Yes Peter, that is what I believe to be an important role of the teacher: to create surmountable barriers of increasing difficulty. Also I was not referring to using the adrenaline rush as a defense mechanism, but rather learning/developing the mind/body integration which substitutes the primal response for a more evolved response. I do not believe, however, and this is based in a total of more than 20 years of MA, that philosophizing about being peaceful under combat stress, whether psychological, verbal, or physical, will actually create this state. The dojo is a place for safe learning initially, but if it remains safe in the same way forever where is the progress to be found?
Also someone said that fear is a response to a negative internal fantasy which in a sense is a good description. We worry about an imaginary outcome which we do not want and begin to respond accordingly. However IMO that is only part of the picture. The fear response is also a hardwired evolutionary mechanism which bypasses rational thought to galvanize the system into action, without this mechanism animals would not survive, and at this point in time I do not think that an animals response is based in negative conceptualization, but rather a direct response to an actual threat. What I am saying is that if you perceive the threat but feel no fear, is there any threat at all? By the way if there is a real threat which you do not perceive then certain natural instincts are not functioning. What I am interested in here is the possible change of consciouness that can occur, which I have experienced very occasionally. When the threat is real, I do experience a moment of fear, but manage to sidestep it into something else. I feel that my senses are sharper, my vision becomes broader (not tunnel like), my breathing slows down, my sense of time and timing changes and the threat does not awaken aggression, but something akin to patience.
Any of this make sense?