This off the back of a conversation between Iain and I yesterday.
I suspect that most of us here teach eye gouging to some degree and that we acknowledge that eye gouging is found within the kata or patterns. But just how effective is eye gouging really? Bear in mind that I treat eye injuries as part of my occupation.
Back in 2008 I took my Kempo Dan grade and during the grading I got eye gouged pretty badly. So badly as one of my colleagues described it as the worst corneal abrassion she'd ever seen and it occupied a huge portion of my cornea.
It hurt. Oh man, it hurt. You've never seen a hand be stripped away so quickly. Yet it didn't stop me one bit. I still continued with the grading. OK, arguably I shouldn't have driven home, but I did still teach class the following day. I only sought treatment because it was still irritating me some 24 hours later. I've seen some nasty eye injuries where patients present days later.
So are they worthwhile learning? Will they actually work?
I will propose one use which is to illicit a predicatable response (e.g. a flinch or wrist grab) from which to work. Those of that follow and practice Iain's methods will have repped guard stripping and head hitting once or twice. Do they have value otherwise? I personally tend to dig my tumb into the cheekbone as I find I get a great recoil although I've done this in the dojo, not for real.