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Old 01-13-2010, 09:53 PM   #1
Erick Mead
 
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Hormonal & Psychological Responses to Combat

<<Split from the "Dreaming MMA" thread>>

Quote:
Kevin Leavitt wrote: View Post
Quote:
Erick Mead wrote:
This is one reason why Medal of Honor winners really become physically different, both more capable of possible survival and of enduring almost unimaginable damage in accomplishing their objective before their deaths -- because they are neither living nor dying for themselves anymore -- and this actually makes their bodies more powerful and harder to destroy.
Happy New Year Erick! What is your source for this? I am very interested in this type of thing for sure! It is an area I am not familiar with and would like to know more about the differences between adrenal responses and oxytoicin.
Well, go through the Medal of Honor citations and search for "severely wounded" and see what these men did in that condition.

An example:
Quote:
MANNING, SIDNEY E.

Rank and organization: Corporal, U.S. Army Company G, 167th Infantry, 42d Division. Place and date: Near Breuvannes, France, 28 July 1918. Entering service at: Flomaton, Ala. Born: 17 July 1892, Butler County, Ala. G.O. No.: 44, W.D., 1919. Citation: When his platoon commander and platoon sergeant had both become casualties soon after the beginning of an assault on strongly fortified heights overlooking the Ourcq River, Cpl. Manning took command of his platoon, which was near the center of the attacking line. Though himself severely wounded he led forward the 35 men remaining in the platoon and finally succeeded in gaining a foothold on the enemy's position, during which time he had received more wounds and all but 7 of his men had fallen. Directing the consolidation of the position, he held off a large body of the enemy only 50 yards away by fire from his automatic rifle. He declined to take cover until his line had been entirely consolidated with the line of the platoon on the front when he dragged himself to shelter, suffering from 9 wounds in all parts of the body.
Already wounded, he took command and was shot nine times in the course of consolidating his line and still was mobile enough to regain cover under his own power. Incredibly courageous, certainly, but what was the source of such courage -- and such resilience and endurance ?

This is black-letter stuff in unit cohesion doctrine:
Quote:
FM 22-51 Sec. 3-10 wrote:
3-10. Unit Cohesion
a. Especially in small units, all soldiers come to know and appreciate their peers and leaders. They recognize how all members of the unit depend on one another. With this recognition comes a feeling of intimacy (personal bonding) and a strong sense of responsibility. This mutual trust, based on personal face-to-face interaction, is called "cohesion."
"Love" is a too-mushy word for the Army -- when sober anyway -- but that's what it is... I strongly suggest reading John Hillman's "A Terrible Love of War." Hillman was a direct and close student of Jung and explores this theme in terms of Jungian psychology. He lays out the beautiful and horrific ties between love and war. Bears a lot of re-reading.
Quote:
FM 22-51, Sec. 3-11 wrote:
3-11. Heroism
a. The ultimate positive combat stress behaviors are acts of heroism. The citations for winners of the Medal of Honor or other awards for valor in battle document almost unbelievable feats of courage, strength, and endurance. The hero has overcome the paralysis of fear, and in some cases, has also called forth muscle strength far beyond what he has ever used before. He may have persevered in spite of wounds which would normally be so painful as to be disabling. Some heroes willingly sacrifice their lives knowingly for the sake of their buddies.

b. Those who survive their own heroism often have a difficult time describing how it happened. A few may not even remember the events clearly (have amnesia). More often they remember selected details with remarkable clarity. They may say, "I don't know how I did it. I remember being pinned down and scared, but I saw what needed to be done, and something came over me. It was like it was happening to someone else" (or like I was watching myself in a movie" or like an out-of-my-body experience").
There is a great BBC production called Jekyll (yes, THAT Jekyll), which dramatically explores this deep connection between love and the dissociative state that might otherwise be seen as psychopathic behavior that allows the psyche to both perform and yet divorce itself from very calculated killing. A great thriller series but a serious psychological drama, too.

Quote:
FM 22-51, Sec. 3-11 wrote:
c. In psychiatry, these experiences would be called dissociative reactions. If they resulted in inappropriate behavior, they would be classified as dissociative disorders. Indeed, many such cases may go unrecorded except by sad letters from the soldier's commander to the family -- killed while performing his duties. However, when the behavior has been directed by sound military training (drill) and strong unit cohesion, the doer receives a well-deserved medal for heroism in order to encourage similar positive combat stress behavior in others. Posthumous medals also console the survivors and the heroes' families and reassure them that the memory of the hero will live on in the unit's tradition. Medals are awarded based on the results of a soldier's actions, not for the motives that prompted such actions or acts of bravery.
As to the physiological action of oxytocin -- please see these links to studies I have been gathering over the years:

Oxytocin allows damaged tissue to remain viable longer and decreases stress effect systemically.

Oxytocin causes contraction of myofascial tissues in a "smooth muscle-like" manner. On p. 53-54 you can see that mepyramine does also (a histamine or inflammation causing hormone), but NOT epinephrine (adrenaline), acetycholine (an muscle neurotransmitter) or adenosine ().

It has been discussed here before that the stabilizing effects of faciasl tissue are likely important. Here too oxytocin causes fascial contraction that is demonstrably effective:
Quote:
The resulting forces are strong enough to alter normal musculoskeletal behavior, such as mechanical joint stabilization or γ-motor regulation.
Alot of voluntary muscle power is wasted on joint stabilization when actuating against a load. If the fascia take even a small part of those induced joint shears, the muscles can easily increase their effective moment because the antagonist muscles are not having to act to balance the load in opposostion on the bone lever -- a third more, and maybe half again the normal mechanical advantage is easily conceivebale -- and maybe much more.

Gamma motor neurons are involved in spinal reflex cascades that involve the most fundamental motor functions of the body. Since induced contractions helps keep natural gait going at a reflexive level it is likely that myofascial contraction does this also.

(Ob. Aikido -- My theory is that modulating and exploiting that reflex action internally, and using the same system of the opponent against him are a significant component of what we describe as the action of aiki (FWIW).)

More interesting, in a conventional sense, induced contraction of mechanical tension in limb structure causes gamma motor neuron reflex responses to lose the normal neural "tone" inhibitions and thus they are allowed to become stronger and more responsive to a triggering gain. Myofascial contraction would have the same effect. Increased sensitivity to reflexive triggers with greater amplitude of action has obvious potential performance value in threat situations.

Inflammation is partly mechanically caused by some of this same tissue response to histimane release upon wounding, and helps to stay blood loss. With the addition of oxytocin -- which has a positive feedback (think of labor in childbirth) -- my thought is that this tissue response to oxytocin may allow systemic tamponade of wounds far greater and for far longer than with histaminic inflammation alone. That would forestall blood loss and with the lessening of the stress reactions noted above -- delay the onset of shock -- which is the immediate cause of most traumatic death.

The likely end result would be a leaking like a sieve and a shock collapse at the end when the oxytocin cascade subsides, and there are anecdotal reports of just this kind of post-trauma behavior in extraordinary performance events of this type -- the guy is clearly wounded but hardly bleeding as engagement ceases, but then collapses and bleeds out almost at once.

It also suggests a thought for an addition to the "golden hour" frontline medical kit.

Last edited by Erick Mead : 01-13-2010 at 10:04 PM.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
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Old 01-13-2010, 10:20 PM   #2
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Re: Hormonal & Psychological Responses to Combat

Quote:
Aikibu wrote:
I think you're chasing your tail here... It has been argued by many with great success that Human Beings inherently do not like to kill or harm each other... Aikido in a Martial Context exploits this...
I am not sure how you see Aikido exploiting that concept martially. I think that people actually do not mind killing that much -- some even get to like it -- some far too much - and that love and killing are not opposites -- at all. Complements, perhaps, but not antitheses.

Read Hillman's introduction and you may have more sympathy for O Sensei's resort to mythic terms for dealing in love and the killing instinct.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
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Old 01-13-2010, 11:58 PM   #3
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Re: Hormonal & Psychological Responses to Combat

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Erick Mead wrote: View Post
I am not sure how you see Aikido exploiting that concept martially. I think that people actually do not mind killing that much -- some even get to like it -- some far too much - and that love and killing are not opposites -- at all. Complements, perhaps, but not antitheses.
I respectfully disagree...

http://killology.com/article_agress&viol.htm

and here

http://killology.com/article_psychological.htm

Quote:
Read Hillman's introduction and you may have more sympathy for O Sensei's resort to mythic terms for dealing in love and the killing instinct.
Read the book thank you and I disagree with Hillman's premise that War is a Normal state of Being...Warfare may be common true but killing human beings is not a "natural state of being."
Spending time at your local VA Hospital with wounded vets is evidence enough of this.

William Hazen
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Old 01-14-2010, 12:45 AM   #4
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Re: Hormonal & Psychological Responses to Combat

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"scared out of their wits" ... does not equal "resistant to killing our own kind" -- it means "scared of dying next" and for this reason the prudent instinctive response to threatened violence is usually to run away -- I detect no moral-minded chumminess in that Darwinian forced choice. What I said was most people "don't mind killing that much." With 160 million dead in the twentieth century from war -- somebody REALLY wasn't minding the killing so much. And they don't seem to be going away.

Quote:
Read the book thank you and I disagree with Hillman's premise that War is a Normal state of Being...Warfare may be common true but killing human beings is not a "natural state of being."
Really? Count the wars of less than five figures mortality -- hint -- in one of them they drank Guiness.

Why do you disagree with him? I don't see your point more broadly though. In a martial setting SOMEONE is by definition bent on harm, so whatever our statistical cases boil down to on rough tendencies, how does that position practically affect the psychology of the conflict?

Cordially,

Erick Mead
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Old 01-14-2010, 08:49 AM   #5
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Re: Hormonal & Psychological Responses to Combat

Thanks for the info Erick. I will read it over. To be honest, this is outside of my area of expertise for sure. What I am interested in is how martial training methodologies might play in this whole process.

Based on the whole "detachment" thing and the vignettes above and my own experiences in military training, it would seem to suggest that we can inculcate habits through repetition and near real replication of the conditions in which those desired responses need to be triggered.

Do you see anything different than this?

I am not sure what the correalation between oxytocin and adrenalin is, all though I believe it makes sense to me if we can keep the adrenal response as low as possible, in my personal experiences, it causes me to stiffen up, and to move faster...things which I have found to NOT be good.

Frankly BJJ and Judo Competitions have proven to be a great thing. At first I was all hyped up on adrenalin with the noise, crowds and the unknown and all that....over the years I have learned to deal with that and I am pretty darn level headed now.

Not sure where you and I stand on this...are we on opposite sides of the fence...or the same side?

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Old 01-14-2010, 10:18 AM   #6
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Re: Hormonal & Psychological Responses to Combat

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"scared out of their wits" ... does not equal "resistant to killing our own kind" -- it means "scared of dying next" and for this reason the prudent instinctive response to threatened violence is usually to run away -- I detect no moral-minded chumminess in that Darwinian forced choice. What I said was most people "don't mind killing that much." With 160 million dead in the twentieth century from war -- somebody REALLY wasn't minding the killing so much. And they don't seem to be going away.

Really? Count the wars of less than five figures mortality -- hint -- in one of them they drank Guiness.

Why do you disagree with him? I don't see your point more broadly though. In a martial setting SOMEONE is by definition bent on harm, so whatever our statistical cases boil down to on rough tendencies, how does that position practically affect the psychology of the conflict?
A very simple set of questions refutes Hillman's Book Eric....How many Human Beings on this Planet have personally Killed another Human Being during their lifetime? 5%? 10%? 50%?
I submit to you the number is in the single digits...

What the single largest producer of casualties in War Time....Answer... Technology

If War is a natural state and men don't mind killing that much" Why do Armies Spend Billions of Dollars removing their soldiers further and further away from the consequences of their actions through the use of technology?

I could go on...but my point is Killing another Human Being is not a "natural state of being" and for the average soldier despite all their training goals that condition them to kill... they still suffer huge psychological and emotional consequences for their actions... Unless of course they are Sociopaths.

As for someone being bent on harm...In my experience that harm is mostly based on fear Though I have had experience with those whose intent goes beyond fear into malice.

I am enjoying the discussion about hormonal responses to Violence" and look forward to more of your posts on the topic.

William Hazen
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Old 01-14-2010, 10:31 AM   #7
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Re: Hormonal & Psychological Responses to Combat

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William Hazen wrote: View Post
I disagree with Hillman's premise that War is a Normal state of Being...Warfare may be common true but killing human beings is not a "natural state of being."
Spending time at your local VA Hospital with wounded vets is evidence enough of this.

William Hazen
I think it probably depends on one's definition of "natural," but I would say killing is a part of our nature, and as such is a natural state of being. As social animals I think we're less inclined to want to kill each other, but depending on the morals of the society the individual belongs to, a person might think nothing of it (not to mention the impact of individual mindset). I would guess that killing comes almost as naturally as procreating or eating, but that anyone who holds life to be sacred will still probably feel loss at having killed, regardless of how justified they may also feel about their actions. It wouldn't be the first time people felt bad about doing something natural.
That said, I think it's healthier (so perhaps in a sense more a part of our nature) to operate from an other-regarding, love-based intent, than an anti-social one (killing being perhaps the ultimate expression of anti-social behavior).

Gambarimashyo!
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Old 01-14-2010, 11:17 AM   #8
Janet Rosen
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Re: Hormonal & Psychological Responses to Combat

I think history shows that when circumstances are such that we differentiate between humans who are Us and humans who are Not Us, it becomes pretty easy to get a group of Us to decide its ok to kill Not Us. Unfortunately, those circumstances are pretty common.....

Janet Rosen
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Old 01-14-2010, 11:43 AM   #9
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Re: Hormonal & Psychological Responses to Combat

IMHO, just because war is common in history does not mean its natural for humans.

Very few humans (agreed probably only single digits) ever see war. Of those who see war, very few see combat. Of those who see combat, very few even shoot to kill, let alone actual kill.

While most humans will have a similar biological and psychological reaction to stress (combat) its the individuals reaction (through intent and a less degree through training) that directs their reaction to the situation. Some will flee, some freeze, only a few will run towards and fight/kill. No one knows their reaction until they have actually been there.

So lets not generalize from those very few brave individuals to the rest of us.

Lynn Seiser PhD
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Old 01-14-2010, 12:16 PM   #10
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Re: Hormonal & Psychological Responses to Combat

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Lynn Seiser wrote: View Post
Very few humans (agreed probably only single digits) ever see war. Of those who see war, very few see combat. Of those who see combat, very few even shoot to kill, let alone actual kill.
Agree, Lynn, however would add that outside of the USA, MANY humans in MANY countries across the globe either live or have lived at some point in their lives through the experience of being civilians living in war zones and are therefore very directly affected by the experience of war.

I just realized that I'm engaging in a thread creep away from the subject so apologize and withdraw....

Last edited by Janet Rosen : 01-14-2010 at 12:18 PM. Reason: thread creep

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Old 01-14-2010, 12:57 PM   #11
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Re: Hormonal & Psychological Responses to Combat

I've found that those people who wax eloquently about war and killing have rarely experienced those factors to any meaningful depth. Those whom I know for certainty that have the experience don't like to talk about it.

I side more with William Hazen in his analysis.
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Old 01-14-2010, 02:27 PM   #12
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Re: Hormonal & Psychological Responses to Combat

I'm drawn to William's point too, but I'm not sure it conflicts with Erick's main thesis, which is not about reluctance to kill, but about heroism to protect those joined by close emotional bonds. Like William, I'm enjoying that part of the discussion too.
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Old 01-14-2010, 04:45 PM   #13
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Re: Hormonal & Psychological Responses to Combat

Quote:
Kevin Leavitt wrote: View Post
What I am interested in is how martial training methodologies might play in this whole process.

Based on the whole "detachment" thing and the vignettes above and my own experiences in military training, it would seem to suggest that we can inculcate habits through repetition and near real replication of the conditions in which those desired responses need to be triggered.

Do you see anything different than this?
Yes, I do. A certain "calm" is an effect of oxytocin but a qualitatively different state from the detachment in a stress hormone dissociative condition. The literature speaks of a "lack of fear" under oxytocin, which is not the case for the typically agitated adrenal surge state. Habituation may reduce adrenal trigger sensitivity (which you seem to describe), but that does not improve performance above the norm state at all. Adrenal response habituation is implicated in PTSD -- Oxytocin mediates the HPA axis that drives that stress trigger condition and provides a possible alternate CNS mediated threshold against environmental triggers. Adrenal response is also implicated in combat related dissociative disorders. Oxytocin, though, diminishes stress response AND inhibits memory of traumatic threat under its influence.

Thus, training to promote oxytocin response under threat could potentially diminish or positively impact the incidence of combat related PTSD and dissociative disorders. It is known that animal studies show oxytocin in both increases agression towards sources of threat and inhibits it toward offspring.. Oxytocin modulates the HPA (hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal) axis with still poorly understood (especially in males) but significant associations as a modulator of stress response.

The Services' continued attention to issues of "unit cohesion" -- which is our technical name for this form of human love (and that is what it is) is correct and invaluable. Anything that detracts from promoting that protective response in threat environments (vice the adrenal survival threat-response) increases elements aiding survivel and units effectiveness and likely helps diminish individual impacts post-combat.

Quote:
Not sure where you and I stand on this...are we on opposite sides of the fence...or the same side?
Fence? There's no fence -- you need established boundaries for fences -- this is free country we're roaming on here...

Cordially,

Erick Mead
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Old 01-14-2010, 05:23 PM   #14
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Re: Hormonal & Psychological Responses to Combat

Eric, fascinating stuff. I'm curious if besides oxytocin there has been any research you've seen about possible role of PARAsympathetic system - the one that will lower pulse and BP, and presumably what is engaged in various learned/trained relaxation states ?

Janet Rosen
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Old 01-14-2010, 09:15 PM   #15
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Re: Hormonal & Psychological Responses to Combat

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I've found that those people who wax eloquently about war and killing have rarely experienced those factors to any meaningful depth. Those whom I know for certainty that have the experience don't like to talk about it.

I side more with William Hazen in his analysis.
William's points are well taken and there is no bright line here... but you are right -- when you've been shot at in anger -- or seen shipmates die in front of you -- then maybe we can talk ...

More broadly though to anyone -- what would you be doing practicing a martial art if you don't think seriously about death and killing? Regardless of your actual premises or conclusions.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
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Old 01-14-2010, 09:41 PM   #16
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Re: Hormonal & Psychological Responses to Combat

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Eric, fascinating stuff. I'm curious if besides oxytocin there has been any research you've seen about possible role of PARAsympathetic system - the one that will lower pulse and BP, and presumably what is engaged in various learned/trained relaxation states ?
Oxytocin does lower blood pressure and pulse -- after an initial spike -- and seems to be synthesized in the heart as well (in rats anyway) -- hard to do cardiac bio-assay studies in live people

If this cardiac synthesis of oxytocin in situ is in humans as well (which cannot be very large in amount), but would be fast as it is a direct feed to the circulation -- and would kick start the oxytocin's positive feedback loop, the progressive effect on vessel walls would be FELT differentially -- and the source generally localized in the chest. I wonder if this sensation may be the reason for the worldwide tradition attributing the heart as the seat of emotion. This and other studies also show that the effect of injected oxytocin is more pronounced in cerebral ventricular injection showing that there is a strong CNS component to initiating its expression and thus likely more allied with parasympathetic processes.

Meditaition-wise-- I think the religious experience MRI studies have shown that strong meditation techniques break down some self/non-self perceptual barriers. That would seem to broaden the scope of presumptive "loved ones" -- those identified with oneself, rather than as Other. That implicates the presumed biological role of oxytocin in protecting close kin. The Buddhist experience of profound compassion and Christian estatics ( lit. ("standing outside" i.e -- of oneself) love certainly seem to fit as training modes for related things, less martially applicable, but yes even so.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
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Old 01-14-2010, 10:25 PM   #17
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Re: Hormonal & Psychological Responses to Combat

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William's points are well taken and there is no bright line here... but you are right -- when you've been shot at in anger -- or seen shipmates die in front of you -- then maybe we can talk ...

More broadly though to anyone -- what would you be doing practicing a martial art if you don't think seriously about death and killing? Regardless of your actual premises or conclusions.
What does seriously thinking about Death and Killing have to do with the Martial Arts?

I "seriously" cannot recall the last time I thought about it while I was on the mat.

Sounds like another thread topic to me.

William Hazen
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Old 01-15-2010, 06:38 AM   #18
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Re: Hormonal & Psychological Responses to Combat

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A very simple set of questions refutes Hillman's Book Eric....How many Human Beings on this Planet have personally Killed another Human Being during their lifetime? 5%? 10%? 50%?
I submit to you the number is in the single digits...
The U.S Military has proven -- empirically-- that the number of those not readily trainable to be killers because of a deeply held unwillingness to kill is around 1/2 of 1% (WWII had 10,000,000 draftees v. 52,000 conscientious objectors).

I think you also do not see the value in Hillman's Jungian mythological approach in helping to grasp Ueshiba's own mythological approach. To me that is immensely helpful and informative -- especially the "Hymn to Ares" -- in which the God of War is appealed to CONTROL the forces of war in human hearts and societies. That is very close to Ueshiba's way of thinking, I believe.

I recently saw some of the complexity of this point put much better in a quote I came across:

"A desire to commit violence is not the same thing as a desire to commit evil."

I am not Jewish, but the Chabad folks have excellent theological insights to similar effect on Jacob and Esau and good and evil, and the role of violence in goodness and that speak to some of the same issues:

Cordially,

Erick Mead
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Old 01-15-2010, 06:45 AM   #19
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Re: Hormonal & Psychological Responses to Combat

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What does seriously thinking about Death and Killing have to do with the Martial Arts?
I "seriously" cannot recall the last time I thought about it while I was on the mat.

Sounds like another thread topic to me.
Ah .. a joke, then ? The point of Hillman's book is that only the martial impulse can control the martial impulse -- internally and socially. If practice is not mindful of the harm we are near to doing AND striving to come ever nearer to that bound without exceeding "acceptable" (and serious) harm for the situation -- it is not really martial. It is sport.

"Martial" arts like wrestling and (modern) judo have rules to avoid serious wounding or death because the possibility is real and the physical doing of harm ("acceptable" harm limited to destroying stability or freedom or movement) is intentional. But they are not really trying to come ever closer to the boundary of serious harm without going over. That makes them sports -- evolved from martial arts.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
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Old 01-15-2010, 12:40 PM   #20
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Re: Hormonal & Psychological Responses to Combat

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Erick Mead wrote: View Post
The U.S Military has proven -- empirically-- that the number of those not readily trainable to be killers because of a deeply held unwillingness to kill is around 1/2 of 1% (WWII had 10,000,000 draftees v. 52,000 conscientious objectors).
Help me here Eric...How is does being drafted imply a willingness to kill? I suggest that your statistical conjecture needs more proofing before it can be accepted as fact. Referring back to Lynn's Numbers in an earlier post for a moment.... The "trigger pullers" amounted to what percentage of the overall force?

Heres a little movie metaphor which frames our discussion perfectly "Saving Private Ryan." And also the underrated but still excellent "When Trumpets Fade."

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I think you also do not see the value in Hillman's Jungian mythological approach in helping to grasp Ueshiba's own mythological approach. To me that is immensely helpful and informative -- especially the "Hymn to Ares" -- in which the God of War is appealed to CONTROL the forces of war in human hearts and societies. That is very close to Ueshiba's way of thinking, I believe.

I recently saw some of the complexity of this point put much better in a quote I came across:

"A desire to commit violence is not the same thing as a desire to commit evil."

I am not Jewish, but the Chabad folks have excellent theological insights to similar effect on Jacob and Esau and good and evil, and the role of violence in goodness and that speak to some of the same issues:
With all due respect Eric I got what Hillman was trying to say and agree with some of it...I just wish he put his analysis on better statistical footing and was not so insecure about by trying to explain to the reader his qualifications.

John Keegan's books are a much better fact based gauge on how men act in war and he was never shot at in anger nor did he have to explain why he felt qualified to write about the subject matter.

Keep in mind I am not trying to win an argument here... I am just stating my opinion.

I appreciate your sharing of what the different Hormonal Responses are under duress.

William Hazen B 2/75
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Old 01-15-2010, 12:51 PM   #21
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Re: Hormonal & Psychological Responses to Combat

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Ah .. a joke, then ? The point of Hillman's book is that only the martial impulse can control the martial impulse -- internally and socially. If practice is not mindful of the harm we are near to doing AND striving to come ever nearer to that bound without exceeding "acceptable" (and serious) harm for the situation -- it is not really martial. It is sport.

"Martial" arts like wrestling and (modern) judo have rules to avoid serious wounding or death because the possibility is real and the physical doing of harm ("acceptable" harm limited to destroying stability or freedom or movement) is intentional. But they are not really trying to come ever closer to the boundary of serious harm without going over. That makes them sports -- evolved from martial arts.
I agree with most of this...However...The Bodhidharma in me might ask....What part of a flower carries the Martial Impulse...and (my favorite) who is the better Martial Artist? The Samurai or The Clown?

William Hazen
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Old 01-15-2010, 10:24 PM   #22
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Re: Hormonal & Psychological Responses to Combat

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Help me here Eric...How is does being drafted imply a willingness to kill?
Well, like Hillman, I was not making a statistical argument -- you threw out some numbers toward one end of spectrum and I threw out some countering numbers toward the other end, and there is not simple statistical case to be made on this issue -- which was my only point. There is a psychological case -- and that is where mythical thoughts have application, for Ueshiba as for Hillman. Humans may be trainable but they are never tame.
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John Keegan's books are a much better fact based gauge on how men act in war and he was never shot at in anger nor did he have to explain why he felt qualified to write about the subject matter.
Do men fight for facts? They will fight for lies. They will fight for love. But they only really fight for lies about love, so ultimately-- only love is worth fighting for.

I like Keegan -- particularly "Mask of Command." I am fond of Victor Hanson as well... Tolkien obviously (on fighting "the long defeat"), not to mention S.M. Stirling -- the latter two , not history of course -- but strong on the mythic mode in modern terms of stories about war itself as a human endeavour vice simply stage dressing for other drama or storytelling.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
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Old 01-18-2010, 03:04 PM   #23
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Re: Hormonal & Psychological Responses to Combat

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"A desire to commit violence is not the same thing as a desire to commit evil."
The problem is how thick is the line that separates them, but I agree for the most part with that sentence.

Pablo
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Old 01-19-2010, 11:19 AM   #24
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Re: Hormonal & Psychological Responses to Combat

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"A desire to commit violence is not the same thing as a desire to commit evil."
Being one of the drafted and the single digits: please do not confusion the desire, intent, or training to do an act (good or bad) with the actual commission of that act.

Lynn Seiser PhD
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We do not rise to the level of our expectations, but fall to the level of our training. Train well. KWATZ!
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Old 01-19-2010, 12:53 PM   #25
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Re: Hormonal & Psychological Responses to Combat

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Being one of the drafted and the single digits: please do not confusion the desire, intent, or training to do an act (good or bad) with the actual commission of that act.
Thank you for this Lynn. I would venture to say that 80% of the drivers on Southern California Freeways have the desire to do harm to their fellow drivers when stuck in heavy traffic. LOL While that desire may be present actual Road Rage incidents are also in the single digits...

Again If the desire to do harm to others is so easy to express... Why do modern armies spend so much time trying to get soldiers to translate it into "homicidal action "?

William Hazen
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