View Full Version : "time shift" effect

Please visit our sponsor:

AikiWeb Sponsored Links - Place your Aikido link here for only $10!

06-28-2004, 09:43 PM
In the "to look at opponent's eyes or not" thread (http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=5920) George S. Ledyard mentioned "time shift" effect that interested me.
I experienced that couple month ago when I was driving on 101 in carpool at my usual speed 75mph and somebody cut right in front of me. For some reason I was very calm and found myself in an "observer" situation. My body was working by itself and my mind was looking at it as a third-party. Time stopped and I remember every millisecond.
First my body hit the breaks, then when car was very close maybe a meter or two from bumping my foot released the breaks to avoid a drift (my car does not have ABS and maybe that saved me) and I turned the wheel moving the car into emergency lane. When I passed the car I thought should I cut the freak or not (this is the first time my brain intervented, probably because the danger was over), I cut right in front of the car (to my shame) and hit the gas.

To me that lasted for several seconds, but when I looked at my wife, she haven't had the time to feel scared. Only after couple of seconds we realized what happened. She was shocked, to calm her down I started to sing. I was very satisfied for being calm in a danger.

Could anybody comment or explain that phenomenon?

06-28-2004, 10:03 PM
Someone might tie this up with reaction based on instructions direct from your medula oblangata as opposed to your brain. its faster and it feels automatic.

how you achieve that sort of response is anybody's guess. But the general idea is to train your muscles, response and instinct to such an extent that it becomes ingrained into your synapses or whatever.

FWIW anyway...

06-28-2004, 10:35 PM
Yeah, your primal brian takes over in those cases. Your primal brain controls your flight or fight response, your lust, your fear, all those instinctive attributes you process.
It sends signals to the rest of the body, the adrenal glands are activiated, your whole body is put into overdrive to avoid the danger. The higher brain is cut out of the picture. There is no time to think clearly because if you take the time to think you could be dead.

My brother was mugged a few years back when he was training in Jujutsu often. He beat his attackers off but at the time had no idea what had occurred. He had to have counciling to get the events clear in his head. Amazing how all his training just took over, the higher brain was pushed aside and the instinctual brain took control.

06-28-2004, 10:51 PM
Thanks for your comments guys.
Ok, but why time stops? I would make an assumption that our "timer" is located in that higher brain which is inactive or acts as "observer" at that time. Therefore we loose the feeling of time when our primal brain takes over.
I also must add that my higher brain was not cut out, but rather was overruled by primal brain, control was taken, higher brain was silent but active. That's why I remember everything. Dean, you say your brother did not remember what happened at the time he was fighting. Maybe well trained fighter can turn off the higher brain completely?

06-29-2004, 04:39 AM
Time stopped because unless you fixed the problem..you had no more time left. :D

Peter Seth
06-29-2004, 06:10 AM
'Look at far things near and near things far'. - you can put your thoughts through time and picture events out of what appears to be 'normal sinc'. If you are lucky/on the ball/aware, you can in effect 'react in advance' if that makes sense. Its actually 'working zanshin' and is the state we are all training to achieve. It is already there in us, but too many people cloud their minds and train to 'achieve' a certain goal or objective they 'focus' too much on their ego and achievements instead of just letting go - enjoy - dance the dance without trying to get the steps perfect. Enter the 'flow', enjoy - sometimes the greatest things are achieved with the least effort in no TIME at all!
Sorry, bit of a ramble - but?

Yann Golanski
06-29-2004, 06:48 AM
There was a study done some time ago on gunslingers in the west. They found that whoever was fastest at drawing and shooting generally was the guy who was responding. They figured it was because he was acting on reflex and not in a cognitive capacity. Sadly, I can't pin point the exact study/papers from that. Anyone cares to point me to the right direction?

06-29-2004, 09:27 AM
Please remember you cannot "time shift". At least to the best of my knowledge, we do not know how to yet.

What does shift is the perception of time. Often in times of trauma, crisis, trance states, and other states of altered consciousness the perception of time changes. Very common.

If you read more about sport psychology or self-hypnosis you can learn to gain some ability to do this one purpose.

06-29-2004, 12:09 PM
I've had this happen numerous times during various events, inside and outside the dojo. The "bullet time" (BT) is a strange and wonderful feeling. It is very vivid and a different decision process to that of normal. A couple years back (when I made time to train five days a week), I started having the BT as nage. It was an awesome sense of power to walk around behind someone as if they were standing still, seeing every opening and nuance of their balance. It was strange that I knew every option of what I could do to my partner and chose from those options not based on "reflex" but rather on the appropriateness of the situation. In that moment, I knew that I could do anything that was possible to my partner and that it didn't matter what the rest of the world thought about my actions, only the harming my friend was unnecessary and not personally desired.
I was/am interested in being able to apply that mindset on command (I would love to write computer code in that mode), but haven't been training that hard in a while and am not sure how to make it voluntary or make the jump out of state training. I've heard people claim that this can occur during resting meditation too, but have never had any luck with that in the past.
Perhaps one of the reasons that some fear meditation and altered consciousness that it can allow this mental self reliance that supersedes the rest of society. Not only does someone with this ability endanger the status quo, but it is quite a weapon to entrust to your neighbor to develop peacefully. I'm not convinced that this justifies the taboo though.

06-29-2004, 12:11 PM
Ok, you explained some conditions when perception of time changes, but nobody yet explained why the perception of time changes. Why when the higher brain loses control, time perception also changes?

The amazing thing was that it was as in the "Matrix" movie when action stops for couple of seconds and then it continues with terrifying speed. My brain could feel that. I found myself as living in a slowed-down movie and when it was over my car proceed with its normal speed.

06-29-2004, 03:51 PM
I hear that, especially regarding car incidents.

Just last Wednesday, as I was driving to work, my car lost its left rear wheel, going 50 mph. Not the tire, mind you, the whole wheel. It started to vibrate wildly, so my last 'conscious' act was to start thinking that, just perhaps, I should pull over and check things out. As soon as I started to apply the brakes, the wheel came off and I remember switching into a totally dispassionate frame of mind. The brakes lost almost all pressure, so I slowly applied the e-brake and pulled over into a nearby parking lot with the left rear end of the car dragging on the road and trying to pull me to the right. I had shut off the car and saw the wheel bounce past me trailing flames from the inside when perception returned to normal.

Turns out the ball-bearings had worn out, and worn down the pin holding the wheel assembly on... I was left with just the assembly that held the drum brakes on the axle. And then I borrowed another vehicle and got to work just a bit late... driving through construction zones was far more nerve-wracking by far :freaky:

That said, I don't know if it could be called 'bullet time' per se; it was a bit of a different feeling of detachment. I've experienced it a few times before, ie, when a mis-striking jo was about ready to introduce my skull to my ribcage. That's where muscle memory really shows its stuff, ne? It's not something that I, at least, can call on at will.

So I could have just said that SeiserL and the others with the same info were spot-on, and not been long-winded, I guess :D

- Grey

06-29-2004, 06:56 PM
wheres Art Bell when you need him?

07-04-2004, 06:10 AM
Ok, you explained some conditions when perception of time changes, but nobody yet explained why the perception of time changes. Why when the higher brain loses control, time perception also changes?

Time itself is only an illusion - merely a perception of the mind. All things that will happen already have; we have lived without being born and will die without ever existing.

All mysticism aside, it is important to note that belief is the common thread that ties our 'reality' together. If you truly believe something - time and its linear and thus divisible nature, in this case - it is created and can be manipulated under the rules which you believe it to hold. While things like this can easily become cyclical and the truth of these very statements are based on this very same faith, the status quo can and has been broken by it's nature. Examples include stigmata and other religious phenomenon, chemical use, and psychic ability related to the human energy field.

The mind - whatever that is - is a powerful thing.


Rupert Atkinson
07-04-2004, 07:27 PM

Time did not stop. You woke up, for a moment, then went back to sleep. :)

Michael Hackett
07-04-2004, 08:27 PM
I've had several experiences with a "time shift" and from what I've read, it has to do with the adrenaline being pumped into your system as part of the defense mechanism. I've stopped wondering why and have just been thankful for the effect.

I interviewed a wounded armed robber in the hospital after he had been shot during a stakeout of a liquor store. He was shot with a shotgun through a candy rack and survived the wounds. He was telling me that he heard the trigger click and then saw a package of "Lifesavers" candy flying towards him in slow motion, stop, start, stop, start and so on until he was lying on his back looking at the ceiling.

I've experienced similar feelings in the rodeo arena when I was working off duty as a rodeo clown-bullfighter. When I would have to go in between a bull and downed cowboy, time would seem to slow down and my vision would narrow to my immediate area of activity. Sound would both diminish and increase at the same time; crowd sounds would disappear as would the announcer, but I could hear the footsteps of my partner, the breathing of the bull and my own footsteps. As soon as the pass was made, all would return to normal. I had much the same experience when shot at a couple of times too.

I've not personally experienced anything similar on the mat, but I suspect that has to do with the feeling of safety and comfort in the training environment of the dojo.

Whatever the cause, it helps you act and react in a critical situation where your life and safety are truly in danger. For that I'm grateful.

07-06-2004, 08:46 AM
Some parts there in regards to the bullfighting sound like tunnel vision and associated effects.

George S. Ledyard
07-06-2004, 10:49 AM
Please remember you cannot "time shift". At least to the best of my knowledge, we do not know how to yet.

What does shift is the perception of time. Often in times of trauma, crisis, trance states, and other states of altered consciousness the perception of time changes. Very common.

If you read more about sport psychology or self-hypnosis you can learn to gain some ability to do this one purpose.

We've had some success using a simple form of "time shifting" Randori traiing (multiple attackers). When the uke is too excited he tends to try to outspeed the attackers. Since there are three or four of them he normally can't do this (unless he is extremely quick and even then he can't do it for long).

An exercise we've developed is to have the uke move as if he is moving in slow motion. It is really fascinating to find that if you approach the randori as if you had all the time in the world you stay calm and focused, each individual technique works more effectively, and you can get to the point at which the faster the ukes try to attack, the more irrelevant their speed seems to be. Anyway, it is a great exercise and has made a great difference for folks of well below yudansha rank when they were doing randori. I fond that it carries over to one on one practice as well since once you can do this with three or so attackers, one doesn't seem to be so much of a big deal suddenly. It becomes almost impossible for one attacker to make you feel rushed.

I've also noticed this happening when you do some practice like the knife work in Kali and Silat. After a period of doing the very fast knife flow drills, coming back to standard empty hand seems to be much easier. What used to make you feel rushed and forced you into defensive mode now seems to be slower and you can maintain your forward intention.

My partner, who was a nationally ranked fencer at one point, said the same thing happened in her sport. When you started the moves were so fast that an untrained person couldn't even see them. But as you trained really hard, this perception started to change and a sort of "time shift" took place in which you could see and execute techniques in a space of time that previously you couldn't even perceive.