They say the eyes are the windows to the soul — it’s no wonder it can feel intimidating and intense to look into someone’s eyes for more than a few seconds. Eye contact can yield many sensations: a feeling of being scrutinized or being seen, discomfort, anger, joy, sadness, love, connection, and more. In Kettlebell Partner Passing, the discomfort that can come from holding eye contact is utilized to connect more deeply and authentically with the person standing across from you. The importance of eye contact in KPP is a safety protocol as well as the gateway to a state of mutual flow.
Eye Contact As a Safety Measure
Holding eye contact during the three count protocol is an important safety measure to ensure that each partner is present and paying attention. Eye contact is maintained because it creates a level of stability between partners that allows for safe passing. If eye contact is lost before the appropriate moment of the three count protocol, the three count is restarted from the beginning. In addition to being a safety protocol, maintaining eye contact until the bell is passed ensures each person is fully present and ready to pass the kettlebell.
The Gate to Flow State
On a deeper level, making eye contact is the initiation of the connection between partners that allows them to enter a flow state together. The eyes, in this instance, are the gateway to the flow state. Making eye contact is a statement of openness and vulnerability, confirming that each partner is ready to participate fully and wholeheartedly.
Eye contact can be intense and uncomfortable for first-time KPP participants. The ability to maintain eye contact requires a level of authenticity and desire to connect that supersedes the discomfort of being seen and feeling vulnerable. Men in particular can have a hard time making eye contact with other men, as men have been conditioned to avoid such connection with other males, seeing it as a sign of aggression or a way that they connect with women, not men.
Establish Trust to Relate Authentically
In a KPP partnership, the desire to safeguard vulnerabilities has to be overcome in order to pass successfully. It’s inevitable for one or both partners to feel afraid or uncomfortable at some point during the passing journey, and working through those sensations in front of your partner is an important part of establishing trust. The ability to maintain eye contact with your partner is the first step toward an authentic relationship that allows both partners to flourish and grow — in their kettlebell passing abilities, and in life.