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Old 03-15-2005, 08:58 PM   #15
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:
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.

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.

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.

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

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.

Now, go back and read the last sentence you wrote (which I've hi-lighted), 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.

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.

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.

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