a controlled enironment. One must always be prepared.

JOHN - Thanks for the info! Techniques like these must be used only when the situation is called for. I think the picture of the greek vase teaches us this. The person gauging seems to have his neck cranked(which can be very dangerous) while about to be struck also.

Actually, looking at it shows that the person performing the neck crank also has one leg wrapped around his opponents making it hard for him to turn in order defend the neck crank, which could be very dangerous indeed if applied with full force and with speed. Similar to the Twister used in modern day grappling or Bas ruttens
Exorcist Crank

An eye guage would be a technique one could resort to in a situation like this. Thanks for your comment and making me look into the picture further. lol

Post a Comment