Targeting – How to attack the eyes

The eyes are very personal, attack them and you’re going to piss somebody off, so it behooves you to know what the fuck it is you’re doing, before you go and make the BG angry without gaining any advantage.


Ever had somebody knock your glasses off your face? I’ve done it to my brother repeatedly over the years, and every single time he got inordinately pissed off (well, I thought it was inordinate at any rate). The eyes are personal, very personal. Think about it this way, you can touch your lovers most intimate of tender bits, but I’m pretty sure you’ve never touched their eyeballs. So be aware of two things up front: 1 – attacking the eyes can be considered a very high level of force (lethal or close to it – depending), so it’s not something to target without good reason; and 2 – it’s probably going to piss the guy off. So the BG who wanted your wallet might end up wanting your wallet and to hurt you. This is not a don’t-do-it warning, this is a do-it-right admonishment. So do it right and there shouldn’t be a problem.


How you attack the eyes has to depend on your goal. As always, everything depends on what your goals are and what the situation presents. So it’s important to make sure you’ve consciously chosen your goals and that you keep them in mind.


Let’s say your goal is to escape as quickly as possible so you can get home. If you and the BG are standing, then a quick jab to the eyes might buy you the short time you need to turn and run, or to maybe hook his elbow for an arm drag so you can get his flank/back. But if you’re on the ground and the BG is on top of you, then you may well be better served by grabbing the back of his head so you can grind your thumb into the inside of his eye socket and make a genuine effort at removing his eye from his head.  Swapping those 2 responses around is likely a bad idea. Goals and situation.


Lower level attacks on the eyes are usually the short contact, jabbing type attacks. Things like a straight jab to the eyes, or “wiping” the finger tips across the eyes (think windscreen wipers from just below the temple on one side of the face to just below the temple on the other side of the face). I like these types because they can be quick and sneaky. Because they’re not dependant on delivering force into the BG they don’t need much weight transfer, structure or exact range to work.


I was roughhousing with my son a while back and caught a fingernail on my eye. I immediately covered up my face and kinda curled up. It’s taken 2 years and 2 ophthalmologist visits to heal now, and it still plays up occasionally. Every time it acts up I end up basically incapacitated from anywhere from 10 seconds to 3 or 4 minutes. All from a little bitty finger. And the other night I was doing a bit of “sticky hands” drill and caught a full on finger straight into the eye (I’m sure I felt my eye get squished inwards a bit), and after blinking twice I was fine, no pain, no nada. 2 totally different effects from 2 similar low level eye attacks. So remember one of the golden rules: You can’t depend on a specific reaction from a specific attack.



Pain compliance – I’m not going to hit you with the medical stuff (check out Scaling Force for a nice medical summary on a bunch of different targets), but every target can be attacked for a variety of different applications. Of course, the eyes could be used for pain compliance. This will likely involve either a prolonged squishing the eyes with the fingers, or repeated jabs (no, really, watch the link for about 30 seconds to see Hollywood’s best demonstration of eye jab pain compliance – and here’s Hollywood’s second best example, just because it’s funny). But as with all pain compliance, it can lead to wild thrashing, giving the guy more energy and reason to fight harder, and just all round backfire on you. Being so personal, I’d recommend against the eyes for pure pain inducement. (Also, being so easily considered a high level of force, if you need pain compliance, there are plenty of excellent targets that are less likely to lead to permanent damage.)


Damage – No doubt about it, the eyes are a great place to cause debilitating damage. From massive amounts of pain, to psychological trauma, to being impaired in a fight because they can’t see, the eyes can be useful.


Lethal force – If you need to kill someone, the eyes aren’t the direct way to do it (not saying it’s not possible, just that it’s less useful than a knife in an artery). Attacking the eyes  can be a great distraction to set up something more damaging, but then again, wedging the eyeball out it’s socket is likely to stop things from going further (BG drug use notwithstanding).


As with many targets, you can attack it with a range of different force levels.


Lower level: light jabs (no weight behind them); quick “wipe” across the eyes; throwing sand/powder/liquid at the eyes (arguably low level); heck, blowing a quick gust of breath in someone’s eye can get you a blink; throwing a visually obstructing object at the eyes can have its place (e.g. a towel over the head; a newspaper shoved in the face to cover your movements); a bright torch shone in the eyes might not be the be-all-end-all that some online forums would have you believe, it can be very effective at covering some movements.


Higher level: pushing/digging into the eyeball; trying to wedge the eyeball out it’s socket; and, as always, use a weapon – knife, rolled up paper; coffee granules [hat tip to Lawrence Kane from Scaling Force]; twig from the ground; deodorant/toilet/furniture spray; basically anything pointy enough to get past the bits of the face that protrude past the eyes (sticks, toothpicks, toothbrush, uncooked spaghetti).


How to train it

If you’re training with a partner? With goggles or safety glasses or a paintball mask. If you’ve got a fencing mask? Then train the eye jab with gloves on to save your finger tips from the cheese-grater effect of fencing masks.

Training for the eye poke/jab is mostly a matter of accuracy. Put a sticky dot or small blob of presstick (blutack) on a wall. Walk up to it and practise your non-telegraphic super-quick hand motion. Poke the dot every time you walk past it. Make it a habit. It’s kind of like doing pull-ups every time you go past a doorframe, get into the habit and you accumulate a whole lot of practice over time. Oh, and make the dot smaller than an eye, the smaller the target the more accurate you’re forced to become.

Heck, you can duct tape a keyboard to a wall. Have someone call out a word and you have to jab the word as quickly as you can from arm’s length away. Bonus points for dirty words


Give me a shout to let me know what target you want me to discuss next, or if there’s anything targeting related you’d like me to cover as well.

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