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Duval Culpepper
05-09-2005, 02:43 AM
Anyone ever lock up before a possibile altercation brews? In spite of my training and confidence in techniques, I feel like adrenaline always gets the best of me and I tense up, rather than relax.

Anyway to deal with this out in the world?

Thanks,

makuchg
05-09-2005, 05:14 AM
Duval,

How much training and what types? The most effective stress reduction techniques (at least those used by most military and police departments to prepare their people for confrontations) are scenario based. You have to be put in a situation with continually increasing stressors. For example, police use a shoot house. A solo officer is put in a position where they are threatened. They must decide in an instant to shoot or not to shoot. As they master this skill, additional threats present themselves until the officer can deal with many things at once.

The military does reflex shooting drills. These drills, designed to increase response without hesitation are very effective. If all your training has been in a dojo setting, you might want to add some realism. Discuss you concerns with your sensei and get his/her advice.

SeiserL
05-09-2005, 08:39 AM
IMHO, very few Dojos actually do any adenaline response training, and since generalization is very situational/skill specific, if you want to utilize your adrenaline pump/rush/dump you would bave to train it.

tedehara
05-09-2005, 09:18 AM
This is why you have to train to relax. Things like meditation, being centered and breathing exercises are techniques you can practice. They are also useful for "everyday" conflicts, like irritating people and situations.

Specific situational training like Model Mugging and police scenario training are for self-defense. They run you through specific scenarios to familiarize you with the situation. It is used especially because it is a quick way to train. However, because they are scenario specific, they cannot take into account the variables that actually occur in an actual situation.

A good way to counter this closed in thinking is to do freestyle randori, where the uke attacks anyway they can and you respond the best way at that instant. Either that, or learn to play jazz. This teaches you to appreciate the moment.

Another way to counter an adrenaline dump is to simply tell yourself, "I don't have time for this." You have a serious situation that must be dealt with. You don't have the time to go through any chemical changes. It's your body, maybe it might listen to you.

You can use any technique to keep yourself centered. If it's thinking "Keep One Point" or touching your hara/center, these techniques can remind you of the way you want to approach the situation.

L. Camejo
05-09-2005, 10:26 AM
Another way to counter an adrenaline dump is to simply tell yourself, "I don't have time for this." You have a serious situation that must be dealt with. You don't have the time to go through any chemical changes. It's your body, maybe it might listen to you.

Great post Ted. Except for the above piece, though it is a very interesting concept.

I'm not sure how much research has been done in talking one's body out of an adrenal response, since it is something that tends to happen reflexively and is triggered automatically without consultation of the higher brain functions from my understanding. It all happens in the "reptilian brain" so to speak. As such I am not sure how much effect talking to it can have, since it does not relate at this higher cognisant level. At least from my understanding.

There has been some work on the use of NLP or self-hypnosis type "trigger words" where one preconditions and pretrains oneself to react to certain single word trigger that puts the body quickly in a state to effectively and calmly deal with the adrenaline dump or at least delay and diminish it's ill effects (it does have favourable effects too). These triggers would be used at the first sign of a threat to calm the individual and prepare for the adrenaline dump.

Of course I leave opening to be corrected by those with more knowledge than I on the subject.

Generally though, Reality Based training systems and similar methods have found to have some effect in this regard, with the limitations Ted gave earlier also. Meditation and relaxation training can help a lot I think, but may take longer than Reality Based or Psycho Chemical Stress Training.

Like dealing with extremes of temperature by exposing and conditioning the body, a good way to condition oneself to deal with adrenaline dumps is to systematically expose oneself to them repeatedly in a somewhat controlled manner so one gets the required "tolerance" level to handle the dump. This way the ill effects become less and less until it is easily controlled. A similar method is used by SWAT Teams to build tolerance against things like Tear Gas etc.

Duval: There is a thread here on Aikiweb (http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=7706) that speaks about how Psycho-Chemical Stress training if employed in the typical Aikido class may help folks to deal with this. For those who do competitive arts where they regularly experience a seriously attacking and resisting opponent, there seems to be some correlation with the effects of this sort of training and the practitioner's ability to deal with adrenaline dumps in reality. It happened to me personally, at least twice where the dump did not crash the system but fine tuned it, since I had sort of "gotten accustomed" to someone seriously coming at me with a knife and developed preset methods of using the adrenaline dump.

Check out the other thread, there may be some ideas there also. Anxiety is something that can be controlled if it is understood imho.

Just a few thoughts.
LC:ai::ki:

Ron Tisdale
05-09-2005, 11:02 AM
I have seen two different ideas of dealing with the adrenaline dump problem. My own experience tends to follow this first one...by training in a calm state under various amounts of pressure, the dump just never happens. It seemed to work for me in the one real situation where I needed it. I never really had time for a dump, just had to respond naturally. I personally believe a lot of the training methodolgy in aikido is oriented toward this type of response, but I am not well versed in this area, so I can't really speak about it intelligently.

The other method is like the ones mentioned above. I don't think that the styles of aikido without full resistance randori really explore that as much. I do know that some styles use the testing process to some extent to do this. Any thoughts?

Best,
Ron

Ron Tisdale
05-09-2005, 02:33 PM
Here is an interesting link to an article:

http://www.yoshinkan-aikido.org/yoshinkan_aikido/contents/iyaf_information/ayi_online/files/V2N1_AYI_Online.pdf

RT

Brian Vickery
05-09-2005, 03:24 PM
Anyone ever lock up before a possibile altercation brews? In spite of my training and confidence in techniques, I feel like adrenaline always gets the best of me and I tense up, rather than relax.

...it's tough (...if not impossible!) to train in the dojo under the influence of adrenal stress, but there are places you can go to that specialize in this type of training! RMCAT (Rocky Mountain Combat Applications Training) is one of them, which I have been to myself. The training there is AWESOME, and I highly recommend it!

...this place teaches you how to control & focus you fear during a self-defense situation, instead of freeze!

Go to: http://www.RMCAT.com to check them out!

DustinAcuff
05-10-2005, 12:49 AM
Duval, yes, it has happened to me quite often. When I was practicing BJJ and Muai Thai, especially right after I started, I would lock up soo badly that i would get throughly exhausted in less than 20 sec. and not be able to continue, but with time it got easier.

Since starting an Aiki art, the problem has diminished dramatically. When i first started training multipe attackers i was almost frozed in place for a few sec, and the first time an uke seriously grabbed me the same thing happened. But again, with time it passed. If you haven't been training too long, then it will pass fairly soon. But i would recommend that if you are training some kind of striking/grappling art that wants you to be tense (BJJ, Muai Thai) you stop because the lock-up is probably caused by your brain trying to relax to recive energy and spring-load to attack at the same time.

One point i would like to make is that adrenaline/norepinephrine is NOT your enemy! it is your friend. freezing up is your enemy, and that is a purely psychological response. adrenaline dialates every blood vessel in your body, saturates you bloodstream with fat cells (energy), increases your respiration, and a number of other good things, that is why you feel like you are more alive and almost giddy with energy. depending on your personality you might percive this as undesirable. but you need to realize this is a good thing. think of it as turning your Ki on overdirve mode. as long as you just take a deep breath and smile (both of those things actually alter your state of mind and take the fear/apprehension away) and try to relax a bit if anything you will be BETTER off than if you had not gotten the adrenaline rush. you will be in a more Zanshin/Mushin mode meaning you will react quicker and better than you conciously could.

RebeccaM
05-10-2005, 01:21 AM
I used to ride ambulances. No violent conflict, but plenty of adrenaline. Somehow, in the course of training and practicing, I learned how to think through the adrenaline. It's hard, especailly when you're pounding on someone's chest in the back of an ambulance with your heart beating in your ears, the paramedic screaming "Clear!" and the siren singing and the driver shouting "Hard right! Fast stop! Hang on!" loud enough to heard over everything. I still get a bit of a rush just remembering some of that stuff...

While I was riding ambulances, I was also going to college and studying Shotokan karate. I noticed something in my sparring as time went on and I got more exposure to bad calls and loud sirens and adrenaline. When I first started out, I'd get really tight, the adrenaline would hit, I couldn't use my head, etc. But the lessons I learned as a medic carried over into the sparring matches and I found that I could very consciously lay the rush aside. It's almost as if it's a huge folder full of silly paperwork you don't want to deal with: you just pick it up, put it on the other corner of the desk, and get on with things. That's how you think through an adrenaline rush. It does take some time and practice to get to that point though.

Now, coming OFF the adrenaline...that's something I've never learned to handle. That hyper yet shaky feeling, the sweating, the jangling,,,,that I don't know how to deal with.

L. Camejo
05-10-2005, 09:51 AM
Great post Rebecca.

But the lessons I learned as a medic carried over into the sparring matches and I found that I could very consciously lay the rush aside. It's almost as if it's a huge folder full of silly paperwork you don't want to deal with: you just pick it up, put it on the other corner of the desk, and get on with things. That's how you think through an adrenaline rush. It does take some time and practice to get to that point though.

This is an example of how another activity can help one condition oneself to the effects of the adrenaline dump. As Dustin said, it can be of great help once one does not freeze up.

Now, coming OFF the adrenaline...that's something I've never learned to handle. That hyper yet shaky feeling, the sweating, the jangling,,,,that I don't know how to deal with.
I used to have this problem as well. What I found was that exercises in breathing and visualisation (Yiqi) that I learnt from Aikido and Qigong training helped me to use my mind to "guide" or "push" the energy back into my hara (dantien) instead of allowing it to run everywhere in my body and cause havoc after the threat had subsided.

It took some practice, but to use Rebecca's analogy, it was like taking papers blown all over the floor and compacting them back into a neat folder and placing it at the corner of your desk to move on to "normal operation" mode. In other words, returning the energy rush to a central place where it can subside naturally and even assist in the rebalancing process. Kinda hard to explain.:)

Just some thoughts.
LC:ai::ki:

jester
05-10-2005, 09:59 AM
Fighting a lot always helps :D

Adrenaline rush is common for most anyone. I used to get it a lot when I ran track in High School.

What type of altercations do you lock up in?

Brian Vickery
05-10-2005, 11:16 AM
Anyway to deal with this out in the world?
...here's a pretty interesting article on this subject. It's not really aikido related, just how an ordinary guy handled an adrenaline dump, but it's a good read anyway!

http://www.bestlifeonline.com/cda/article/0,5507,s1-4-0-0-1731-1-4X11X18X23X27X30-7,00.html

ShugyoSystems
05-14-2005, 11:44 AM
I suffer from a slightly different affliction which I'm sure is related...

I don't 'lock up', but I do get a BAD case of the shakes which slows me down terribly... There seems to be related massive pulse rates. It doesn't ever happen in the dojo, but it happens in real life.

I've realised while thinking about it to write this post that it happens when I get angry, which explains why it never happens on the mat. It just occurred to me that it seems to be when I get angry about someone doing something really morally wrong. I can remember a few occasions where my girlfriend at the time was threatened or badly disrespected by another guy (I'm big on respect for women so I consider this kind of thing to be morally wrong), and I was just -busting- to sort the guy out... I get the shakes even if I know that I can avoid the fight. The most recent example I can think of was a rape scene in a movie that kinda got to me... I was sitting there on the couch all :grr: I feel kinda silly admitting to being so badly affected by a TV show but hey maybe I can help someone else or get some help by mentioning it.

I notice that the effects hang around for some time, 5 minutes or perhaps even a little more, and slowly wear off exponentially until I forget about whatever was bugging me... What makes you guys 'snap out of it'? Or does it just kinda happen by itself?

Ketsan
05-15-2005, 01:07 PM
Anyone ever lock up before a possibile altercation brews? In spite of my training and confidence in techniques, I feel like adrenaline always gets the best of me and I tense up, rather than relax.

Anyway to deal with this out in the world?

Thanks,

Smile and stretch. Does wonders.

mj
05-15-2005, 01:55 PM
Smile and stretch. Does wonders.
Yes...the stretch. A treasure.

Duval Culpepper
05-17-2005, 01:22 AM
Smile and stretch. Does wonders.

I feel like that will work very well. Most of the problem is the rapid surge of thoughts as to what to do that clogs up my ability to respond fluidly.

Be calm, and relax. Not wild and crazy.

ShugyoSystems
05-17-2005, 02:40 AM
I feel like that will work very well. Most of the problem is the rapid surge of thoughts as to what to do that clogs up my ability to respond fluidly.

Be calm, and relax. Not wild and crazy.

Ahh Thankyou Duval! That's solved the problem for me. Now that you mention it, I can see that I only feel the way I do because I'm in conflict about the whole situation - I don't like to fight, and I think that's why I get so amped - internal conflict because part of me really wants to smash the guy and part of me wishes I wouldn't!

It seems so obvious now in retrospect. Fight, or don't fight; but don't be a fence-sitter! Thanks for clearing it up!! :)

Ketsan
05-17-2005, 09:23 AM
I feel like that will work very well. Most of the problem is the rapid surge of thoughts as to what to do that clogs up my ability to respond fluidly.

Be calm, and relax. Not wild and crazy.

Just think "I really can't be bothered with this, it's just too much effort". You can't be stressed and bone idle at the same time. I can't help treating aggressive people with complete indifference.

Seriously if I start a martial art it'll be called Reizenjitsu and it wont have any negotiating in it apart from "Wow. You can actually be bothered to beat me up over this? Don't you have something better to do?"

Kevin Leavitt
05-19-2005, 04:59 PM
I am working extensively with the modern army combatives program in my battalion. One thing we have found in the army over the years is that you will react under stress exactly the way you train. That is why we do reflexive fire training for weapons training and why we are now training guys under a different martial arts mentality than we did in the past.

That said, you don't do reflexive fire drills without developing a good sound base in the basics of markmanship skills first, otherwise you develop bad habits.

You have to pair stress/overstresstraining with a good sound base in principles and correct skills, that is, slow, methodical training. You do the boring things over and over again until they become instincts.

We find that most soldiers carry knives in combat, but very few will actually use them in a fight since they forget about them because they never train to pull them. you will react back to your habits formed in training. if that is to lock up on an adrenalin dump, then that is what will happen.

Ketsan
05-20-2005, 04:56 PM
We find that most soldiers carry knives in combat, but very few will actually use them in a fight since they forget about them because they never train to pull them. you will react back to your habits formed in training. if that is to lock up on an adrenalin dump, then that is what will happen.

I suppose it's dependent on schemas i.e. what the soldier considers a weapon, like you say, if you don't train with it you don't think of it as a weapon. I find the whole psychological side facinating.

Randathamane
06-15-2005, 08:13 AM
We find that most soldiers carry knives in combat, but very few will actually use them in a fight since they forget about them because they never train to pull them. you will react back to your habits formed in training. if that is to lock up on an adrenalin dump, then that is what will happen.

Agree with you there. Got a few friends in the army- and they tell me that it is shoot, shoot, shoot and shoot- Even at point blank range. Thing is, you cannot pull and wield knives effectively when your pack and equipment may well weigh over 150lbs, not to mention holding a two handed rifle already- imagine that...
It would be like tantodori with a dead elephant on your back- or you could pull the trigger. Your choice, but i know which i would use.

:ai: :ki: :do:

Kevin Leavitt
06-15-2005, 03:24 PM
The army is getting interesting these days as we move into "operations other than war" and "Low Intensity Conflict". I work at a large training center in Germany in an Opposing Forces Infantry Battalion. We replicate the "enemy" and train our troops to fight against our current threats.

It used to be "maximum fire power, concentrated to overwhelm and destroy the enemy". i.e Maximum use of force.

Increasingly we are getting ourselves into a "minimal use of force" scenario. Our training is adapting to fit that.

Training for maximum use of force is slightly different than the skills sets for minimum use of force., but the warrior ethos that must be developed is the same.

Controlling anxiety and being able to remain clear and calm is required in all instances. I think one of the greatest values of empty handed training is mentally conditioning yourself to be able to think and react under extremely stressful situations. More so, than any of the techniques you get out of the arts.

And as you point out: you must use the right weapon for the right situation!

Rupert Atkinson
06-15-2005, 09:14 PM
Training for maximum use of force is slightly different than the skills sets for minimum use of force., but the warrior ethos that must be developed is the same.


Only slightly different?

DustinAcuff
06-15-2005, 11:30 PM
Makes sense to me. The diffrence between a very effective pin and a neck breaker is pretty small, just a cut and a bit of ki.

Rupert Atkinson
06-16-2005, 01:55 AM
Yes, but he is talking about military firepower - and from what we have been reading of late of Iraq, I was thinking of the difference bewteen shooting 100s of rounds into a car point blank and obliterating everything, including some bystanders, or just shooting the driver with one accurate shot.

Pankration90
06-16-2005, 02:42 AM
If you can, find a place to do scenario training (a lot of the reality based crowd does this). Do a lot of hard sparring as well. This will help you get used to getting hit and hitting other people.

Your goal shouldn't be to prevent the adrenaline dump, but to get used to it. Adrenaline is there for a reason and helps you out a lot in a fight. Adrenaline makes you stronger, makes you feel less pain, etc.

Another tip (which might not go over well with the rest of the posters in this thread) is to get angry. In a fight, I'd rather be angry than scared.

Does anyone know if it's possible to condition yourself to react with certain moods under certain circumstances (ie, getting mad when someone hits you so you don't get scared)?

ian
06-16-2005, 06:40 AM
Everyone (normal) gets an adrenalin dump if they are put in a threatening situation. The trick is to realise it is NOT a threatening situation. If someone is coming towards you to attack, go to meet them, this allows you to get into the depth of a fight before the adrenalin has negative effects. Don't be 'intimidated' into fighting, wait for them to be aggressive (I know sometimes the converse is often more useful, but this prevents you deliberating over what you do). Stand your ground, use 'the fence' (put up your arm to protect your space, if they invade that space, assume the fight has started and let your body do its reactions!)

It may just be a matter of how much time you've been training (not sure how long you've trained), but knowing aikido menatlly is useless, your body has to know it so that you can move and react without the need of your cerebral cortex. In a fight situation (at least from my experience) you are unable to make many (if any) concious decisions.

Maybe run through scenarios in the dojo. The real beauty of aikido is there is no fight/not fighting duality like other martial arts. You don't have to DO something to people, you just defend yourself in a positive matter i.e. with a striking art, as soon as you strike there is no way to produce a peaceable resolution. With aikido you can use gentle nikkyo, ikkyo techniques to nullify the attack (esp. if it is not really a solid aggressive attack, e.g. if it is only a grab or a push). And often it ends up not even turning into a real fight because they give up.

Hope this helps. Trust in yourself and be positive!