One method fighters practice is using their peripheral vision to detect attacks since peripheral allows one to detect movement quicker than does direct vision. Detecting movement this way requires no training, it’s just the way our eyes work. However, precisely reacting to the movement with the hands does take training.
An aspect of reaction speed is separating the movement of the hands from the foveal, or central, focus of the eyes. We tend to look at what we move our hands toward. If you have to re-center your vision after each movement, you react slower since you are doing two eye movements to react to an attack instead of one.
Although I haven’t tried it, one method used to train the hands to work with peripheral vision is to hang two strings parallel, a little more than shoulder width apart, and then hang wood, spring-action, clothes pins randomly along each string. You then walk between the strings with your eyes defocused straight ahead toward the far distance. As you walk between the strings, you try to unclip as many pins as you can from the stings without moving your eyes from the center focus.
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