Adrenalin Let-down

Discussion in 'General Martial Arts Talk' started by thardey, Apr 3, 2008.

  1. thardey

    thardey Master Black Belt

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    Has this happened to anyone else?

    I took a pre-test last night for my 2nd degree Black Belt. I got held, but there wasn't really a specific problem. They said it just looked like I "held back." The pre-test is only 45 minutes long, and I am in good shape, so there was no reason for me to hold anything back.

    So I went home last night and was trying to figure out what went wrong. Technically I was correct, no one said anything about my stances being too high, which is always my weak point, I knew the material inside and out, etc.

    Then, as the night wore on, I was waiting for the "let down" after an adrenalin dump. (You know, the shakes, dry mouth, being extremely tired.) It never came. Eventually I realized that I never got the adrenalin dump in the first place.

    Typically, I get a rush during a test, and I over-do it if I don't make myself slow down. The adrenalin skews my perspective of time and speed, so I've learned that I am going faster than I think I am, and how to correct for that. However, the adrenalin failed me last night. Without it, I was just sort of "ambling" through the pre-test. I had no "edge."

    On another note, my 18 month-old son was watching for part of the test. At one point he heard the "Kiais" and started copying them, quite loudly and clearly. It was a little bit of a distraction, but I was proud. He's already got karate in his veins. :bangahead:
     
  2. Sukerkin

    Sukerkin Have the courage to speak softly

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    First, let me say that everyone is different in the way they handle both stress and testing. Such a circumstance effects everyones mental state and physiology in a different way so any comments have to be 'shaded' by that filter. Plus, bear in mind that my 'empty hand' experience is Chinese rather than Japanese (tho' the latter is where my 'armed' XP comes from).

    I'm not entirely sure how long you've been training in the art you're looking to grade in but I'm assuming at least five years from your profile notes (with even longer experience in another art beforehand)?

    For me, a certain degree of tension used to go along with gradings and it always negatively affected my performance (or at least heightened my self-critique). Then I hit (yeah, MA pun attack :D) upon the realisation that I was degrading my skill in the art because I was approaching the grading as a 'hurdle' to be overcome rather than as a simple progression of my training.

    As a first Dan, you now have been exposed to pretty much all you need to know in terms of basic technique. What follows on is what my (now deceased) first iaido sensei used to term "Polishing the mirror" i.e. tho' there are significant improvements in physical technique, the big steps are internal and mental.

    I'm in danger of sounding like Yoda here but (and this is only my opinion and not a criticism) a martial artist grading up to nidan is on the road to letting go of 'the adrenalin rush'. Technique flows from calmness within rather than tension or aggression.
     
  3. wade

    wade Black Belt

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    I think Sukerkin pretty much nailed it. Very well put Yoda. In the beginning it is all physical but as time goes by your mental development should start coming to the forefront. The difference between a between a white belt and a black belt is astronomical. The same between a 1st Dan and a Master. You grow as you learn, or you die.
     
  4. meth18au

    meth18au Blue Belt

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    Not specifcally to me. However, you were getting distracted by your sons Kia? This might indicate your mental focus wasn't 100% where it could have been??? Were you tired? Didn't eat enough? I don't know- I'm just throwing a few things up in the ballpark buddy.


    Did you not pass that test then? Is that what you mean by 'i got held'? Sorry to hear that if it is the case!!! No rush though hey? :)
     
  5. thardey

    thardey Master Black Belt

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    I've been studying for 6 years in this style, and I've been a black belt for 2 years. I talked to my instructor about it, and he said to treat it like an anomaly. Our tests are designed to put large amounts of stress on the tester. From intermediate levels up, they aren't so much about whether you know the techniques (you wouldn't be allowed to test in the first place if you didn't know them), but whether you can control yourself during an adrenalin rush. For most people, that "fight or flight" mentality kicks in, and they go too fast, start flailing, and pretty much lose control. If you've internalized the material, you won't "freak out" when the stress kicks in.

    To that end, we're always taught to keep the focus on technique, and staying sharp, rather than going fast, since it's assumed that the adrenalin will provide the speed, as well as distort your own perception of time. Up until now, it always has.

    Since studies show (though they may be apocryphal), that more people have a fear of public performance than have a fear of death, our tests use that. They're always well attended, with high ranking teachers watching, etc. They apply public pressure to try and simulate stress.

    However, the last time I did a public karate performance, I was 6 feet away from my Grandmaster, Chuck Norris, and 9 other board members, who are the highest ranked teachers in our system. I was on stage in front of about 200 black belts from all over the country. (Granted, I was just being a good partner for the actual "performer," but that was still an adrenalin rush.) After that, performing in front of our local teachers just didn't scare me anymore.

    It was like I was too confident internally. I was nervous about the test in my head, but my "heart" wasn't. I was calm, cool, and collected, but the performance came out cold because of it.

    Now my confidence is messed up, because, during a test, I can't tell whether I'm under the influence of adrenalin or not. I need to know that, so I can adjust my timing and power accordingly. Otherwise I will either be "flat" in the test, with no edge, or I will overdo and not have control.

    Of course, I could make myself dizzy by wondering whether that lack of confidence is enough to insure that I will get the desired rush . . . . But that doesn't do me any good.
     
  6. thardey

    thardey Master Black Belt

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    Yeah, I won't be allowed to take the Black Belt test next month.

    My son's kiai wasn't during my part of the test. I was on the sidelines. Actually my focus was good - straight in front of me, I wasn't distracted by the other students, I had plenty of energy, etc. Technically correct, I think I *may* have made only one mistake all night. And that was all agreed upon by the instructors. I was just too calm.

    There was no "spirit."
     
  7. still learning

    still learning Senior Master

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    Hello, My old Shotokan Sensi...wanted us to fight 6-7 black belts semi-full contact for testing to be a black belt...the idea was not about winning....but NOT TO GIVE UP! (one right after other 2 minutes long each one).

    Each style and Instructors have there own beliefs of what promotes a person!

    It seems in your testing? ...you need to turn the "animal" switch on! ...you do not need to hurt your partners at the same time. Just be more aggressive.

    It is nice you can be more calm....a more relax person...is someone most of us fear fighting!

    A calm person has more power....more clear thinking...and a more develop mind.

    Aloha, just my thoughts on this! ...boy I was nervious writing this? ..NOT!
     
  8. meth18au

    meth18au Blue Belt

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    Ah well...no rush I suppose!!! Plenty of time to work on your spirit!!! Is there any way you can simulate this sort of testing environment (high pressure, adrenlin fueled)? Maybe as a way to engage, or get in touch with the adrenalin and the effect it has on you? Maybe it is not even through martial arts? But something more confronting for yourself? This might help develop more awareness in this area, and you could go from there, apply it into your training?

    I'm not too sure exactly what you could do? But it's just an idea that maybe you could look into? If I think of anything more specific I'll let you know


    P.S.- Is Chuck Norris your Grandmaster? That's awesome man, seriously. If I was in the US I'd be coming to do some training with you, just to meet the man!!!


    :)
     
  9. thardey

    thardey Master Black Belt

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    I may have connected some of the missing pieces . . . a couple of days before the pre-test I had a bad migraine - I ended up losing an entire day to sleeping it off. I always feel a little "off" for the next couple of days after one of those. I wonder if that somehow either drained the adrenalin in my system, or messed up the system that recognizes stress, and failed to trigger it.

    I'm kind of an adrenalin junkie - motorcycles, scuba, horseback riding, snowboarding, sword fighting, karate, public speaking, etc. Not the "big rush" stuff, but the drawn-out stuff. So usually I enjoy the challenge of the tests - I actually get excited about them. This time was just flat.

    Yeah, it was pretty cool to meet Mr. Norris. It was amazing to be in a gym of a thousand people, and when he entered the room, everybody stopped what they were doing, even tournaments, and bowed to him. Then when you talk to him in person, he's totally approachable and warm. He just breathed, sweated, and bled confidence.
     
  10. meth18au

    meth18au Blue Belt

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    It could very well have affected your performance. I get migraines on the odd occasion- and they're nasty things! I can understand being an andrenalin junkies- but public speaking? Kudo's to you!!! I just can't get into that one- LOL!

    Yeah I can imagine him being a charismatic sort of fellow. When I was younger he was an idol. One of those resident tough guys you just want to grow up to be like. Along with Sylvester Stallone, Bruce Willis and Arnold Schwarznegger (until he became a politician)!

    :)123
     

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