Jonesy, on Nov 16 2009, 02:31 PM, said:
Can you provide me with reference texts/material that you think reinforces your belief that you are correct.
I agree with your sensei and I am Japanese, French and UK trained in kata.
I do not claim to be correct nor wish to contradict anyone. I am just adding another data point. I was taught thus for Katame (I learned in the US, in a series of 5 clinics with Fukuda-sensei):
-- From the far position, eyes gaze beyond uke, on the shomen side (or if tori is at uke's head, to gaze beyond uke's feet).
-- After arriving at the near position, the gaze comes down directly onto uke.
Also, in Otaki & Draeger's book "Judo Formal Techniques" (JFT), they specifically mention tori's gaze for each technique. They are specific this way:
-- from far position, the eyes focus beyond uke
-- Coming in from side, in near position, gaze turns to uke's face
-- after completing technique from side, gaze turns to uke's body
-- coming in from the head or back of uke, in the near position, gaze turns to uke's body
-- after completing technique from the head or back of uke, gaze is on uke's body
-- for last two techniques, visual contact is maintained
Directly quoting from JFT, for KUZURE KESA-GATAME:
p273: "...Immediately, but unhurriedly, he lowers himself and assumes kyoshi (open), then pauses momentarily with composure and quiet alertness, making visual contact with a point beyond Uke's body (on the kamiza side). Tori advances two steps by tsugi ashi in kyoshi (closed) to the near position (about 1 1/2 feet from Uke's right side) on the lateral axis and once there again assumes kyoshi (open) as he maintains composure and quiet alertness. Figs. (1)-(8). Tori shifts his gaze to Uke's face."
p281: "...Holding himself erect, Tori moves back the short distance he took for his entry step by sliding his left knee back, than his right foot. Tori assumes kyoshi (open) and pauses momentarily, with composure and quiet alertness, keeping visual contact with Uke's body. He is now ready for the next technique..."
I suppose "visual contact" is vague and could mean "keeping Uke in your lower field of vision", as the OP's rokudan said. Also, it seems to make sense to me that it is part of tori's zanshin after a technique is completed. However, on the entry, JFT clearly says Tori shifts his gaze to Uke's face. This is not how I learned it. I've never noticed anyone do it this way. I don't know if it's still correct today or not.
Is anyone surprised that different sensei teach kata slightly differently? JFT is over 25 years old. The OP's rokudan may have learned it 40 years ago. Yet, kata evolves continuously. I think it is a fair statement that what was "correct" kata 30 years ago, may not be the "fashion" for 25 years ago, which may not be the "fashion" for present day (btw, I hate to use the word "fashion", but I can't think of a better word). This is exactly the reason I am looking forward to the Kodokan kata booklets because presumably, they will contain the current "standard form" as accepted by the Kodokan. Issues like this can be easily put to rest (with respect to what is expected in a competition).
Finally, my training philosophy has been to not get hung up with the details so much that I lose the meat of the kata. True, the details are vital, but there are so many. If a controversy in the details is hindering forward progress, then doesn't it make sense to set that difference aside until a conclusive answer is found? I would defer to the knowledge of the rokudan. Really, it is a small adjustment to make on your part. Try it his way... maybe it will give you new light on the reason for the gaze.
From a lowly sankyu,