When I was wrestling in college, my coach was Mark
Schultz, NCAA, Freestyle Wrestling World and Olympic Champion. He would
often train with his eyes closed. That allowed him to have a greater sense of
feel and he was able to rely on his other senses more than his vision.
I tried this myself in Grappling training and it worked really well. What I
liked most about it was it allowed me to use my other senses, especially feel
and balance. When you can’t see where you’re going, or see what you’re
doing, your sense of position and your sense of feel become much more
heightened. I think when you do this, it allows you to feel where your
openings are. It allows you to feel where your opponent’s openings
I like this best for Grappling; it also works well for
Wrestling. However, it’s not good in a Takedown situation where both
wrestlers are on their feet. Training “blind” works best when you’re on
the mat; working Top and Bottom positions; working Guard positions; working
Submission positions. It makes you slow down because you can’t see what
you’re doing. By slowing down, you allow yourself to develop your
positioning and get a better understanding of openings.
I like training with my eyes closed because it allows me to have a good sense of
balance. If I feel like I’m going over, I feel it more because it
becomes the dominant sense.
Keeping your eyes closed allows you to develop
better balance. You’ll be able to feel where your opponent has tight grip and
loose grip. You can hone in on which grip is the real threat.
A good example of this is when you’re defending a Rear Naked Choke; it’s really easy to fight
against the wrong arm. The arm that’s the real threat is the one that is
closest to your neck, not the one underneath your arm. And a lot of times
people will defend the wrong arm because it’s the closest or they just don’t see
the right one but when you can’t see what’s going on you’ll be able to feel
really quickly which arm is the most important to defend against.
This will help you with your Grappling and Submission Wrestling technique. By
training with your eyes closed, you’ll be able to have a better sense of feel
and balance and you’ll be able to improve in your training much faster.