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Old 03-15-2005, 11:23 AM   #11
L. Camejo
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Dojo: Ontario Martial Arts
Location: Mississauga, Ontario
Join Date: Aug 2001
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Re: Article - PCS Conditioning in Budo

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.

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.

Ignatius Teo wrote:
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.
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.

--Mushin Mugamae - No Mind No Posture. He who is possessed by nothing possesses everything.--
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