Using the eyes make us late, we tune and react to the opponent with the breath
If you see the attack, you are too late, when he attacks you must already be in motion. The reaction should be directly from the spine, by the breath, just as when you walk in the street and something happens, you breath reacts, haaaa..., and only than your brain realizes what happened, this is a a reflex. In karate we say that we "by pass" the brain, confirming and deciding in the brain will make you behind. It is more than just reflex, by not judging, by keeping wide attention, we perceive the opponent, we allow our intuitive mind to receive the opponent, there is a lot of information we can receive from the opponent about his intentions if we are tuned to him.
If we look too hard, judge, confirm, we will interfere with breath reaction, and the technique will have a different cycle, pattern, it will be an order from the brain to the arm, which makes us late but also makes us isolate the arms and legs.
The breath initiates the technique
Reacting with the breath and perceiving the opponent is only half the picture.
Breath reflex is innate but if it does not translate into action and technique it is useless.
In the basic training we learn to coordinate between intention, breath, muscles and technique, we learn to control the spinal muscles by using lower abdominal breath.
From previous articles, we know that the first muscles to fire in any movement are those around the spine, and we also know that the legs and arms movement are function of the spine.
As we advanced and go beyond the external form, the breath will initiate the body center and control the feet and the technique. The breath is the "trigger" that initiates the technique, and therefore when we react with the breath, feet action and technique are resulting.
Now, put the two together, breath makes reaction, breath makes action, reaction and action are one without space.
So when the opponent attacks us, the breath and the feet are the first to move, moreover, when the opponent move, your feet should already be in motion.
Reaction and action are one, initiated from the center which is controlled by the breath, so at advanced level, one does not think of arms and legs, neither of the opponent's arms and leg, only intention and breath and the rest will do itself, now the mind is free, and has space to make strategy.
Remember, the mind has to be free so the technique can be expressed.