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Old 03-15-2005, 08:00 PM   #12
eyrie
 
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Re: Article - PCS Conditioning in Budo

Larry,

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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...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

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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".

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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.

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

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...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.

Ignatius
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