Re: Flinch Response in Aikido
Thank you Charles and Kevin!
Charles, what specific points are you referring to with your comment on Blauer's thoroughness in research?
Kevin, I think your point regarding semantics is very valid. I think that sometimes the way we interpret our responses (I shouldn't say we when I specifically mean me) to situations indicate a connection between an unknown reaction to a known definition of a reaction. IOW, I have an unconscious reaction to an outside stimulus and I connect it, in retrospect, to a known definition of a response...i.e. "I shot off a SPEAR!" The reality of this may actually be that I reacted to an attack with a flinch response that was exactly like that of the SPEAR described flinch response.
I was once told that it takes a thousand repetitions to make an action a reaction and ten thousand repetitions to break a reaction. I don't know the validity of this statement. However, I do know that after two decades of training in martial arts, I have made significant changes in the way I react to surprising and threatening stimulus (most of the changes really setting in in the last ten years...this has to represent more than ten thousand!). I also know that others involved in martial arts have had similar experiences (I don't know about the time frames involved?...this would be a great area for research if anyone were interested...). Despite the length of time this change represents, I think it confirms discussions earlier in the post that surround the idea that the flinch response can or cannot be trained. Personally, I believe that the flinch response can be trained.
IMO, further expanding on my thoughts above, Blauer's flinch response training, if it is in fact training the capitalization of the response following the initial automatic response, is ideal for low intensity conflicts experienced by LEOs...traffic stops and domestics with limited experience hostile combatants. However, it is remiss and irresponsible training for professionals facing trained and experienced combatants. These combatants will have most likely trained to capitalize on the automatic response to a physical attack.
Any thoughts on the above?
Given the subject matter and my opinions, I feel some disclosure of my level of experience is appropriate.
I spent six years in the DC ARNG as an MP. I served in Dessert Storm; I guarded EPWs and performed inspections for US Customs and the USDA (the latter was really boring and tedious work, yet it turned out to be really important). I've been around the small block a couple of times (some time in Panama and Germany) and have not had a great deal of experience with armed or unarmed trained combatants (a few disagreements between fellow soldiers that started with weapons in our hands, but ended with agreements to just beat the heck out of each other with empty hands) . Most of my experience comes from the controlled training environment, so I can't necessarily speak from definitive experience. However, the time I have spent training has been relatively intense.