In class we often work on isolating and exploring a particular movement set- waza in the Japanese martial arts. Strikes, locks, and throws, practicing back and forth with a partner.
Often these will begin with one partner attacking and the other defending as you stand across from each other.
However, there is the understanding, and we do explore this skill idea in that *something* happened before your training partner is throwing the punch or grabbing you for the throw.
The understanding of distance in the martial arts, and how people approach to get in range. Sometimes is is obvious and very fast, other times slow and from an angle that is hard to see.
Which layers on another important point of awareness- where are the hands?
When a person stands across from you, where are the hands? Can you clearly see them, or is one hidden. Hidden could be in a pocket, behind the back, or even depending on the angle (kamae) of the body, out of view, but in a natural way.
What if there is a training tool in hand that you can’t see?
That changes the distance, what is a safe distance with no training tool, suddenly becomes unsafe depending on the tool.
Making it a natural part of training- zanshin, to always know where the hands are and where they can be.