Eye Strike Common Mistakes to Avoid

A very neglected, but very effective Krav Maga combative is the Eye Strike. This video addresses common mistakes to avoid. It shows all the details to prevent injuring the fingers when landing this strike. Many tips are presented to maximize the accuracy, reach, and speed of this technique. It shows you how to safely use the Eye Strike in live sparring in order to get good at it on a resisting opponent.


“Hi, this is Randall with KravMagaTraining.com. In this video I’m going to discuss some important details to delivering a proper eye strike. I found with the eye strike there’s a lot of small details that are often neglected by most students. I’m going to address those today, cover them, and explain why they are important.

First with the eye strike is the a proper hand position. If you’ve watched any of my other videos when it comes to the, for example, the 360 defenses, or the palm strikes, or the chops, the hand position is exactly the same. So if you’ve watched those videos and you’ve already gone over this hand position, I apologize for repeating myself. But it’s really the same hand positioning and it’s really important.

Most beginners, when they deliver an eye strike, they just have a poor hand position. The thumb’s sticking out like this, the fingers are apart, their hand is just not very stable and there’s a good chance they are going to injure their fingers in their strikes are not going to be as strong.

So here’s the appropriate details to a good hand position for the eye strike. First of all, the thumb, I want to take the knuckle on the thumb and I want to bend it and tuck my thumb in. This does two things. One, when you bend the knuckle on the thumb you will feel your hand tighten up. It will get really strong. Where as this is hanging out like this, it’s kind of loose and not stable. Also, you’re more likely to get your thumb bent back and injured. So if you bend that knuckle on the thumb you’re going to feel your hand get a lot stronger. It’s like the equivalent of making a tight fist when you punch. Well this is like a tight hand position for when you deliver the eye strike.

The next thing is, when you have this hand position, if your fingers tend to bend slightly, that’s normal. Everyone is a little different when it comes to that. But the most important thing is that your fingers need to be together to stabilize each other. Sometimes I see new students, they kind of get a little sloppy and their hands are like this. You want your fingers together because they are less likely to get injured when they are supporting each other. A common position for this hand is called a knife hand position in a lot of traditional martial arts. I’ve never seen any style have a position called a fork hand. All right. Because I’m sure there’s some crazy ass style that does something weird like that but most styles they teach to keep the fingers together because they know it’s a lot safer for your hand.

So that’s the proper hand position when you deliver your eye strike. Make sure that you start with that. Don’t neglect that.

The second thing that I see that’s a common error is not to deliver the eye strike in the proper trajectory. They’ll get their hands and they’ll poke it straight out. So I’m doing it towards the camera so you can see that it’s going from here to here. The correct trajectory of the strike is a small arc. Okay, it’s not a big wild swing like I’m doing a big karate chop. But it’s not straight in either. It’s a slight arc because when you make impact with the person’s eye, or even worse, maybe you were a little off and you miss and hit them on the forehead, what you want to do is when you make impact with the side of your fingertips. And this serves a few purposes. One, if you do miss and you hit them in the forehead, you’re less likely to get your fingers bent back. If I go straight in like this and I miss, or even maybe I do hit them in the eye, yeah that would be great, but now there’s a good chance that I’m going to injure my fingers by bending them back. If I arc it and hit with more of the sides of my fingertips, the fingers aren’t going to bend backwards like this. So I’m less likely to get them jammed.

The other benefit of using this trajectory where it arcs out is that you’re less likely to miss. If I go straight in, I have to be pretty accurate to hit one eye or the other. If I arc it, as long as I’m on the correct line of sight right here, I’m more likely to hit it. So it gives you a little bit of a larger margin of error. You don’t have to be as quite as accurate. Like you said, as long as you’re on the correct level, there’s a good chance that you’re going to hit one eye or the other. Even if you hit the bridge of their nose, if you have that trajectory, it will slide off into one eye or the other. So I definitely suggest you arc it for those two reasons.

Third, the mistake that beginners make is, once they get the proper trajectory now, that slight arc, they tend to hit the target and keep following through. And there’s a couple problems with that. One is if I do this it’s a big motion and I’m leaving myself open, it’s going to take that much longer to pull my hand back. So it arcs out, once it makes impact with the eye it comes straight back. Like that. Not this big swatting motion.

Also, if you do that and you start hitting your practice target like that, people start bitching like ‘Ow! My fingertips are starting to hurt!’ That’s usually the culprit, that’s the reason why. Instead, don’t hit it, slicing through. Instead, make impact and just bring it straight back. So don’t, none of that scraping sound. Hear the ‘thud’? There’s a big difference. So make sure once you make impact, bring it straight back. Not slicing through an scraping up your fingertips. That’s no fun.

Okay, the next thing that I see that’s a common problem is make sure that you use the lead hand for your eye strike. If I want to use my left hand, I have my left leg in front. This allows me to maximize my reach, as well as the speed of the technique. If I use my rear hand, it takes longer to get to my target, and also, I don’t have as much reach. When I’m on this side I have a lot more reach. When you, if you want to use the other hand, you should switch feet. I’ll never use the eye strike with the rear hand. Okay.

Now, in order to maximize your reach, it’s really important that when you deliver this eye strike that you, notice this shoulder turns forward, and on impact, notice how this shoulder, this shoulder, this hand, they’re all on one line. That’s how I maximize my reach. If I don’t do that you can see how I’m losing my reach here like this. Especially if my shoulders stay squared up. I see sometimes I see a really bad mistake, they’re just doing this. I want to be like this.

In my opinion, out of all the hand strikes that you can use in a fight, this is one of the safest ones to use because it allows you to hit your opponent with your hands at the farthest distance away from them. I’m at a distance where I can still eye strike him at almost the same distance that I can kick him. That’s one of the cool things about the eye strike. Whereas for punches, you tend to have to be a lot closer. So if you’re just jockeying around while I’m fighting this guy, I want to mess with him a little bit, measure him up, kind of see how they react, the eye strike is one of the safest techniques to do it. But remember, in order to do that make sure you use the lead hand and make sure to twist your body so all of that is lined up. Don’t make the mistake of using the cross hand.

Now, I’m a big proponent of sparring, especially for advanced students. If you want to get good at anything you have to do it in live training. But the question comes up is ‘Well, how the hell am I supposed to do eye strikes because I, obviously, don’t want to injure my training partner?” You can’t just be poking each other in the eye like the Three Stooges. Like a bunch of dumbshits. So this is what I do to practice my eye strike. I’ll wear my normal gloves just like I would use when I spar. But, instead of delivering a power jab like this, when I’m sparring I will use that same trajectory with the eye strike like this when I’m sparring to simulate that. And what I do is I aim for my sparring partner’s forehead. When we’re wearing headguards, most headguards tend to have a logo on the top of the forehead, like this Revgear headguard right here. That’s what I actually aim for. I try to take my glove and try to be pinpoint accurate and see if I can just pop them in the head as I’m sparring with them. Any of you students who are watching this video and have sparred with me, I guarantee that I popped you all at least few times on the forehead like this. And you’re probably wondering ‘Why the hell is Randall doing that?’ Well there’s a couple of reasons. One is because I want to get better with my eye strike. Two, sometimes I just want to pop you guys in the forehead and I don’t want to be a dick and I don’t want to snap your heads back with a power jab. Maybe you’re, I just want to let you know your guard is a little low without rattling your brain and making it that much more frustrating for you. So anyways, if you want to get good at your eye strike, advanced students when you spar, practice that. Let’s pretend this bag right here, he’s got his headgear on. Or for some of you guys who are crazy and don’t wear headguards think about popping your partner in the forehead. And when you’re sparring, you are doing all your stuff, that’s what I’m aiming for. Right on top of the forehead. I’m sparring, I’m using my regular kicks, ‘bam, bam’, there’s my eye strike. So that’s how you practice it without injuring your partner. Obviously, you can’t eye strike each other for real.

Anyways, there’s a shitload of training tips to get better at your eye strike. I apologize. This video is a bit longer-winded than some of my others but those are some of the common errors that I see when people are doing the eye strike. And I suggest integrating these techniques, or these details if you haven’t already. And advanced students try sparring with your eye strike because it’s just like anything else, that’s how you’re going to get good at it.

Anyways, thanks for watching this long video. I hope these tips help you guys out with your eye strike.”

“The Eye Strike is illegal in every type of combative sport. This makes it an excellent technique to use for Krav Maga and self-defense!”