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 The Anatomy of Fear

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PostSubject: The Anatomy of Fear   Wed Jul 16, 2008 7:28 pm

I will be posting some articles from my library here.....Rich, would you prefer them here or will you be adding an "articles" forum? Thanks


The Anatomy Of Fear and How It Relates To Survival Skills Training

By Darren Laur, with permission


An officer assigned to jail duty conducts a prisoner bed check when he observes that a male who was lodged in the drunk tank was laying face down not breathing in a corner of the cell. The officer attempts to verbally arouse the prisoner, but these attempts fail. The officer now believing that the prisoner is dead, proceeds into the cell, bends over and grabs the prisoner by his left shoulder in an attempt to roll him over. At this point the prisoner, suddenly and spontaneously, quickly rolls towards the officer, and with his right hand, swings towards the officer's face. The officer "instinctively" pulls both of his arms in to protect his head, and moves backwards.

The suspect has now moved to his feet, and again lashes out towards the officer with what the officer "perceives" to be a big right hooking punch, at which time the officer again puts his hand up to cover his head, crouches and again moves backwards away from the threat. The officer only now realizes that he is bleeding profusely, but doesn't know why. The prisoner lunges at the officer a third time, with a straight line punch, at which time the officer sees the shinning glimmer of a metal object. As this third attack makes contact, he instinctually attempts to push the prisoners hands away from his body, but contact is made resulting in a puncture wound to the officer's chest area. The officer now realizing that he is in an edged weapon encounter, and was cut several times, disengages from the cell area to call for help.

The above noted scenario happened to a police officer in my department in 1992. Although this officer had received training in edged weapon defense, and was one of the more officer safety conscious members of the department, he could not make his training work. Based upon the officers reaction to this spontaneous attack, I began to wonder if the "instinctual" physical reactions to this attack, which were totally different from the training he received up to that point in time, would be experienced by other officers as well, if placed into a spontaneous attack situation in which they had no idea that an attack was going to occur.

I'm a big believer in, "don't tell me, show me" so in early 1992 I conducted an empirical video research study. I had 85 police officers participate in a scenario based training session where unknown to them; they would be attacked with a knife. The attacker, who was dressed in a combative suit, was told that during mid way of the contact, they were to pull a knife that they had been concealing, flash it directly at the officer saying "I'm going to kill you pig", and then engage the officer physically. The results were remarkable:

•3/85 saw the knife prior to contact

•10/85 realized that they were being stabbed repeatedly during the scenario.

•72/85 did not realize that they were being assaulted with a knife until the scenario was over, and the officers were advised to look at their uniforms to see the simulated thrusts and slices left behind by the chalked training knives

When I reviewed the many hours of videotape of the scenarios, I also made two very important and interesting observations in how the majority of officers reacted to the spontaneous attacks:

•Most flinched, bringing both hands up to protect their head while crouching at the same time, and attempted to disengage from the attacker by backing away from the threat.

This usually resulted in the attacker closing the gap quite quickly with their victim. Those officers that did engage the threat immediately, proceeded to effectively block the initial strike of the attacker and then immediately grappled with the attacker using elbows and knee strikes

After making these observations, I asked, "why was I seeing these reactions." During this research project, I had the opportunity to read an article authored by Bruce Siddle and Dr. Hal Breedlove entitled, " Survival Stress Reaction". In this article Siddle and Breedlove stated:

"Research by numerous studies provide two clear messages why people will place themselves in bad tactical situations. The common phenomena of backing away under survival stress results from the visual systems deterioration of the peripheral field to attain more information regarding threat stimulus. Since the brain is demanding more information to deal with the threat, the officer will invariably retreat from help to widen the peripheral field. Secondly, the brains normal ability to process (analyze and evaluate) a wide range of information quickly is focused to specific items. Therefore, additional cues, which would normally be processed, are lost. This explains why people can't remember seeing or identifying specific facts which were relatively close to the threat."

The research by Siddle and Breedlove not only confirmed my findings, but also answered why our officers were acting this way. It also explains why one officer, who had actually caught the attackers knife hand with both of his hands and was looking directly at the knife, stated "I didn't see any knife" It wasn't until I showed the video replay that he believed there was a knife.

In 1995, Bruce Siddle released his first book entitled; "Sharpening The Warrior's Edge The Psychology and Science Of Training" In my opinion, Siddles's published works began to answer a lot of the questions that I asked during my experience with, and empirical research
into combatives.

The first real studies in the area of SSR as it related to combat performance, were conducted in the 1930's, when it was noted that those soldiers who were sending Morse code (fine/complex motor skill) during combat situations had much more difficulty in doing so when compared to non-combat environments. The next real research in SSR came during the Vietnam War as it related to the location of buttons and switches in fighter cockpits. As a result of this research, cockpits were reconfigured to take SSR into affect, as it specifically related to eye/hand co-ordination during combat situations.

Although much of the early research surrounding SSR was conducted by the military during times of war, recently (from the mid 1960's to present time) a lot of research has been conducted in SSR as it relates to athletic performance.

Siddle's definition of SSR as it relates to combat is; " a state where a "perceived" high threat stimulus automatically engages the parasympathetic nervous system." The parasympathetic nervous system is an autonomic response process, which, when activated, one has little control of. Why is SSR so important when it comes to combat/self protection? Because when activated, SSR has both a psychological and physiological effect to the body which could affect one's perception of threat in a negative way.

So what are some of these effects according to Siddle's research?

a) Increased Heart Rate:

•We know that SSR is directly related to an increased heart rate At 115 beats per minute (bpm) most people will lose fine complex motor skills such as finger dexterity, eye hand co-ordination, multi tasking becomes difficult.

•At 145 bpm, most people will lose complex motor skills ( 3 or more motor skills designed to work in unison)

b) Effects To Visual System:

•The visual system is the primary sensory organ of the body for those of us that can see, due to the fact that the visual system sends information to the brain that is needed during combat/self protection.

•At approximately 175 bpm, a person will experience an eye/lid lift, pupils will dilate and flatten. As this reaction takes place, a person will experience visual narrowing (commonly known as tunnel vision). This is why it is very common for a person to back up from a threat in order to get more information through this tunnel. It is also at this point in time, that a person becomes "binocular" rather than "monocular". This is why in CQB shooting, I teach two eye "binocular" shooting rather than one eye aimed shooting.

•At 175 bpm, visual tracking becomes difficult…… this is very important when it comes to multiple threats. During multiples, the brain will want the visual system to stay with what it sees to be the primary threat. Once this threat has been neutralized, the brain and visual system will then find its next threat. This is commonly known as the "light house" effect. Studies have found that a person in SSR will experience on average about a 70% decrease in their visual field. This is one reason why in combat, we need to teach students to constantly be scanning their environment, looking for the second and third opponent.

•At 175 bpm, it also becomes difficult to focus on close objects…. One of the first things to go under SSR is depth perception. A fighter WILL become far sighted rather than near sighted. This is why it is very common for people experiencing SSR to say that the threat was either closer or father away from where they actually were. Studies in SSR have shown that binocular fighting/shooting will improve one's depth perception by 20-30%

c) Effects To The Auditory System:

•At approx 145 bpm, that part of the brain that hears, shuts down during SSR. This is one reason why it is not uncommon for fighters to say " I didn't hear that" , " I heard voices but I couldn't understand what they were saying" or ' I heard bits and pieces", " I didn't hear a gun shot"

d) Effects To The Brain:

•At approx 175 bpm, it is not uncommon for a person to have difficulty remembering what took place or what they did during a confrontation. This recall problem is known as " Critical Stress Amnesia". After a critical incident, it is not uncommon for a person to only recall approx 30% of what happened in the first 24hrs, 50% in 48 hrs, and 75-95 % in 72-100hrs
. At 185-220 bpm, most people will go into a state of "hypervigilance", this is also commonly known as the "deer in the headlights" or "Brain fart mode" It is not uncommon for a person to continue doing things that are not effective ( known as a feedback loop) or to show irrational behavior such as leaving cover. This is also the sate in which people find themselves in when they describe that they can not move, yell, or scream. Once a person is caught in a state of hypervigilance, it is a downward spiral that is very tough to get out of. Once caught in a state of hypervigilance information on the threat is reduced to the brain which leads to increased reaction time. This increased reaction time then leads to a heightened state of stress which further exacerbates hypervigilance

e) Effects To Motor Skill performance
. At approximately 115 bpm, fine/complex motor skills become less available/effective (pulling a trigger, handling a knife), but gross motor skills turn on and become optimized

So why is this information so important? Because Siddle has found, the higher the heart rate, the more SSR will affect one's perception of threat. Also, the higher the heart rate, the more negative effects it will have on motor skill performance.

One must remember that in combat, a person's heart rate can go from 70 bpm to 220bpm in less than half a second. So what is the "combat maximum performance range" when it comes to SSR and heart rate? Siddle in his studies has found that it is between 115-145 bpm. Siddle has also found that a fighter's "maximum reaction time performance range" is also between 115-145 bpm. In other words, the 115-145 bpm range is where fighting skills (gross motor) and reaction time are maximized.

As I said earlier, SSR is an autonomic response, which happens without conscious thought. Having said this, Siddle in his research has found that a person can manage SSR to attain that peak 115-145 bpm range in the following ways:

1) Skill Confidence:
. This takes place through both mental and physical training

2) Experience Through Dynamic Simulation Training
. Experience increases and builds confidence- reduces "newness" of stimulus
. Training should be "realistic" stimulus/response based
. The more real the training experience (stimulus) the better


3) Visualization (mental imagery)
. Commonly known as "spinal tuning," we now know that the upper part of the spinal column holds a short term memory.

. This is one reason why I have taught our department's Emergency Response Team (ERT) to visualize both their plan "A" strategy and plan "B" strategy as they are enroot to their target.

. Remember that the mind can not easily tell the difference between fantasy and reality. The more one uses mental imagery, the more one becomes spinal tuned to deal with the task at hand

. As a certified hypnotherapist, I am using the science and art of hypnosis and NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) to pre-program stimulus /response issues directly into the subconscious, specific to combat performance. Not only have I have seen a DRAMATIC increase in combative performance in those students in which I am using hypnosis and NLP, but I am also experiencing about a 50% decrease in the amount of time needed to make a student unconsciously competent in the skill set taught, when compared to those who I have not conducted this type of training with. In fact, I truly believe that hypnosis and NLP specific to combatives, will be the next nexus in training

4) Breathing
. This skill has been used in the martial arts for thousands of years known as autogenic breathing

. You want to breath in through their nose for a three count, hold for a two count, and then breath out through the mouth for a three count. Studies have found that if a person was to do this for a 3 cycle count, it decreases one's heart rate up to 30% for up to 40 seconds. Again remember that heart rate is directly related to SSR. If a person's heart rate was sitting at around 175-220 bpm, autogenic breathing would help bring them back down into that target range of 115-145 bpm

. I have also taught this skill to our department's ERT team. While they are doing their spinal tuning, they are also conducting autogenic breathing drills at the same time. Our ERT team have conducted a lot of empirical and "real world" operations where they placed heart monitors on team members which have proven this de-escalation in heart rate

5) Value Of Life:
. In our society a person's life is considered to be precious. In fact, most of our morals and laws are based upon protecting oneself and others against serious injury or death

. In a self-defence situation, one may have to seriously injury or even kill another human being

. Although a reality, many people involved in combatives training have not "really" internalized or even thought about this. Because of one's "belief system", to kill or seriously injure another person is as foreign to them as committing suicide

. If one does not come to grips with this issue one will fail to act in such a situation

6) Belief In Mission / Task At hand:
. If you do not believe in the mission or task at hand, or if the risks outweigh the ultimate benefit to you/society, you WILL hesitate in combat

. One who hesitates in combat, will usually levitate ( 12 feet under or be seriously injured
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PostSubject: Re: The Anatomy of Fear   Wed Jul 16, 2008 7:30 pm

The forum wont allow long posts so here is the second half of the article. :-)


7) Faith System:
. You do not want to go into combat without having things resolved

. Both the ancient samurai and the kamikaze's during WWII understood this important rule

. Even in our modern times, there are certain spec war teams around the world that are allowed to make peace with their deity prior to mission

. A strong faith system, whatever that faith system may be, MINIMIZES the fear of dying. As a graphic example of this, look at the events of September 11th and how the terrorists were not afraid to die and thus were able to carry out their mission. Also look at what is happening in Israel right now!

. Remember, combat is not the place for you to be making major adjustments to your belief system. You need to be concentrating on the task at hand and nothing else. Not to do so places yourself in jeopardy

Cool Training:
. Training for combat must be gross motor based, why? Because we know that during combat, SSR will negatively effect fine/complex motor skill performance no matter how well trained an individual

. For any skill taught, there must always be a plan "B" abort strategy conditioned as well. We must not be teaching multiple defenses (responses) to a specific type of attack (stimulus). The reason for this, HICKS LAW!

. Hicks Law basically states the following: the average reaction time given one stimulus one response is about ½ second. If we now teach a student a second technique (response) to the same attack (stimulus) we WILL increase a person's reaction time by 58%. On the street we want to DECREASE reaction time, not increase it. If we teach multiple defenses to one specific attack, the brain will take time deciding which option to use. This increased reaction time could mean the difference between life and death.

. Instructors should always teach a new technique in slow motion, why? it allows the students brain time to observe the technique and begin the "soft wiring process" which becomes "hard wired" through physical and mental training in conjunction with repetition, as long as it is gross motor skilled

. All physical skills should be chunked or partitioned into progressive steps, rather than taught all at once. Many instructors when teaching a physical techniques will have the students practice the entire technique from beginning to end when first learning the specific skill set. This is a huge mistake. Remember that the brain first learns in pictures and through modeling. By teaching a technique from A to Z all at once, the student may not fully develop the proper and full "mental picture" needed to perform the technique properly which usually leads to frustration by the student. Teachers, coaches, and instructors must insure that the student understands step A fully, then move onto step B. Once step B is understood move on to step C and so on. By doing this, frustration goes down, while confidence and skill level go up.

. Once the skill sets are learned, they must now be applied in dynamic training in order to make the stimulus/response training as real as possible. Again, the more the real the training, the better prepared one becomes for the reality of the street

Although Siddle's research has brought to light the physiological effects of fear, such as increased heart rate, fine complex motor skill deterioration, and what we can do as instructors to limit the effects of SSR during combat, it didn't fully explain why and how the brain learns and responds to the emotion of fear, thus triggering SSR. To me, this is the key question to be answered if one's combative system or style is going to be able to consistently deal with an unexpected spontaneous assault, be it armed or unarmed. In other words, are our brains hardwired to the point where a trained response, no matter how well ingrained, be overridden by a more powerful "instinctual" response? If the answer to this question is yes, can this instinctual response be changed, molded, or integrated into a combative context?

Research into this question, specific to Survival Skills Training, has really been non-existent. Having said this, research into how the brain learns and responds to the emotion of fear has taken off over the past few years, due mainly to brain mapping technology such as MRI's, and has been spearheaded by several experts in the Neuroscience filed. One of the more significant researchers, Dr Joseph LeDoux of New York University, has led the way in tracing brain circuitry underlying the fear response in animals/ mammals, which have been directly correlated to humans as well. It is because of Dr LeDoux's pioneering research, that the neural pathways and connections that bring upon the effects of SSR are now being understood.

Dr LeDoux has stated, "fear is a neural circuit that has been designed to keep an organism alive in dangerous situations." Throughout his research, Dr LeDoux has shown that the fear response has been tightly conserved in evolution throughout the development of humankind and other vertebrates. According to most experts in the field of Neuroscience, the areas of the brain that deal with fear are located in the phylogenetically old structures of the brain, commonly known as the "reptilian brain." Based on his research, Dr LeDoux believes, "learning and responding to stimuli that warn of danger involves neural pathways that send information about the outside world to the amygdalya, which in turn, determines the significance of the stimulus and triggers emotional responses like running, fighting, or freezing, as well as changes in the inner workings of the body's organs and glands such as increased heart rate." This statement explains the correlation between SSR and heart rate increase.

Siddle's research draws a direct correlation between SSR and increase in heart rate. The problem with this assumption is that for runners, who have very high heart rates, SSR does not take effect, why? A runner's high heart rate is caused by physical exertion, and not the emotion of fear caused by a spontaneous or immediate threat to body or life, which triggers the neurological response of the brain, and more specifically the amygdala, which in turn begins the SSR process.

Dr LeDoux has also found, " there are important distinctions to make between emotions and feelings. Feelings are "red herrings," products of the "conscious mind," labels given to unconscious emotions, whereas emotions are distinct patterns of behaviors of neurons. Emotions can exist of conscious experiences as well as physiological and neurological reactions and voluntary and involuntary behaviors." I believe the most important thing to take from this statement is that the emotion of fear is an unconscious process that has been blueprinted at the neurological level, and when triggered, has physiological reactions that we may have little, if any, control over, but which can be molded.

Dr LeDoux has also discovered that the components of fear go way beyond feelings and emotions. According to Dr Ledoux it is also the specific memory of the emotion. A fellow Neuroscientist, Dr Doug Holt expanded upon this fact and said' " after a frightful experience, one can remember the logical reasons for the experience ( e.g. the time and place) but one will also feel the memory, and his body will react as such (i.e. increased heart rate and respiration rate, sweating)." This is why it is not uncommon for a survivor of spontaneous assault to not only vividly remember each detail, but when doing so, their body reacts as though they were reliving the experience. This is another reason why I believe that guided imagery, when used appropriately and professionally, will be the next nexus in combatives training. Although not all scientific research makes this particular distinction between emotions and feelings, most would agree that the fear response involves more than just the physical preparation for "fight, flight, or hyper-vigilance." This initial physiological response is followed by a slower, more detailed psychological assessment of the dangerous situation being faced, during which the individual becomes conscious of feeling afraid.

So what happens in our brain when the emotion of fear is triggered? According to Dr. LeDoux and other Neuroscientist, once the fear system of the brain detects and starts responding to danger (primarily the amygdala which receives input directly from every sensory system of the body and can therefore immediately respond), and depending upon fear stimulus intensity, the brain will begin to assess what is going on, and try to figure out what to do about it using the following process:

. Information of the threat stimulus is detected via the senses of the body; sight, sound, touch, smell, taste

. Information from one or all of these senses is then routed to the thalamus ( a brain structure near the amygdala that acts like an air traffic controller or a mail sorting station that sorts out incoming sensory signals)

. In a non-spontaneous threat situation, the thalamus will direct information received to the appropriate cortex of the brain (such as the visual cortex) which consciously thinks about the impulse, assessing the danger, and making sense of it. This is where the O.O.D.A. loop begin (Observe, Organize, Decision, Action)

. Once a decision has been made as to what to do, the information is then downloaded to the amygdala which creates emotion and action through the body to either perpetuate a physical response or to abort a physical response

Again, this process takes place in non-spontaneous type situations. This neuro- pathway is commonly called the "high road". This is the pathway in which most combatives instructors teach too. In other words:

. Person throws a right hooking punch which is seen and detected by the visual system

. Visual system downloads this stimulus to the thalamus that sorts it and send it to the visual cortex of the brain

. Visual cortex using the OODA loop, observes the stimulus, organizes it (right hooking punch), makes a decision as to how to deal with stimulus and then downloads the response to the amygdala

. Amygdala then creates emotion and action through the body and the punch is blocked

This is what Siddle and others have called stimulus/ response training. A threat stimulus triggers a trained response is the goal, as long as that trained response is gross motor based and takes into consideration Hicks Law. Siddle has stated, "an automatic response to a specific threat can only occur when the students practice a skill in conjunction with a specific level of threat. For a response to be conditioned or an automatic response, there must be an associated stimulus, which triggers the response. Therefore, if a survival motor program is expected to be automatic to a threat in the field, the two must be combined early in the student's training."

Although I do agree that we as instructors should be focusing our training at the development of automatic responses to a specific threat stimulus, what happens if those trained responses are not congruent with the bodies hardwired response during an unexpected spontaneous assault? Does it not make logical sense that we as trainers should teach a physical response that would be congruent with what the brain has preprogrammed itself to do through millions of years of evolution?

Again, the answer to this question is a definite yes, and Dr. LeDoux has been able to prove it scientifically. Dr. LeDoux has found that frightening stimuli trigger neuronal responses along dual pathways. The first path is the one mentioned above "The High Road". The second path is known as the "Low Road", and this is the path that the brain "WILL" follow in a spontaneous surprise attack for survival:

. In a spontaneous surprise attack, information received by the thalamus is quickly re-routed to the amygdala bypassing the cortex (the thinking brain in which OODA is followed)

. The amygdala immediately sets SSR (autonomic arousal) into effect with the added benefit of what neuroscientists have called "Somatic Reflex Potentiation" also commonly known as the "startle circuit" or "protective reflex" ( i.e. an exaggerated startle/flinch response) Other protective reflexes include; sneezing, eye blinking, gag reflex, pulling away from a pain stimulus, laryngospasm( closing of the airway to prevent water into the lungs)

. After passing directly through the amygdala, which initiates SSR and Somatic Reflex Potentiation, sensory information is then sent to the cortex.

. Once the cortex has received this information, the frightening stimulus is then examined in detail to determine whether or not a real threat exists. Based upon this information, the amygdala will be signaled either to perpetuate the physical response and deal with the threat or abort action. Because the amygdala is aroused before the cortex can accurately assess the situation, an individual will experience the physical effects of fear even in the case of a false alarm. The "Low Road" has already prepared the body for immediate action.

Knowing that the brain has a dual pathway to deal with what I like to call progressive and spontaneous fear stimuli, Dr LeDoux has stated, "there are problems associated with the double wiring between the higher cortex and the amygdala. Unfortunately the neural connections from the cortex down to the amygdala are less well developed than are connections from the amygdala back up to the cortex. Thus, the amygdala exerts a greater influence on the cortex than vice versa.

Once an emotion has been turned on, it is difficult to exert conscious control over it at will. What this means to me is that in an unexpected spontaneous attack, if you are training motor skills that are not congruent with what the amygdala will cause the body to do, more specifically the "Somatic Reflex Potentiation" no matter how well trained the response, it will be overridden. But many in the field of combatives believe that we can make a trained response the dominant response through much repetition and training, using stimulus / response training methods. In a "High Road" scenario, this will work given SSR issues and Hick's law, but in a "Low Road" scenario, the answer will only be "yes" as long as the motor skill taught is congruent with the automatic protective reflex the amygdala will cause the body to take.

This "low road" signal system does not convey detailed information about the threat stimulus, but it has the advantage of speed. And in combat speed is of great importance to one facing a threat to their survival. Dr Ledoux pointed out that having a very rapid, if imprecise, method of detecting danger (such is found in the low road pathway) is of high survival value. As Dr. Ledoux has so eloquently stated in several articles, "You're better off mistaking a stick for a snake than a snake for a stick."


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PostSubject: Re: The Anatomy of Fear   Wed Jul 16, 2008 7:31 pm

and for the rest :-P

So what is the correlation between the neuro-scientific research of fear, and it relationship to survival skills training?

1. The brain has been "hard-wired" to deal with the emotion of fear 2. One pathway is known as the "High Road," in which action can be based on conscious will and thought. This pathway appears to take effect during "progressive" types of fear stimuli. Here a combatives student will be able to apply stimulus / response type training using the OODA model having regards to gross motor skills and Hick's Law

3. A second pathway is known as the "Low Road" which is triggered by a spontaneous / unexpected attack. Here, the brain will take control of the body with an immediate "protective reflex" (downloaded directly to the brain stem where all of our reflexive responses to danger are stored), which will override any system of combat that bases its ability on "cognitively" applying a physical response. This is especially true if the trained response is not congruent with the "protective reflex" (this is exactly what I observed in the 1992 video study I conducted.

So what can we as Instructors, coaches, and teachers do to incorporate the most current research in the field of Fear and Survival Skills Training?

. Absorb the above noted information and research it yourself

. Seek out instructors, coaches, trainers that are using this research in their teaching. You will be surprised that there are few that do. One of the leading pioneers in design and implementation of programs that incorporate this information is Tony Blauer and those associated with his organization in which I am not a member. Since 1992, the motor skill training programs I teach have also revolved around the principals of the above noted information as well. Another instructor, Richard Dimitri (Senshido) provides training based upon the above noted information. And of course, Bruce Siddle and his PPCT management systems is also a leader in the field of psychology of combatives training.

. If you can not attend courses from the above mentioned, look at what you are doing in the area of self protection and ask yourself, is my training "congruent" with the information noted above, if not change what you are doing

. Train on the concept of "commonality of technique." The initial plan-A strategy that I use in an unexpected spontaneous assault (armed or unarmed), is no different than in an attack that I do see coming. Why, because no matter if the brain goes "High-Road" or "Low-Road," my "congruent" gross motor skills will work in both paths. This is a definite tactical advantage

. Understand that although the "Low-Road" reflexive motor responses cannot be changed, but can be "molded" to fit a combative motor skill technique that are useable during a spontaneous attack. I use the Somatic Reflex Potentiation response, which I call "penetrate and dominate," in all my programs. Tony Blauer uses the flinch response in his SPEAR system. Richard Dimitri also incorporates the flinch in his training at Senshido

. Fortunately, there are methods of reducing fear and inhibiting the fear response (see Siddle's 8 steps to management of SSR)

I'm not a doctor or Neuroscientist, but I have been studying combatives for the past 14 years. Since 1992, I have been using training techniques based upon the information presented here, not knowing that I was doing so. In the past, my training was based solely on my empirical research here at the school, and what was happening to officers and civilians in the real world. The information in this posting has now solidified my belief that what I'm doing (and have been doing for years) in the area of combatives is correct. This belief is not only based upon my empirical research over the past 10 years, but scientific research as well.

The field of Neuroscience, (specific to fear), is constantly evolving. Any true "street" combative system or style should keep abreast of these new discoveries and integrate them into a training program to make their survival skills more applicable for the street.

Knowledge and the understanding and application of that knowledge is power.
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PostSubject: Re: The Anatomy of Fear   Wed Jul 16, 2008 7:43 pm

Have you definitely got Darren's permission for these?

He's a pretty regular customer so Im sure he wont mind but best to be sure...
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PostSubject: Re: The Anatomy of Fear   Wed Jul 16, 2008 7:49 pm

Richard Grannon wrote:
Have you definitely got Darren's permission for these?

He's a pretty regular customer so Im sure he wont mind but best to be sure...
I will remove if needed Rich. Don't want to step on anyones toes. This was offered to me by my instructor whom always get permission for using articles. Now I can't verify 100% but as long as the credit is shown then I think no harm is really done here. Do you agree :-) Just trying to get some great reads out there. And this is a great spot to do it ;-)
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PostSubject: Re: The Anatomy of Fear   Sun Jul 20, 2008 10:59 pm

Hi Cocktail

I know you didnt write the article but look here

Quote :
Because we know that during combat, SSR will negatively effect fine/complex motor skill performance no matter how well trained an individual

I strenuously disagree with that line of thinking, its defeatist and it isnt actually "true".




The Nuerolinguistics for Enhanced Combative Performance CD Article

Quote :
Neuro Linguistics for Enhanced Combative Performance

In brief:

-language is a reflection of thought but you must also understand that the language you use inside your mind directs your thoughts and mental focus

-If you change the way you think, you change the way you feel, if you change the way you feel you change the way you act, if you change your actions you change your results!

-The ineffective use of linguistics at an internal dialogue level can massively inhibit your performance under pressure and can actually increase your fear.

-Using Neuro Linguistics effectively will affect your actual external skill level DIRECTLY.

I watched a film the other night.

Played out on screen was a cliché that has been used countless times to generate suspense in films: A man trying to start a car on a railway track as the train bears down upon him.

He fumbles for the keys, his shaking hands drop the keys, he glances up in terror at the oncoming train lights, he picks the keys up, his shaking hands cant get them in the ignition and he pokes ineffectually around the slot etc etc etc

When under pressure it is possible that we may lose control of some fine motor skills. These are the kind of fine motor skills that allow you to quickly slide a small key into a narrow ignition or lock “target”.

To use a more combative, martial arts analogy these are the same fine motor skills that allow you to deliver a precisely targeted, well timed, “clean” knock out punch to the tip of an opponent’s jaw.

Let me repeat that: when under pressure we “MAY” lose control of some fine motor skills.

There is no rule that says that we “ALWAYS” lose control of fine motor skills when under pressure. This simply is NOT an accurate reflection of the reality.

And you know what? This will not change, no matter how many times street-fight “ex-spurts” and strip mall self defense gurus tell you that this is an absolute truth.

If it were absolutely true that you “ALWAYS” lose your fine motor skills under pressure then the answer to all the following questions would always be “NO”.

-Have you ever been under serious time pressure (late for an important meeting for e.g.) but managed to put your socks on, tie your shoe laces, put on a tie, slot the key quickly and easily in the ignition and drive at a good but safe pace to your destination without crashing?

-Do fighter pilots under combat refrain from beating wildly (using only “generically targeted”, gross motor movements) in Neanderthal frustration at their sophisticated controls when engaged in combat?

-Do Infantrymen in Iraq under fire manage NOT to lose the capacity to use their radios properly, load magazines with small fiddly bullets, slot them into their weapons (which, by the way, have very small, precise buttons and levers on them) and just run at the enemy seeking to bludgeon them to death with their helmets?

-Do Bomb Squad units exist?

-Is successful open heart surgery taking place somewhere in the world right now?

Look, its like this:

If human beings did NOT have the capacity to maintain fine motor skills under combative pressure we would be R.I.P. with the Sabre tooth Tiger right now, wouldn’t we?

In fact, is it not precisely our capacity to maintain fine motor skill capabilities under combative pressure that makes us the longest surviving, most dangerous, predators in the history of the planet?

OK, my pedantic tone may just be starting to grate a bit so let me take it down a notch.

Have your hands ever shook when putting a key in a lock?

Does a soldier ever drop ammunition when trying to reload a weapon?

Do Bomb Squad people and surgeons sweat and feel the effects of an adrenal response?

The answer to these questions is “yes”. Of course… some times… some people… will respond in this way.

That is called a specific response. So many martial arts/ RBSD truths are based on a kind of unchallenged, pseudo scientific fuzzy logic. Do NOT allow yourself to fall prey to this kind of thinking. We must be absolutely rigorous in our assumptions or we will drift off in the wrong direction.

One sure fire way of knowing that a massive ASSUMPTION is being made is when people start using the word “Always”.

If you have an interest in NLP: “Always” indicates that the person using the word is distorting, deleting and generalizing their perception of reality to fit a prescribed “Map” of how the world works. The sentence “People always lose their fine motor skills when under combative pressure” does not pass the “structural well formed ness” protocol of NLP and would be challenged on the Meta Model as a Universal Quantifier.

The NLP Challenge would be something like: “Do People ALWAYS Respond in that way?” or “Has there ever been a time when people haven’t responded in that way in a fight?”

So: Some People can and do respond with a high level of skill under combative pressure sometimes.

So the important question is: what is the difference that makes a difference?

Well a big part of it is just the repetitive training of hard physical skills whilst steadily introducing simulated “pressure” to the practitioner.

No amount of psychology is going to get around the fact that fighting is a physical/ athletic endeavor… though you don’t necessarily need to be that athletically developed to successfully survive most typical street challenges.

You must be engaging in frequent “hard skill” development. Get on the bags, lift weights, do live drills with a partner etc

BUT … and this is a very big but. Can you imagine a situation where someone has all the physical skills but just gets “psyched out” by some bullying thug who starts playing him at a game doesn’t understand? A mind game?

Of course you can. What good is the champion kick boxer, the MMA genius, the karate instructor with years of training under the belt, fit as a butcher’s dog, strong as an ox with the reflexes of a highly strung mongoose if he simply freezes and wets his pants when faced with this “combative pressure|” we’ve been talking about?

None. No good at all. Why? Because none of those skills/ attributes will be brought to bear on the opponent.

So I ask again: what is the difference that makes a difference?

Well, let me answer that question with another question.

Can you, right now, think of a time where you performed well under pressure? Everything went right, your movements where smooth and precise and decisive and you were in the moment with total control and focus on the task in hand? It could be anything: a presentation you did, a meal you cooked, a car you cleaned… Hey, don’t laugh, there is a reason why in all the old Kung Fu stories the Master makes his student do menial tasks whilst beating him physically and berating him psychologically. Give it some thought.

Now can you think of a time when you were doing something relatively simple but everything you did went wrong? Just really clumsy, dropping things, falling over your own feet and you hear yourself saying: “I just don’t know what the hell is wrong with me today?”

We’ve all had these temporary “stupid moments”- sometimes they can last for hours, even days… some people seem to be enduring lifetimes of stupidity!

Consider these two different scenarios. What was the difference? What were you doing in one that you weren’t doing in the other?

The difference that makes the difference is simple: its all down to how you were processing reality in that moment. Which was either a quick and effective processing… or not.

Ok so what effects how we process reality? How can we control our thoughts so that we are always processing quickly and effectively when we need to be?

Anthony Robbins was once quoted as saying: “The quality of your life is a direct reflection of the quality of your communication with yourself and others.”

Allow me to expand and specify on that if you will to say: “The quality of your combative performance is a direct reflection of the quality of your communication with yourself and others.”

After all it is you who you spend most time talking to, right?

The “Neuro Linguistics for Enhanced Combative Performance” CD Course that we offer at WWW.STREETFIGHTSECRETS.COM focuses solely on this one issue.

There are mistakes that you make when communicating with yourself when performing a fine motor skill task under pressure that could:

0. make you drop your car keys when your in a rush and make you slightly later for work

0. make you drop your guard at a critical moment during a street attack and make you the star of your very own local news story

There are specific things you can change in an instant at an internal linguistic level that will change your focus, your perceptual speed, your “task fixation” and your overall Combative Performance.

This is not magic, these are the same principles used in time and motion studies to increase factory workers packing time, in military training to make people more efficient at their designated tasks and by sporting professionals to increase their athletic performance.

Its down to earth Functional Psychology that makes an immediate impact and it could just save you or your loved ones from hurt, or even save a life.

A CD course cant give you physical skills you don’t have, but it can ensure that you perform at the top of your game and access the fullest capacity of the skills you do have when it matters the most.

The specific words you use when you are thinking at an internal dialogue level inside your head are immensely powerful.

Take control of them.

Use them to their fullest capacity and take every advantage you can over your opponent.

Take Care.

Richard Grannon
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PostSubject: Re: The Anatomy of Fear   Sun Jul 20, 2008 11:15 pm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hick's_law



Quote :
. Hicks Law basically states the following: the average reaction time given one stimulus one response is about ½ second. If we now teach a student a second technique (response) to the same attack (stimulus) we WILL increase a person's reaction time by 58%. On the street we want to DECREASE reaction time, not increase it. If we teach multiple defenses to one specific attack, the brain will take time deciding which option to use. This increased reaction time could mean the difference between life and death.

This is bit of leap in logic and doesnt follow due scientific process... the average reaction time to what stimulus exactly?

"second technique" does NOT = second "response" in this instance. There is a linguistic breakdown here.

"response" is a distinct observably, objectively separate responsive behaviour

"technique" could describe any number of a series of movements... if I train you to automatically cover withone hand and simultaneously strike with the other is that one technique or two? If I teach you to do it to the left AND to the right is it one technique or two?


From Hock Hockheim article on Hicks law

http://www.hockscqc.com/articles/hickslaw.htm



Quote :
Simple, modern athletic performance studies attack the doubling rule, but we need not only look to athletes. How can a typist type so quickly? Look at all the selections on a computer? 26 letters-plus options! How can you read this typed essay? How can your mind select and process from 26 different letters in the alphabet? It is obvious that the exponential rule of “doubling” with each option, has serious scientific problems when you run a simple math table out, or just look about you at everyday life.

Hicks law doesnt apply to what we do and the "fine motor movement goes out the window in a fight" routine doesnt wash with me at all... not least because I have been in a lot of fights and surprise surprise was NEVER reduced to clubbing my opponent in the skull like a Neanderthal...

UNLESS

...I shit myself and panicked.

If stress and fear reduce fine motor skill then the answer isn't to train in gross motor movement "clumping" its to REDUCE STRESS via TRAINING your mind and your emotions

see above article re. fighter pilots, snipers, bomb squads

Sorry mate, but when this kind of pseudo scientific cherry picking of research to back up already held truths is stated as FACT it makes me go nuts.


Nothing personal cocktail, my single response to this "pseudo science" stimulus is to have a rant and attack it for the limiting nonsense it is.


Very Happy


Last edited by Richard Grannon on Mon Jul 21, 2008 10:07 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : fine motor movement typing skill failed me)
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PostSubject: Re: The Anatomy of Fear   Mon Jul 21, 2008 5:14 am

Richard Grannon wrote:

Nothing personal cocktail, my single response to this "pseudo science" stimulus is to have a rant and attack it for the limiting nonsense it is.


Very Happy

hahahah no problem bro...no offense taken here......i didnt write it :-) ......still a great article though study
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PostSubject: Re: The Anatomy of Fear   Mon Jul 21, 2008 3:02 pm

Hi Richie,

Richard Grannon wrote:
Hi Cocktail

Quote :
Because we know that during combat, SSR will negatively effect fine/complex motor skill performance no matter how well trained an individual

I strenuously disagree with that line of thinking, its defeatist and it isnt actually "true".

Is your disagreement with the the article stating that this will "always happen" or the fact that it may happen?

With all due respect Richie - there have been countless studies done on how "close combat" affects fine/complex motor skills. One book in particular by Dave Grossman "On Killing: The Psychological Cost of Learning to Kill" covers this extensively. This is one reason the US mitlitary incorporated Operant Conditioning training.

There is a huge difference between a "fight" and "close combat." I wouldn't expect to lose fine/complex motor skills during a fight. But what about an ambush situation where my life is in danger - gun threat, knife threath/attack, gangs?
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PostSubject: Re: The Anatomy of Fear   Tue Jul 22, 2008 1:34 am

its the ALWAYS that bothers me


there is a sliding scale of stress... the words "close combat" or "fight" will mean different things to different people

4 months I thought i had lost someone in a very dangerous area whilst I was injured with no phone and no means of transport, I was so filled with fear/ stress/panic I couldnt even speak... i probably wouldnt of been able to punch numbers into a phone if i had to... i certainly wouldnt of been able to fight (i coudnt stand up unassisted at the time anyway)... there wasnt even a physical threat there it was all inside my own head- but I had no training and no mental software to process the scenario...

I got involved in a road rage incident tonight with a car full of guys and my heart rate barely rose (trained for it-)...

if i hit turbulence in a plane i sweat and tremble (not trained for it)...

when i was younger i thought the house had been broken into(it wasnt) , i tried to dial 999 but COULDNT SEE THE NUMBERS! (zero training- though I was doing TMA at the time!)

so I know what they are trying to get to... but stating that "you WILL panic and lose skill" is a dangerous and limiting reality to create for the innocent student... it offends me!

I really, really believe strongly in the power of training and human potential

Quote :
There is nothing that training cannot do. Nothing is above its reach or below it. It can turn bad morals to good, good morals to bad; it can destroy principles, it can recreate them; it can debase angels to men and lift men to angels. And it can do any of these miracles in a year--even six months.
Mark Twain- "As Regards Patriotism"


Quote :
A man can seldom -- very, very, seldom -- fight a winning fight against his training; the odds are too heavy.
Mark Twain
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PostSubject: Re: The Anatomy of Fear   Tue Jul 22, 2008 6:44 am

Ah, this stuff has bothered me a lot too. It's basically stating that it is the situation itself that causes fear, but you know... It's really a mental phenomenon. There could be a big nasty grizzly bear sitting right behind you now and so long as you didn't know you'd feel just fine. In order to fear you'd have to percieve the bear, interpret it as something to be scared of and so on. not necessarily a bad idea if you're up against a grizzly, but just to make the example. If you were somehow retarded you might interpret the grizzly as a huge teddybear or something. but enough about grizzlys.

Your concept of functional insanity is very applicable here. I believe this is from the hagakure but I'm not certain. It's samurai though, and basically says "where the mind has the slightest attachment to life, the mind loses it's fluidity. (and you get carved into ribbons)" In a significantly more verbose way than me. If you care, you scare.

I think just aggression and bloodlust isn't enough for a proper supra state, although it's fundamental. You also need staying power. You need to be willing to recieve violence too. And when you look at a lot of warrior ideology to call it that, there's a lot of "we are already dead, let's go kill the bastards" thinking. Also the most powerful aggressive state I've ever found myself in was so primarily because I didn't care. Ie., I'm going to die no matter what, but I WILL take the guy with me if he makes that move (pull a knife). Didn't even get much of an adrenal dump at all. In and of itself it was a hugely bleak and downright suicidal mindset, but a few facts remained though. The hospital was a couple hundred yards away, the body can take a lot of injury before breaking down, and so on. So functional insanity basically. Temporarily warp your perception of reality to increase your performance.
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PostSubject: Re: The Anatomy of Fear   Tue Jul 22, 2008 1:15 pm

Quote :
So functional insanity basically. Temporarily warp your perception of reality to increase your performance.

I think RichardB you are one of the few people who actually has managed to properly penetrate what Im trying to say. Certainly your the first person to quote the term "functional insanity" properly that Ive seen.

In the bear example I would add that there was a guy who learned to not fear bears, he was not scared of them because of conditioning, training and LOVE of bears... I dont know how I would cope with violence if i didnt love it in some way (the training bit, not the criminal damage bit so much)...

however of course the bears acted like bears in the end and killed him, its a dangerous game we are playing

I saw a Dan Innosanto article in which he said

"sometimes you get the bear, sometimes the bear gets you"
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PostSubject: Re: The Anatomy of Fear   Tue Jul 22, 2008 1:16 pm

what is the name of the film about the bear loving chap?

RichardB have you studied psychology formally?
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PostSubject: Re: The Anatomy of Fear   Tue Jul 22, 2008 1:23 pm

Richard Grannon wrote:
what is the name of the film about the bear loving chap?

I remember that...they had a special on the Disocovery or History channel about that fruit. The funniest part for me was when they interviewed a native Alaskan who said something the effect that "my people have lived in this land for thousands of years and we learned to stay away from the bears."
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PostSubject: Re: The Anatomy of Fear   Tue Jul 22, 2008 1:58 pm

Here is the bear man, Timothy Treadwell.



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3BzTWHxa0Do

Good to hear I'm understanding things properly. I haven't studied psychology formally, most things I do are entirely informal. The way I see it anything can be studied so long as information is available, formal schooling is only truly essential in order to get paperwork and qualifications if you plan to use it to get some kind of job or so on.
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