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-   -   Article - PCS Conditioning in Budo (http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=7706)

L. Camejo 03-12-2005 08:44 AM

Article - PCS Conditioning in Budo
 
Hi Folks,

Just found a brilliant article on Aikidojournal written by Toby Threadgill regarding the effects of Psycho-Chemical Stress in real life threat encounters and its place in Budo training and mind/body conditioning.

These are the links -

Part I - http://www.aikidojournal.com/?id=559

Part II - http://www.aikidojournal.com/?id=593

Comments are welcome.

LC:ai::ki:

mj 03-12-2005 09:40 AM

Re: Article - PCS Conditioning in Budo
 
Well, preaching to the converted where I am concerned Larry :)
Quote:

Kenji Tomiki, Ueshiba's first 8th dan was once asked about his exploration of shiai within Shodokan Aikido. He referred to it as "Putting the eyes back in the dragon" I believe one aspect of training he was talking about was PCS. One must try to envision that properly taught, competition does not necessarily result in a winner and a loser. Both participants can be winners. Freestyle practice against a totally uncooperative partner, especially one rewarded for executing successful, full-speed attacks is not necessarily a unique phenomenon in a traditionally based art like aikido. Successfully executing technique against an uncooperative attacker moving at full speed requires the highest levels of technical ability and keen mental awareness. Admittedly, such encounters frequently lack the aesthetic technical elegance most aikidoka are familiar with, but in my eyes witnessing perfectly timed and executed waza at full speed between uncooperative partners is a far more beautiful manifestation of aikido than overly cooperative randori. It is budo in spirit and experience, a demonstration of spontaneous defensive tactics in dynamic physical and mental action.
2 things here...firstly having to adapt waza (or principles) to real life or chaotic situations. (Perhaps a different discussion there)

Secondly, the underlying message of the article, stress.

From my time in Judo Shodokan etc it becomes apparent over a long period of time that new people go through phases of stress (if they can cope with the long term nature of martial arts...say a minimum of 18 months).

When they can stand up and not drop to the ground (as a defensive or counter measure) they are coping with these stresses and looking for better ways to deal with a situation.

That would be where the proper learning starts, imo.

My comments are made only in relation to a small part of the article though, it's not a be all and end all statement.

When I taught Judo I would put people under great stress (line ups usually) and keep 'encouraging' them to stand up and stop grovelling, to develop this ability :)

SeiserL 03-12-2005 09:41 AM

Re: Article - PCS Conditioning in Budo
 
This type of training has been around a long time. The closer the training scenario to the actual application, the more likely that the lesson will be generalized and available. One of the reason full-contact fighters have the reputation they deserve is they know how to keep going when they are getting hit.

francisucs 03-12-2005 11:26 AM

Re: Article - PCS Conditioning in Budo
 
But the issue is that aikido generally does not use that type of training.

senshincenter 03-12-2005 11:44 AM

Re: Article - PCS Conditioning in Budo
 
I thought the article was very good. I especially liked Part 2. Excellent.

These are by no means objections to what was said in the article, only further applications of what Mr. Threadgill was saying: I have also found such training to take place in weapons training - even when the weapons are wood. Wood weapons traveling at full or near to full speed, where poor technique, be it for mental/emotional and/or physical reasons, warrants that one will be struck and struck hard often amounts to the same kind of training; I would also like to suggest that ukemi from intense applications of technique - where all Angles of Cancellations are present and especially where Kuzushi is created by Nage and not contrived by Uke - can also amount to such training and/or conditioning. In our dojo, this is one of the first places where one begins to tackle such issues.

An interesting aside, one I think I'm only beginning to get a grasp on, Chiba Sensei once said that it was for these reasons that practices his Zazen - because his mat training could no longer get intense enough for this kind of training to continue. That point always reminded me of what my mentor used to say about Zen - (paraphrasing) "Zen is not touchy-feeling feel good, Zen is like vinegar through the nose!"

eyrie 03-14-2005 07:55 PM

Re: Article - PCS Conditioning in Budo
 
Interesting article :rolleyes: . I especially like Richard Elias's comment at the bottom of Part II.

I think PCS conditioning is one, albeit narrowminded, way of looking at it. It certainly does not suit everyone. The last thing a rape survivor or someone coming out of a physically abusive relationship, would want to do is to go through the sort of PCS conditioning Mr Threadgill is suggesting is necessary.

L. Camejo 03-14-2005 08:16 PM

Re: Article - PCS Conditioning in Budo
 
Quote:

David Valadez wrote:
I have also found such training to take place in weapons training - even when the weapons are wood. Wood weapons traveling at full or near to full speed, where poor technique, be it for mental/emotional and/or physical reasons, warrants that one will be struck and struck hard often amounts to the same kind of training; I would also like to suggest that ukemi from intense applications of technique - where all Angles of Cancellations are present and especially where Kuzushi is created by Nage and not contrived by Uke - can also amount to such training and/or conditioning. In our dojo, this is one of the first places where one begins to tackle such issues.

I can agree with what David says here. I tend to use both a padded bokken and normal bokken in training. The padded one is for the beginners who are still working on basics of tai sabaki etc. The normal one I use with my more senoir folks to keep them on edge and aware that danger is present a bit.

The main way we do it though is in our tanto randori training where one really tries to plunge the knife into you from multiple angles sometimes and also resists and tries to counter your techniques if you don;t catch em with a clean technique. I am hoping to expand on this practice further. I must admit that this sort of training may have helped me when I had my first experience being robbed at gunpoint. In some sort of weird way I was able to keep calm although the adrenaline was pumping and the system was being heightened.

I think this sort of training is important for any h2h combat system or martial art that plans to train at some level for dealing with attacks "out there on the pointy edge of things." Like other things in training we only learn how to control and use the effects of psychological and chemical stress responses by understanding and playing with them a bit to see how we work under stress. Of course the absence of this has been the main point of attack for those who want to discount Aikido as an effective foundation SD art.

As we saw in the Pizza Parlor Attack video - serious, targeted and malicious violence can shock many of us into a place we are not accustomed to or try to deny exists. As such, when we get there, we are in a foreign place, but our guide is the person trying to beat our brains in.

Sadly this sort of training needs to be also more prevalent among those who do experience this sort of stuff or are threatened by it regularly. LEOs, Prison Guards etc. should have some solid experience in this training for their own protection, not to mention civilians. The results of a lack of training in this regard for a Prison Guard can be seen in the video on this thread.

It's a side of reality that we sometimes try to deny, but when it shows up it would be nice to be ready, at least imho.
LC:ai::ki:

PeterR 03-14-2005 08:18 PM

Re: Article - PCS Conditioning in Budo
 
Quote:

Mark Johnston wrote:
2 things here...firstly having to adapt waza (or principles) to real life or chaotic situations. (Perhaps a different discussion there)

Toby is aware that Shodokan Aikido combines kata training and randori. Certain techniques are considered for safety in a shiai setting but others found in kata sets and elsewhere are not. I use the word considered as modified suggests they are changed - allowed variations is a clearer statement. The shift to nasty is actually very small and can be studied. Randori and by extension shiai really is about working under stress - the analogy is very good as you say.
Quote:

Secondly, the underlying message of the article, stress.

L. Camejo 03-14-2005 08:46 PM

Re: Article - PCS Conditioning in Budo
 
Quote:

Ignatius Teo wrote:
I think PCS conditioning is one, albeit narrowminded, way of looking at it. It certainly does not suit everyone.

Hi Ignatius,

If you have other, more effective methods please share. We are all here to learn.

Quote:

Ignatius Teo wrote:
The last thing a rape survivor or someone coming out of a physically abusive relationship, would want to do is to go through the sort of PCS conditioning Mr Threadgill is suggesting is necessary.

Agreed. Which is why it is the Instructor's responsibility to make sure that his/her students may be psychologically capable of dealing with this sort of method. If the person is still experiencing PTSD from a previous attack then I doubt this sort of training will be of help at that point in time.

However, there must also be a feasible alternative in this regard. For if it is not done at some point, then the person may merely have survived one attack to make him/herself vulnerable for another at a later date. To learn from these stress experiences is the key. The idea is not to be learning about it for the first time when something bad does happen.

It comes down to which is more traumatic - being assaulted, making a concerted attempt to get over it and training oneself in a way that helps one deal with what happens, or going into a protective psychological cocoon that in reality fails to protect one from a reoccurrence of the traumatic episode or from the psychological / chemical /physical strain that comes with it. I know people who have never recovered from these sorts of experiences the second time around, why wait to try to learn about it when it is happening? Imho one should learn as much as possible before these things happen so one can be safe. Even more so to avoid a repeat occurrence of a traumatic event imho.

Just my 2 cents.
LC:ai::ki:

eyrie 03-15-2005 05:37 AM

Re: Article - PCS Conditioning in Budo
 
Larry,

That's kinda like saying electro-shock therapy is a way of treating a person's fear of electrical shocks, i.e. we'll keep shocking you until you get over it. That doesn't sit well with me.

IMHO, the spiritual practice of aikido itself is sufficient. IMHO, thru aikido, the individual becomes empowered thru breath control, relaxed centeredness and extension of ki. IMHO, I would rather reinforce these positively, than to induce a adrenal dump and see how the subject overcomes it. Because, in a confrontational situation, the things I want them to remember is to relax, breathe, center and extend. Not freeze and fight to overcome the instinctive fright or flight response.

[inserted]
There's a girl in my jujitsu class that had an abusive father. Everytime we got her up to spar she would fall to pieces and burst out in tears. This is even before any punches or kicks are even traded. To introduce the sort of PCS conditioning that Mr Treadgill suggests, at any point before she is emotionally ready to deal with it, is simply hopeless.
[/inserted]

But that's just my humble 2 cents worth.

L. Camejo 03-15-2005 11:23 AM

Re: Article - PCS Conditioning in Budo
 
Quote:

Ignatius Teo wrote:
That's kinda like saying electro-shock therapy is a way of treating a person's fear of electrical shocks, i.e. we'll keep shocking you until you get over it. That doesn't sit well with me.

If you understood my reply you would find that I am agreeing with you to a point. There is a certain phase during the recovery process of a victim of fear and trauma when PCS training will do more damage than help in overcoming the problem. It is at these times, the beginning stages, that other options along the lines of positive reinforcement, empowerment, psycho and hypnotherapy, even neo linguistic programming and other psychological tools can be used to bring the victim to a place where they have obtained a certain degree of centredness, calm and control over their own inner fears and trauma. As I indicated above, those who instruct using PCS Conditioning need to be aware of this so as to not inflict more psychological injury on their subject.

However, to think that getting over the inner fear of the source of the trauma alone enables the person to effectively deal with the same trauma in an effective manner if it physically returns may be wishful thinking. All the person has done so far is conquered their inner fear of the attack, the next thing they have to understand is how to deal with the attack itself if it returns ever in future. This is where PCS Conditioning comes in, where you have some sort of a basic, stable psychological platform to operate from. A place where you can step further into not only dealing with one's inner demons but how one faces and conquers the outer demon as well, by transcending the tactics it may use to instigate fear and trauma and deal directly with the reality of being attacked, without being hampered by the other fears that may accompany the situation of being attacked. In a sense it helps train the "empty mind" approach to conflict. If we enter a conflict situation hampered by our fears and debilitating emotions we have already lost. In fact this is why some folks who use PCS actually teach their students to harness the fear and rage they may have regarding an encounter and utilise it to their defence.

Quote:

Ignatius Teo wrote:
IMHO, the spiritual practice of aikido itself is sufficient. IMHO, thru aikido, the individual becomes empowered thru breath control, relaxed centeredness and extension of ki. IMHO, I would rather reinforce these positively, than to induce a adrenal dump and see how the subject overcomes it. Because, in a confrontational situation, the things I want them to remember is to relax, breathe, center and extend. Not freeze and fight to overcome the instinctive fright or flight response.

Please understand, this may have nothing to do with Aikido at all. It is merely a psychological and chemical reality that applies to conflict situations where people feel sufficiently threatened. One of the body's automatic responses to feeling seriously threatened and endangered is an adrenaline dump that is designed to aid the body in whatever emergency options may be taken next (such as running or fighting for one's life). People freeze and shut down when they are unaccustomed to dealing with this dump and its effects on the physical, chemical and psychological systems of the person.

The thing about PCS training is that it trains the mind to react in a reflexive manner to threats by becoming in a sense conditioned for the reality of certain types of violence and the accompanying adrenaline dump which cannot be controlled, only understood. Sort of like an acquired taste I guess, as you become more accustomed to it the shock to the system is lessened.:) The point of the whole thing is that one does not have the time to "stop and remember about being centred, relaxing and extending ki" since things will happen so quickly that in the midst of the attack and the adrenaline dump you may be hard pressed to access these higher brain functions that bring you to this calmed state. Also, if one does not train "becoming centred, relaxed" etc. while under pressure then there is no reason to believe that it will work the way it does in the safe, peaceful dojo where no one is coming at you as against when being seriously threatened. In that case, the only option is to always be calm, relaxed and centred, constantly. The idea behind PCS training is to be capable of dealing with the dump when you are surprised, not when you have enough time to calm yourself and prepare for it imho. Your inner, self-calming, clearing and control responses must be as reflexive as the adrenaline dump itself to work under that sort of psycho/chemical pressure.

Quote:

Ignatius Teo wrote:
[inserted]
There's a girl in my jujitsu class that had an abusive father. Everytime we got her up to spar she would fall to pieces and burst out in tears. This is even before any punches or kicks are even traded. To introduce the sort of PCS conditioning that Mr Treadgill suggests, at any point before she is emotionally ready to deal with it, is simply hopeless.
[/inserted]

I agree totally with this. See my post above. This person needs to get first to a place in herself where she can deal with facing a remotely violent scenario even within the safety of the dojo. Before she can even start with any PCS training she needs to get some psychological help and therapy to reach a place where any sort of training in that regard can be of assistance. Else she never escapes the victim mindset. Training in MA is not an alternative to professional help and therapy imho.

Also, I don't think this is what Toby is alluding to in his article on PCS training. The correct tool for the correct job must be used. The idea of PCS training is only important to the martial artist or other individual who is interested in seriously learning how the body and mind handles under threat of severe danger and the adrenaline dump. Those who don't plan to deal with violence (or deny the reality of it) for whatever reason or are training for spiritual enlightenment, social interaction etc. alone need not bother about it to be honest. The typical sort that seeks to learn about PCS training is the sort that takes courses like the RMCAT program, not the sort who is still battling internally to re-emerge from the victim phase after an assault and to subject someone like the girl in Ignatius' post to this sort of training during this phase of her healing is simple irresponsible imho.

Just my thoughts. I reserve the right to be wrong.;)
LC:ai::ki:

eyrie 03-15-2005 07:00 PM

Re: Article - PCS Conditioning in Budo
 
Larry,

Quote:

L.Camejo wrote...
...There is a certain phase during the recovery process of a victim of fear and trauma when PCS training will do more damage than help in overcoming the problem....
I understood that you were agreeing with me, and we are in agreement on this point.

Quote:

However, to think that getting over the inner fear of the source of the trauma alone enables the person to effectively deal with the same trauma in an effective manner if it physically returns may be wishful thinking. All the person has done so far is conquered their inner fear of the attack, the next thing they have to understand is how to deal with the attack itself if it returns ever in future. This is where PCS Conditioning comes in, where you have some sort of a basic, stable psychological platform to operate from.
I agree about having a stable emotional and psychological platform to operate from, but I disagree with the need for PCS conditioning. Whilst it may be true that the body (mind?) "learns" to progressively deal with the adrenaline overload each time, I feel working on preventative measures is a far better option. Learning to recognize the onset of precipitation and pre-empting the adrenal response, to me, seems a more workable solution. To me it would make more sense to address and neutralize the triggers, thereby preventing the imminent chemical overload - rather than deal with the consequences of the reaction and trying to overcome a total system shutdown in the midst of an emotionally-charged confrontation.

Hence the general advice to breathe slowly and count to ten when you begin to feel the onset of stress and are about to blow your top.

Quote:

...If we enter a conflict situation hampered by our fears and debilitating emotions we have already lost.
Absolutely.

Quote:

In fact this is why some folks who use PCS actually teach their students to harness the fear and rage they may have regarding an encounter and utilise it to their defence.
I know what PCS does and what the effects are. I have felt it and have even channelled it into rage. I didn't particularly like the fact that the rage could have quite easily gotten out of control, as I was a hair's breadth from killing someone as a result of it - all because he was goading me on with verbal abuse. It's not a nice place to be and I wouldn't recommend it for anyone to go there.

Quote:

Please understand, this may have nothing to do with Aikido at all. It is merely a psychological and chemical reality that applies to conflict situations where people feel sufficiently threatened. One of the body's automatic responses to feeling seriously threatened and endangered is an adrenaline dump that is designed to aid the body in whatever emergency options may be taken next (such as running or fighting for one's life). People freeze and shut down when they are unaccustomed to dealing with this dump and its effects on the physical, chemical and psychological systems of the person.
Of course not, PCS has nothing to do with Aikido or martial arts at all. The onset of PC induced stress can occur at anytime. Take a basic human fear of heights, for example. Actually, it would be more accurate to say "fear of death - caused by the false expectation of falling from a great height". I've seen army recruits go into catatonic shock on top of a rappelling tower. All I'm suggesting is that the spiritual practice of Aikido (or MA in general) is sufficient for preventing the onset of PC induced stress.

Quote:

The thing about PCS training is that it trains the mind to react in a reflexive manner to threats by becoming in a sense conditioned for the reality of certain types of violence and the accompanying adrenaline dump which cannot be controlled, only understood.
I disagree. OK, maybe a little. Once your adrenals start flooding your system with adrenaline, it's too late to control it.

I still believe that prevention is better. The use of Eastern meditative practices, particularly yoga and qigong meditation have been reputed to be effective in regulating stress - if you can control your breathing, you can regulate your heart rate, and so on etc.

From the MWM point of view, regulating the respiratory mechanism affects the parasympathetic nervous system, and promotes production of endorphins and other neurochemical transmitters, in particular seratonin, which has the effect of reducing stress.

Quote:

...Sort of like an acquired taste I guess, as you become more accustomed to it the shock to the system is lessened.
"De-sensitization" is the word you're looking for :)

Quote:

The point of the whole thing is that one does not have the time to "stop and remember about being centred, relaxing and extending ki" since things will happen so quickly that in the midst of the attack and the adrenaline dump you may be hard pressed to access these higher brain functions that bring you to this calmed state.
I disagree. To me that IS the whole point of training! Ever notice how time just seems to slow down, and people about you are rushing around madly, when you are in a state of mind, where you are at peace? If you let an attack bother you emotionally and mentally, then you're dead anyway. Some people would say, how can you not let it bother you? Your life is at stake!!! Is it, I wonder? We've all got to die sometime... only difference is I choose not to right now, well, not before I beat your (the attacker) smug ass into the ground :)

Quote:

Also, if one does not train "becoming centred, relaxed" etc. while under pressure then there is no reason to believe that it will work the way it does in the safe, peaceful dojo where no one is coming at you as against when being seriously threatened. In that case, the only option is to always be calm, relaxed and centred, constantly.
I disagree. Whilst I don't have a rational argument for why, I don't believe pressure testing is necessary. However, anyone who disputes that non-pressure testing is not as effective, is more than welcome to test their theory out on me, but be aware that I cannot be held liable for any injury or fatality sustained as a result. :)

Now, go back and read the last sentence you wrote (which I've hi-lighted)...man, what a GREAT way to be - always!!!

It is the same psychological reasoning why good behaviour is reinforced and bad behaviour ignored. I just happen to think that PCS reinforces the initial "bad behaviour", which you have to first overcome, and then respond with "good behaviour".

Quote:

The idea behind PCS training is to be capable of dealing with the dump when you are surprised, not when you have enough time to calm yourself and prepare for it imho. Your inner, self-calming, clearing and control responses must be as reflexive as the adrenaline dump itself to work under that sort of psycho/chemical pressure.
I understand the concept behind PCS conditioning. I just don't agree with it. Mind you, I have felt the effects of PCS, in my younger days, when I would go into a volient rage, and would be tonically immobile and unable to react, or even hit. And if I did overcome the initial adrenal dump, the person on the receiving end of my PCS induced rage would have been hurt really badly.

Quote:

Training in MA is not an alternative to professional help and therapy imho.
I agree.

Quote:

...The correct tool for the correct job must be used. The idea of PCS training is only important to the martial artist or other individual who is interested in seriously learning how the body and mind handles under threat of severe danger and the adrenaline dump....
I agree wholeheartedly. It's not for everyone.

PeterR 03-15-2005 07:26 PM

Re: Article - PCS Conditioning in Budo
 
Personally speaking if someone has such a great difficulty training at a level expected for beginners then they should not be there. I don't think Aikido should be the first line of therapy for damaged psyche - the same for any martial art.

In Shodokan Aikido we don't toss beginners into full blown randori - we basically start at simple avoidance exercises. If you can't do that then please leave and come back when you can. I have, Honbu has, been quite patient with a few who have problems but the operative word is try.

In Judo (at least here) you do randori from day 1. Too much for you - you should go elsewhere. Like Aikido there is only so much adjustment the group is required to do.

eyrie 03-15-2005 08:44 PM

Re: Article - PCS Conditioning in Budo
 
Quote:

Peter Rehse wrote:
Personally speaking if someone has such a great difficulty training at a level expected for beginners then they should not be there. I don't think Aikido should be the first line of therapy for damaged psyche - the same for any martial art.

In Shodokan Aikido we don't toss beginners into full blown randori - we basically start at simple avoidance exercises. If you can't do that then please leave and come back when you can. I have, Honbu has, been quite patient with a few who have problems but the operative word is try.

In Judo (at least here) you do randori from day 1. Too much for you - you should go elsewhere. Like Aikido there is only so much adjustment the group is required to do.

Nor do I, but I don't think that's how it is viewed as - therapy.

I'm sure nobody tosses beginners into full blown randori.

I'm not sure if you are intentionally trying to come across as arrogant and blasť..., but I don't agree with the attitude that if they can't hack it, they should not be there, or come back when they can.

L. Camejo 03-15-2005 08:58 PM

Re: Article - PCS Conditioning in Budo
 
Quote:

Ignatius Teo wrote:
I feel working on preventative measures is a far better option. Learning to recognize the onset of precipitation and pre-empting the adrenal response, to me, seems a more workable solution. To me it would make more sense to address and neutralize the triggers, thereby preventing the imminent chemical overload - rather than deal with the consequences of the reaction and trying to overcome a total system shutdown in the midst of an emotionally-charged confrontation.

I agree with this. In fact this is how I deal initially with PCS, I usually check the flow before it gets going at a runaway pace, but the PCS type training that we do also acts as a secondary check in a sense so even when it does "dump" into the system the effects are minimal if any.

Quote:

Hence the general advice to breathe slowly and count to ten when you begin to feel the onset of stress and are about to blow your top.
Right! Now this is where I have the question. To me, part of Aiki waza and Aiki training (including the methods of dealing with PCS I may have learnt as a result, which I don't really call a "spiritual" part of the training either) is about dealing with a dangerous situation at the point of initiation if not before (Sen??). The situation here is serious imminent danger and it's possible accompanying adrenaline dump. I use the methods taken from meditation (Qigong among others) to control and block the effects of this. However, I do it so the PCS is checked at an instant, there is no "slow ten count". The situation would tend to dictate that there is no time for that sort of approach due to the already impending danger and imminent attack, hence the adrenaline dump. These are often not telegraphed or announced attack but are often done to utilise the element of shock and surprise. Take a look at the video on the Prison Guard Attack thread for example and tell me where exactly this "ten count and calming of self" actually begins. I believe what you are saying does work, it's just that I wonder how it works using the method you propose where there is simply no time to do what you are recommending to calm oneself before the first strike lands.

Quote:

I know what PCS does and what the effects are. I have felt it and have even channelled it into rage. I didn't particularly like the fact that the rage could have quite easily gotten out of control, as I was a hair's breadth from killing someone as a result of it - all because he was goading me on with verbal abuse. It's not a nice place to be and I wouldn't recommend it for anyone to go there.
Agreed. Personally the rage option (in teaching) tends to be used for folks who have problems being aggressive at all. There are those who are simply unable psychologically to attempt to strike another person, or do a technique that may end up damaging someone, even if the possibility is minimal. This is similar to the victim mindset I spoke about earlier, except this person is basically unable to do anything to hurt another, even to protect him/herself. In these cases some instructors may use some sort of strong emotion, like passion, rage or anger etc. to help the person find that "inner defender of self", that part that will do what is needed to ensure survival. Of course these methods are not existent in MA classes so much but moreso in targeted self defence programs. I personally do not like the use of strong emotion to trigger other responses too much, I've found it can have some serious psychological side effects and create a post scenario trauma of its own.

This also alludes to my earlier point about time. You and I may have done the time in training to learn and apply the meditative aspects of MA and other things that can help us control PCS, but many who do a short course to learn how to quickly defend themself may not have that sort of time to dedicate to such an endeavour, hence the pressure training approach that helps desensitise the individual to the effects of PCS.

Quote:

I still believe that prevention is better.
Of course, no argument there, much more relaxing for the entire system imo.:)

Quote:

I disagree. To me that IS the whole point of training! Ever notice how time just seems to slow down, and people about you are rushing around madly, when you are in a state of mind, where you are at peace? If you let an attack bother you emotionally and mentally, then you're dead anyway. Some people would say, how can you not let it bother you? Your life is at stake!!! Is it, I wonder?
Ahh now this is another interesting point. I understand exactly what you are referring to from experience. Teaching this on the other hand has been an entirely different story for me and many.:)

Quote:

Now, go back and read the last sentence you wrote (which I've hi-lighted)...man, what a GREAT way to be - always!!!
Of course. "Always" I haven't gotten down yet, but being one thought away is the next best thing imho and has worked marvellously for me so far. Not so hard to do either imho with the right methods.

Quote:

It is the same psychological reasoning why good behaviour is reinforced and bad behaviour ignored. I just happen to think that PCS reinforces the initial "bad behaviour", which you have to first overcome, and then respond with "good behaviour".
True, but to transcend the more primordial forms of behaviour (would not use the term good or bad per se) takes a lot of training(mainly mental) that many are not willing to undergo or dedicate the time to. This is why the PCS methods have been able to help those who may not be able to even grasp some of the concepts required for the level of operation that you are referring to.

Quote:

And if I did overcome the initial adrenal dump, the person on the receiving end of my PCS induced rage would have been hurt really badly.
And this is why I advocate both methods. 1) Check and control the beast before he rises (aka spiritual/mind-body/meditative methods) but also 2) Understand the beast so when he rises you have full reign on him (PCS conditioning methods), as well. For you PCS is manifested as freeze or fight, for others it manifests differently. For you it comes out as rage, something that can be of assistance in a violent encounter, for others they return to the safety of the child/womb paradigm and go into a fetal position, others loose control of basic bodily functions etc. I think it may be best to understand a number of different ways to deal with PCS. This way, depending on the fom the trigger takes, we will have a few options of dealing with the dump in the most effective way possible for our own psychologies and physiologies.

Just my 2 cents. Great points Ignatius.
LC:ai::ki:

PeterR 03-15-2005 09:21 PM

Re: Article - PCS Conditioning in Budo
 
Quote:

Ignatius Teo wrote:
I'm not sure if you are intentionally trying to come across as arrogant and blasť..., but I don't agree with the attitude that if they can't hack it, they should not be there, or come back when they can.

I prefer to call it responsiblity for the group and the individual involved.

I made it clear that the requirement for beginners is quite low and an effort is made to help those with trouble. However, after all that if it is still too much I sure am not qualified to help.

The thrust of Aikido training is martial technique not therapy. Frankly I would consider the assumption that you are qualified to help a person with serious problems without the required training (which Aikido does not provide) the height of arrogance.

eyrie 03-15-2005 10:20 PM

Re: Article - PCS Conditioning in Budo
 
Quote:

Right! Now this is where I have the question. To me, part of Aiki waza and Aiki training (including the methods of dealing with PCS I may have learnt as a result, which I don't really call a "spiritual" part of the training either) is about dealing with a dangerous situation at the point of initiation if not before (Sen??). The situation here is serious imminent danger and it's possible accompanying adrenaline dump.
I don't know if I can explain it any better. The concept of the "every minute Zen-mind" is an integral part of budo/bujutsu training. It is the difference between kill or be killed.

Quote:

Take a look at the video on the Prison Guard Attack thread for example and tell me where exactly this "ten count and calming of self" actually begins. I believe what you are saying does work, it's just that I wonder how it works using the method you propose where there is simply no time to do what you are recommending to calm oneself before the first strike lands.
I was referring to the principle of the 10 count, certainly not advocating the use of it, in such a situation. :)

Quote:

I personally do not like the use of strong emotion to trigger other responses too much, I've found it can have some serious psychological side effects and create a post scenario trauma of its own.
For the exact same reasons I question its use.

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...but many who do a short course to learn how to quickly defend themself may not have that sort of time to dedicate to such an endeavour, hence the pressure training approach that helps desensitise the individual to the effects of PCS.
I agree, PCS has its place, in crash-course self-defense, yes... but to desensitize...no, I can't agree on that. To me, MA is a feeling thing. The inherent dangers in emotional desensitization, is similar to the desensitizing issue of violence on TV.

Quote:

...
Teaching this on the other hand has been an entirely different story for me and many.
I don't think it's possible to "teach" this. It's way too "Zen"... :)
I would be interested to hear how you approach this from a teaching perspective though...

Quote:

True, but to transcend the more primordial forms of behaviour (would not use the term good or bad per se) takes a lot of training(mainly mental) that many are not willing to undergo or dedicate the time to. This is why the PCS methods have been able to help those who may not be able to even grasp some of the concepts required for the level of operation that you are referring to....And this is why I advocate both methods.
Fair enough...however, I think progressively increasing the intensity and speed of attack is just as effective a means for the subject to deal with escalating levels of violence. I'm for a graduated progression, rather than a instantaneous PCS dump.

Quote:

...I think it may be best to understand a number of different ways to deal with PCS. This way, depending on the fom the trigger takes, we will have a few options of dealing with the dump in the most effective way possible for our own psychologies and physiologies.
I can understand where you're coming from. Recognizing and understanding PCS can be useful, but I still don't think it is appropriate for everyone, except the class of people you mentioned previously.

If you have ever boxed (with gloves on of course!), you'll know that it's a good way to experience and learn about PCS... :)

Personally, I wouldn't use boxing as a training tool, but I think it would be beneficial for people to put on a bullet-man suit and try it at least once.

eyrie 03-15-2005 10:51 PM

Re: Article - PCS Conditioning in Budo
 
Quote:

Peter Rehse wrote:
I prefer to call it responsiblity for the group and the individual involved.

I made it clear that the requirement for beginners is quite low and an effort is made to help those with trouble. However, after all that if it is still too much I sure am not qualified to help.

The thrust of Aikido training is martial technique not therapy. Frankly I would consider the assumption that you are qualified to help a person with serious problems without the required training (which Aikido does not provide) the height of arrogance.

I agree - it's not therapy, and obviously it would be irresponsible to be dispensing advice and coping strategies in this context.

I disagreed with the tone that those particular words evoked, not the principle.

creinig 03-16-2005 02:33 AM

Re: Article - PCS Conditioning in Budo
 
Quote:

Ignatius Teo wrote:
Quote:

...but many who do a short course to learn how to quickly defend themself may not have that sort of time to dedicate to such an endeavour, hence the pressure training approach that helps desensitise the individual to the effects of PCS.
I agree, PCS has its place, in crash-course self-defense, yes... but to desensitize...no, I can't agree on that. To me, MA is a feeling thing. The inherent dangers in emotional desensitization, is similar to the desensitizing issue of violence on TV.

But a certain level of desensitization surely is necessary?

I don't want to throw up or get nightmares from news reports about violence, so I need a certain degree of desensitization against (depicted/reported) violence. Not up to the "screw them all, who cares?" level of course, but right where I can see a really ugly news report yet still can more or less enjoy my dinner.

If the proverbial hits the fan, I don't want to freeze or go into panic mode just because some light punch actually contacts with one of my body parts. So I need a certain degree of desensitization against pain and injuries. Not up to the "yeah, more spikes, pleeease" level, but right where I can keep going in a messy situation.

For me, getting used to "bad things", getting to know them, to experience them, is an integral part to being able to handle them calmly.

L. Camejo 03-17-2005 09:48 PM

Re: Article - PCS Conditioning in Budo
 
Quote:

Christian Reiniger wrote:
For me, getting used to "bad things", getting to know them, to experience them, is an integral part to being able to handle them calmly.

I think this is basically what PCS Conditioning is all about. It also can be done in a graduated manner where intensity is incrementally increased, instead of "throwing someone into the deep end" from day one. It's about constantly building the person psychologically and technically to a point where he/she can deal with the violence without "losing it" due to fear and the adrenaline dump.

Quote:

Peter wrote:
If you can't do that then please leave and come back when you can. I have, Honbu has, been quite patient with a few who have problems but the operative word is try.

Response:
Quote:

Ignatius wrote:
I don't agree with the attitude that if they can't hack it, they should not be there, or come back when they can.

Coming from the same system as Peter, maybe I am missing something, but I agree with this concept. There are people who have no place in a martial arts dojo if they are unable or unprepared to deal with some of the rigours of basic training, whether it be physically, psychologically or otherwise. The group can conform to the individual to a degree, but at some point along the way one has to either shape up or ship out imho.

This reminds me of a signature of someone here - "If at first you don't succeed, maybe skydiving is not for you." ;) PCS Conditioning and some aspects of training truly are not for everyone. It's like - you can't be a Navy Seal if you are afraid of the water - there are certain basic prerequisites depending on where one trains and the focus of that training.

LC:ai::ki:

Michael Mantas 04-01-2005 06:09 PM

Re: Article - PCS Conditioning in Budo
 
Hello,

I am moved by this dialogue. It's heartening to know that there is such passion and compassion from students and teachers of aikido.

I am a very new student of aikido...not quite a month. I have practiced different spiritual paths and meditation disciplines for over 10 years and have been a student of different forms of spirituality for most of my adult life.

I am also a psychologist and psychotherapist with much experience treating post traumatic stress syndrome, grief and loss issues and death and dying issues. I have worked in crisis response and stabilization and dealt with the fallout from violence of many kinds with civilians, law enforcement, military and criminals inside an outside of the prison system.

I offer my background only to allow my offering here to be understood in context. I am no authority on PCS, nor on aikido or O Sensei.

I know firsthand that PCS is a very real and measurable phenomenon, which I don't think is being argued here. In my experience, PCS (as well as PTSD) can impact anyone with any amount of training, including very experienced military and law enforcement folks. From a behavioral perspective, it appears that PCS is easily addressed, and can even extinguished as a behavioral response, through simple desensitization.

What has become a truth for me is that complex systems cannot be changed or impacted deeply or significantly by simple interventions or solutions. And, in my experience, human beings are quite complex systems, with a number of unknown variables (actually, when heart, spirit, psyche and mind are thrown in, I feel we are beautiful mysteries to be honored as particular formal expressions of the formless and I do not feel we can be reduced to abstract mechanistic complex systems to be deciphered and mastered).

Desensitization to PCS through full throttle spontaneous and unpredictable training in discipline and/or art could be an effective method if practiced regularly for SOME people MOST of the time, but it is no guarantee that the nearly impossible number of variables present in a "real life" violent event will not leave either the most seasoned combat veteran in a full state of PCS or the most timid civilian unfazed. The key to the effectiveness of any behavioral change method is continual reinforcement...or, practice. The practice Threadgill outlines could be effective at reducing the risk of PCS, and probably is. I have read and have been told that they key to continual "improvement" in one's practice of aikido is the same...I hope to find that out.

I also know that we can deepen our practice within any discipline or art in two basic ways, "state" and "trait," (which essentially amounts to obtaining a fish by either learning HOW to fish or by learning how to BE a fish).

Behavioral learning and practice tends to produce "state learning" that allows us to recall physiological, neurological and behavioral "memories" when certain conditions are present or when a trigger (which can be either conscious or unconscious, internal or external) for those "memories" is activated. "Trait" learning is a deep core learning that taps the less behavioral and measurable aspects of human being to draw on the fundamental awarenesses, knowledge and skills that are already present in our being, even if we have not accessed such awarenesses, knowledges and skills before.

State learning happens through practice and conditioning and the desensitization that Threadgill mandates as a teaching method to deal with PCS is a method of state learning. State learning can help us learn useful tools, but it is not the kind of "learning" that I understand O Sensei is speaking of when he implores his students to open their hearts more and more until there is nothing that is exclude form them...no more enemies, no more opposites, no more "others," just one heart aligned with the natural energy and flow of the universe.

O Sensei is speaking of what "scientists" are just beginning to understand about what they call "trait" learning, in which perspectives, behaviors and principles become so deeply integrate that they become traits or parts of an individual's character, and are no longer simply a group of tools that are used to a greater or lesser degree. State learning is a process of putting something into our being from outside.

Trait learning is more akin to the realizations and revelations of zen than to behavioral practice. These traits are developed and integrated through disciplines such as meditation, deep reflection and contemplation, spontaneous and creative engagement with life, and deep observation. Trait learning is a process of allowing our being to open to what is already present within us and allowing it to flow into our lives.

There is also an aspect to living in the moment and remembering that in each moment we could die. With respect, PCS results in part because of a fear that the order of life will be disrupted violently and one will be powerless, out of control or hurt. If, as O Sensei teaches, one is able to include violence as a natural and purposeful part of life, then there is no more violence, per se, only life. When we exclude violence and suffering from our perspective then we are vulnerable to in ways we might not be if we realized that in each moment there is destruction and creation happening simultaneously and we need have no fear of either. This is why meditation on our own death and dying is practiced as part of the warrior's path.

It seems to me that Threadgill is separating "real life" from practice of the martial art of aikido when it might be better to practice aikido in one's daily life and living in order to cultivate an awareness that doe snot exclude some parts of life and include others. I

Perhaps if O Sensei's principles were practiced and cultivated in all of life then it would make Threadgill's method of learning to understand and work through PCS all the more effective?

Respectfully,
Michael Mantas

L. Camejo 04-01-2005 07:31 PM

Re: Article - PCS Conditioning in Budo
 
Nice post Michael.

Maybe this is why when some practice using both PCS and meditative methods (state and trait as you put it) they tend to have an even more controlled and scalable method of dealing with a variety of violence and high stress scenarios.

I understand your point of view of PCS being a reflection of the fear that life can be disrupted and that one is powerless to stop it. From my own studies of Asian religion, spiritual and meditative practices your point makes perfect sense to me. However for those who have not learnt to approach life from this paradigm, for those who seek to totally control life even if it is an illusion in their own minds, this concept may as well be a foreign and alien language. But there are other ways of helping the person find methods of dealing with high stress situations that cause adrenal stress responses. PCS conditioning is one, there are probably others. The most effective method will probably depend a lot on the psyche of the individual involved. The good thing about PCS is that it may take less time with the right people to be usable in the event that a situation occurs. However, for a more long term response, the meditative and visualization training may be of more benefit.

Maybe the ideal method is found in a combination of training in the two ways. I know it has worked remarkably well for me when faced with the "pointy end" of things.:)

Onegaishimasu.
LC:ai::ki:

Michael Mantas 04-02-2005 06:17 PM

Re: Article - PCS Conditioning in Budo
 
Larry,

Yes, I agree, a combination of both (and even other learning/training methods) would better serve than only a behavioral approach.

I also agree that we are all at different places in our awarenesses relative to each other, and even within each individual there exist many different levels of mastery of many different realms of knowledge and skills, we may have a very high intlellectual intelligence while at the same time having less developed kinesthetic or emotional intelligence.

In the areas of my life where I am a teacher, I have been impacted on a practical level by studying Ken Wilber's Integral Psychology and Beck and Cowan's Spiral Dynamics to help me understand the interplay of the many different threads of experiences, skills and development that may be present in the learning and growing process. I find one of the most important postures for me has been to learn how to meet people just slightly beyond where they are at instead of standing in what I think is the "final goal" of their learning path and failing to connect with them at all because, as you say, I am speaking a foreign and alien language to them. Integral Psychology and Spiral Dynamics map the human be-ing and development process in a way which considers the many different experiences, levels of growth and lines of development as they interact.

I am an advocate of doing what works, serves and is required in the moment (which is where I place Threadgill's position and methods) and simultaneously continuting to build a deeper and more expansive foundation in heart and spirit.

Here are 2 links to Ken Wilber's work:
http://wilber.shambhala.com/html/boo...ch_model1.cfm/
integralnaked.com

Here is a link to Beck and Cowan's Spiral Dynamics:
http://www.spiraldynamics.com/book/SDreview_Dinan.htm

Larry, I really appreciate your insights. Your students are fortunate, as am I, to have them.


Domo arigato gozaimashita,
Michael Mantas


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