Fine Motor Joint Locks

KyleShort

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How do you feel about the use of fine motor (typically wrist and finger) joint locks -- also refered to as small circle, in a self defense situation?

My personal approach has always been to focuss on the more gross motor type of locks (wraps and armbars) for countering attacks. However, I do believe in the use of fine motor locks/breaks for escaping a grapple. Typically I would only employ such locks if I am tangled up and can't get good strikes or takedowns. In such a circumstance it may be possible to anchor on the arm and slide your hands down to the assailant's hand and apply a wrist or finger lock/break in order to escape the grapple and counter strike/takedown.

There is also value in applying fine motor locks for controlling the subject after you have brought them down, but I typically like to match a fine motor lock with a gross motor lock for better control.
 
K

KanoLives

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KyleShort said:
How do you feel about the use of fine motor (typically wrist and finger) joint locks -- also refered to as small circle, in a self defense situation?


IMO, whatever works is good. From my personal experiance, I was grappling with a good friend of mine. He pulled me into his guard so I tried an armbar. Couldn't get it and jumped quickly for a heel hook. Didn't get the heel hook but I did get a big toe lock of some sorts. So like I said whatever works is a good thing. :asian:
 
B

Black Bear

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I don't find they work against a competent, resisting opponent unless the limb is previously secured above the joint I'm attacking. For instance, I will hyperflex a wrist to strip a weapon, or gooseneck when someone's resisting juji gatame.
 
M

markulous

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Basically, yeah whatever works. Wrist locks work pretty good I think. It a lot of times catches people off guard. I think 4 out of 5 times it's a means to an end type move. Get a hold of their wrist so you can make their body react a certain way, so you can attack their elbow or even better get a hold of/attack their head.
 

7starmantis

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markulous said:
Basically, yeah whatever works. Wrist locks work pretty good I think. It a lot of times catches people off guard. I think 4 out of 5 times it's a means to an end type move. Get a hold of their wrist so you can make their body react a certain way, so you can attack their elbow or even better get a hold of/attack their head.
Yeah, this is exactly how I think about them. Especially in mantis we do alot of wrist locks, but most are to set up another attack. They work very well.

7sm
 

Cruentus

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I think fine motor can be ideal for breaking an opponent quickly, while gross motor can be more helpful for Complience/control of the opponent. Either can break or control, but I think that each one has advantages/disadvantages.

:ultracool
 

pesilat

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I think that they have their place - but if they're never trained then they're completely useless.

Personally, I love finger locks. And I find them all the time. I completely agree that locks in general are often a path to something else - but so is everything. Nothing exists in a vacuum. I never assume anything is a finisher - I might miss, they might do something to prevent it or reduce the effect, they might be wearing something that reduces or nullifies the effect, a fly might buzz up my nose at the wrong moment and throw me completely off :p

I'm not, however, a big fan of the terms "gross" and "fine" motor skills. The terms are applicable but often misused. Watch an infant try to point at something - they wave their arm toward it in a rather vague motion. Over time (and this one happens pretty quickly) they start refining that motion so they can point at something pretty specifically with a finger.

Now, I'll switch to a topic I'm a lot more familiar with. Typing. Typing requires a lot of fine motor skills all working in tandem. People who never develop any real faculty with typing are slow and cumbersome and, under pressure, tend to miss keystrokes and couldn't type their name properly 10 times in a row if there was any pressure to do so - i.e.: they're going to get shot if they don't do it in a minute or less. A typist, though, would have no trouble performing all those fine motor skills - which, in turn, make up a "complex motor skill" - regardless of the pressure.

This is analogous to performing, for instance, finger locks in a realistic situation. I've caught finger locks during full speed sparring. Commonly, when people parry a punch, they leave their hands tensed and their fingers end up sticking straight up in the air. If I throw a punch at someone and they parry it like this, I can often relax my punching arm and let them push it toward me - which brings their fingers into easy reach of my other hand and bang I've got a finger lock. Because I've trained finger locks a lot, I can catch them and apply them safely even at full speed. I have, in the midst of full speed sparring, dropped people to their knees or stood them up on their toes (depending on what line I take) with finger locks. Had I chosen, I could have broken their fingers just as easily. Same with wrist locks.

But even if I don't get a "finishing" lock, even touching a lock almost always disrupts their mental and, usually, physical balance. And that opens doors for me to strike and/or sweep/takedown and/or find another lock and/or draw my weapon and/or make an exit - what I do with those open doors depends on the situation but locking can often be used to open those doors.

Those doors can be opened with striking, locking, or balance disruption - which, to me, all tie into one simple concept of "move." I move and, as I do, I strike, I lock, I disrupt their balance, I sweep, I throw, I draw a weapon, I exit - I move. Or, in short, I do what I've trained to do.

I've heard the following answers to "what if" questions:
A Karate man: "do your karate"
A Baguah man: "do your baguah"
A Silat man: "do your jurus"

As Tuhon Chris Sayoc explained at a seminar, "If you're a thrower, you'll throw your blade. If you're not, you won't. If you're a thrower, then you don't throw your blade as a distraction - unless you miss and it distracts you."

In short, I do what I've trained to do. I move and the world moves with me, for me, and around me. Aikido uses this principle all the time - as does everything else - each art/system/style just expresses the principle differently.

As Bruce Lee phrased it, "I don't hit. My fist hits all by itself."

If you look around, you'll find thousands of interpretations of this same concept.

This brings me back to the use of fine motor skills. If they've been trained, then they'll come out. If they haven't, they won't.

In my experience, though, the terms "fine" and "gross" motor skills are used simply to mean the following:

"gross motor skill" = something that's easy and that can be done with minimal practice

"fine motor skill" = something that's more subtle and requires more practice

These definitions aren't incorrect - but some people I've run into use them as defenses for their own laziness. "Well, I don't practice fine motor skills because they're useless in a fight." Bull dookie. They don't practice them because they don't practice them. If they feel they need to defend the lack of practice then they're most likely just too lazy to develop those skills.

People who say, "I don't practice them because I don't have that much time to develop them." That's something I can respect.

Don't know how I wound up on that tangent - I guess I tweaked one of my own pet peeves in the midst of my post.

Personally, I feel that my training in "fine motor skills" has also helped to refine my "gross motor skills." By training the subtleties, my gross motor skills have tightened up and become more effective.

As my primary instructor puts it, "Perfection is impossible to attain. But we should always strive for it in training. If a technique requires 85% of perfection to be effective and we only train it to that 85% then when we get in a fight and we lose 10% of our motor skills right off the top, we'll never be able to pull that technique off. If, however, we've trained that technique to the point that we get it 95%+ every time in training, then when we lose that 10% in reality we still have a chance of pulling that technique off." [numbers were arbitrarily assigned for the sake of illustration]

So if I only train the gross motor skills then I'm only training to that base line. If I train the fine motor skills and, by doing so, refine and fine tune my gross motor skills then I'm more likely to be able to apply my training in reality. At least that's the way it seems to me and what my personal experience has indicated.

Whew - what a rant - now you understand why I type so fast, it's a matter of self-defense. I've got a lot to say and not much time to say it :)

Mike
 
B

Black Bear

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Ah, yes fingerlocks, like a really fast hyperextension. They do happen an awful lot. :) Also good for weapon strips. Still, I don't see that as much of a fine-motor skill. Could be a total palmar grasp and supination/elbow extension.

While it is stupid to assert a universal negative (fine-motor skills are useless in a real assault) there is much research to indicate that gross-motor movements should be favoured. For those with a MA/DT background the closest place to spot it would probably be with Bruce Siddle's PPCT, or Darren Laur, the ex-cop out of Victoria. Both cites plenty of basic research on stress psychophysiology. (Ironically, Siddle has all the goods from the literature, but the program he developed doesn't even seem to reflect it all that well. The less pedantic Tony Blauer, however, has built his entire SPEAR system around good, sound "flinch movements".) To me the most important thing is to remember that your cerebral cortex practically doesn't even govern your behaviour during a really huge adrenaline dump. The reticular activating system "unhooks" it and plugs in the limbic system. If the situation is truly a "H**Y S#!T!" moment, gross motor movements are the best thing to go with.

Indeed the "fine-gross-motor" contrast involves a continuous rather than a dichotomous distinction. But it is a real one nonetheless.
 
B

Black Bear

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Oh, I found the article Darren Laur posted on it. I like Laur's writing. Very reasonable and smart guy. Now I'm am not an ignoramus who thinks that by posting articles off the net you unequivocally end a debate. In fact, I don't agree with everything Laur writes, and I personally HATE NLP. And I cannot back up the validity of his sources. This article is for information purposes only.



The Anatomy Of Fear and How It Relates To Survival Skills Training

An officer assigned to jail duty conducts a prisoner bed check when he observes that a male who was lodged in the drunk tank, was laying face down not breathing in a corner of the cells. The officer attempts to verbally arouse the prisoner, but these attempts fail. The officer now believing that the prisoner is dead, proceeds into the cell, bends over and grabs the prisoner by his left shoulder in an attempt to roll him over. At this point in time that the prisoner, spontaneously and by complete surprise, quickly rolls
towards the officer, and with his right hand, swings towards the officers face. The officer instinctively pulls both of his arms in to protect his head, and moves backwards. At this point in time, the suspect has moved to his feet, and again lashes out towards the officer with what the officer perceives to be a big right hooking punch, at which time the officer again puts his hand up to cover his head, while at the same time crouches and again moves backwards away from the threat. The officer only now realizes that he is bleeding profusely, but doesnt know why. The prisoner now lunges at the officer a third time, with a straight liners punch, at which time the officer sees the shinning glimmer of a metal object in the prisoners right hand. As this third attack makes contact with the officer, he instinctually attempts to push the prisoners hands away from his body, but contact is made resulting in a puncture wound to the officers chest area. The officer realizes he is in an edged weapon encounter, has been cut several times, and then disengages from the cell area to call for help.


The above noted scenario happened to a police officer in my department in 1992. Although this officer had received training in edged weapon defence, and was one of the more officer safety conscious members of the department, he could not make his training work. Based upon the officers reaction to this spontaneous attack, I began to wonder if the instinctual physical reactions to this attack, which were totally different from the training he received up to that point in time, would be experienced by other officers as well if placed into a spontaneous attack situation in which they had no idea that an attack was going to occur.

Im a big believer in, dont tell me, show me so in early 1992 I conducted an empirical video research study. I had 85 police officers participate in a scenario based training session where unknown to them, they would be attacked with a knife. The attacker, who was dressed in a combatives suit, was told that during mid way of the contact, they were to pull a knife that
they had been concealing, flash it directly at the officer saying Im going to kill you pig and then engage the officer physically. The results were remarkable:

3/85 saw the knife prior to contact
10/85 realized that they were being stabbed repeatedly during the scenario
72/85 did not realize that they were being assaulted with a knife until the scenario was over, and the officers were advised to look at their uniforms to see the simulated thrusts and slices left behind by the chalked training knives

When I reviewed the hours of videotape of the above noted scenarios, I also made two very important and interesting observations in how the majority of
officers reacted to the spontaneous attacks:

most flinched, bringing both hands up to protect their head while crouching at the same time, and attempted to disengage from the attacker by backing
away from the threat. This usually resulted in the attacker closing the gap quite quickly with their victim
Those officers that did engage the threat immediately, proceeded to effectively block the initial strike of the attacker and then immediately
grappled with the attacker using elbows and knee strikes

After making these observations, I asked myself why I was seeing these reactions. In my research I had the opportunity to read an article authored by Bruce Siddle and Dr. Hal Breedlove entitled Survival Stress Reaction . In this article Siddle and Breedlove sated:

research by numerous studies provide two clear messages why people will place themselves in bad tactical situations. The common phenomena of backing away under survival stress results from the visual systems deterioration of the peripheral field to attain more information regarding threat stimulus.

Since the brain is demanding more information to deal with the threat, he officer will invariably retreat from the threat to widen the peripheral field.
Secondly, the brains normal ability to process (analyze and evaluate) a wide range of information quickly is focused to specific items. Therefore, additional cues, which would normally be processed, are lost. This explains why people can not remember seeing or identifying specific facts which were relatively close to the threat.


The research by Siddle and Breedlove not only confirmed my findings, but also answered why our officers were acting this way. It also explains why one officer, who had actually caught the attackers knife hand with both of his hands and was looking directly at the knife, stated I didnt see any knife. It was not until I showed the video that he believed there was a knife.


In 1995, Bruce Siddle released his first book entitled; Sharpening The Warriors Edge The Psychology and Science Of Training In my opinion, Siddless published works began to answer a lot of the questions that I asked during my experience with, and empirical research into combatives


The first real studies in the area of SSR as it related to combat performance, were conducted in the 1930s, when it was noted that those soldiers who were sending Morse code during combat situations (fine/complex skill), had much more difficulty in doing so when compared to non-combat environments. The next real research in SSR came during the Vietnam war as it related to the location of buttons and switches in fighter cockpits. As a result of this research, cockpits were reconfigured to take SSR into affect, as it specifically related to eye/hand co-ordination during combat situations.


Although much of the early research surrounding SSR was conducted by the military during times of war, recently (from about the mid 1960s to present time) a lot of research has been conducted in SSR as it relates to athletic performance.

Siddles definition of SSR as it relates to combat is: a state where a perceived high threat stimulus automatically engages the parasympathetic nervous
system The parasympathetic nervous system is an autonomic response process which, when activated, one has little control of. Why is SSR so important when it comes to combat/self protection? Because when
activated, SSR has both a psychological and physiological effect to the body which could affect ones perception of threat in a negative way. So what
are some of these effects according to Siddles research?


a) Increased Heart Rate:

We know that SSR is directly related to an increased heart rate
At 115 beats per minute (bpm) most people will lose fine complex motor skills such as finger dexterity, eye hand co-ordination, multi tasking becomes
difficult. At 145 bpm, most people will lose complex motor skills ( 3 or more motor skills designed to work in unison)


b) Effects To Visual System:

The visual system is the primary sensory organ of the body for those of us that can see, due to the fact that the visual system sends information to the brain that is needed during combat/self protection. At approximately 175 bpm, a person will experience an eye/lid lift, their pupils will dilate and flatten.
As this reaction takes place, a person will experience visual narrowing (commonly known as tunnel vision). This is why it is very common for a person to back up from a threat in order to get more information through
this tunnel. It is also at this point in time that a person becomes binocular rather than monocular This is why in CQB shooting, I teach two eye
binocular shooting rather than one eye aimed shooting.
At 175 bpm, visual tracking becomes difficult this is very important when it comes to multiple threats. During multiples, the brain will want the visual
system to stay with what it sees to be the primary threat. Once this threat has been neutralized, the brain and visual system will then find its next
threat. This is commonly known as the light house effect. Studies have found that a person in SSR will experience on average about a 70% decrease in their visual field. This is one reason why in combat, we need to teach students to constantly be scanning their environment, looking for the second and third opponent.
At 175 bpm, it also becomes difficult to focus on close objects. One of the first things to go under SSR is depth perception. A fighter WILL become far
sighted rather than near sighted. This is why it is very common for people experiencing SSR to say that the threat was either closer or father away from where they actually were. Studies in SSR have shown that binocular fighting/shooting will improve ones depth perception by 20-30%

c) Effects To The Auditory System:

At approx 145 bpm, that part of the brain that hears, shuts down during SSR. This is one reason why it is not uncommon for fighters to say I didnt hear that , I heard voices but I couldnt understand what they were saying or I heard bits and pieces I didnt hear a gun shot

d) Effects To The Brain:

At approx 175 bpm, it is not uncommon for a person to have difficulty remembering what took place or what they did during a confrontation
This recall problem is known as Critical Stress Amnesia. After a critical incident, it is not uncommon for a person to only recall approx 30% of what
happened in the first 24hrs, 50% in 48 hrs, and 75-95% in 72-100hrs
At 185-220 bpm, most people will go into a state of hypervigilance this is also commonly known as the deer in the headlights or Brain fart mode It is
not uncommon for a person to continue doing things that are not effective ( known as a feedback loop) or to show irrational behavior such as leaving cover.
This is also the sate in which people find themselves in why they describe that they can not move, yell, scream. Once a person is caught in a state of
hypervigilance it is a downward spiral that is very tough to get out of. Once caught in a state of hypervigilance information of the threat is reduced to
the brain which leads to increased reaction time. This increased reaction time then leads to a heightened state of stress which further exacerbates
hypervigilance.

e) Effects To Motor Skill performance

At approximately 115 bpm, fine/complex motor skills become less available/effective (pulling a trigger, handling a knife), but gross motor skills turn on and become optimized.


So why is this information so important ?, because Siddle in his research has found the higher the heart rate, the more SSR will affect ones perception of
threat. Also, the higher the heart rate, the more negative effects it will have on motor skill performance.

One must remember that in combat, a persons heart rate can go from 70 bpm to 220bpm in less than half a second. So what is the combat maximum performance range when it comes to SSR and heart rate ? Siddle in his studies has found that it is between 115-145 bpm. Siddle has also found that a fighters maximum reaction time performance range is also between 115-145 bpm. In other words, the 115-145 bpm range is where fighting skills (gross motor) and reaction time are maximized.


As I said earlier, SSR is an autonomic response, which happens without conscious thought. Having said this, Siddle in his research has found that a person can manage SSR to attain that peak 115-145 bpm range in the following ways:


1) Skill Confidence:

This takes place through both mental and physical training

2) Experience Through Dynamic Simulation Training

Experience increases and builds confidence- reduces newness of stimulus
Training should be realistic stimulus/response based
The more real the training experience (stimulus) the better


3) Visualization (mental imagery)

Commonly known as spinal tuning we now know that the upper part of the spinal column holds a short term memory.
This is one reason why I have taught my Emergency Response Team (ERT) to visualize both their plan A strategy and plan B strategy as they are en route to their target.
Remember that the mind can not easily tell the difference between fantasy and reality. The more one uses mental imagery the more one becomes spinal tuned to deal with the task at hand. As a certified hypnotherapist, I am using the science and art of hypnosis and NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) to pre-program stimulus /response issues directly into the subconscious, specific to combat performance. Not only have I have seen a DRAMATIC increase in combative performance in those students in which I am using hypnosis and NLP, but I am also experiencing about a 50% decrease in the amount of
time needed to make a student unconsciously competent in the skill set taught, when compared to those who I have not conducted this type of training with. In fact, I truly believe that hypnosis and NLP specific to combatives, will be the next nexus in training

4) Breathing

This skill has been used in the martial arts for thousands of years
Known as autogenic breathing One wants to breath in through their nose for a three count, hold for a two count, and then breath out through the mouth for a three count. Studies have found that if a person was to do this for a 3 cycle count, it decreases ones heart rate up to 30% for up to 40 seconds. Again remember that heart rate is directly related to SSR. If a person heart rate was sitting at around 175-220 bpm, autogenic breathing
would help bring them back down into that target range of 115-145 bpm
I have also taught this skill to my ERT team. While they are doing their spinal tuning, they are also conducting autogenic breathing drills at the same
time. Our ERT team had conducted a lot of empirical and real world operations where they placed heart monitors on team members which have proven this
de-escalation in heart rate

5) Value Of Life:

In our society a persons life is considered to be precious. In fact, most of our morals and laws are based upon protecting oneself and others against
serious injury or death In a self defence situation, one may have to
seriously injury or even kill another human being. Although a reality, many people involved in combatives training have not really internalized or
even thought about this. Because of ones belief system, to kill or seriously injure another person is as foreign to them as committing suicide If one does not come to grips with this issue one will fail to act in such a situation.


6) Belief In Mission / Task At hand:

If you do not believe in the mission or task at hand, or if the risks outweigh the ultimate benefit to you/society, you WILL hesitate in combat One who hesitates in combat, will usually levitate (12 feet under or be seriously injured


7) Faith System:

You do not want to go into combat without having things resolved
Both the ancient samurai and the kamikazes during WWII understood this important rule Even in our modern times, there are certain spec war
teams around the world that are allowed to make peace with their deity prior to mission A strong faith system, whatever that faith system may be, MINIMIZES the fear of dying. As a graphic example of this, look at the events of September 11th and how the terrorists were not afraid to die and thus
were able to carry out their mission. Also look at what is happening in Israel right now !!!!!!!
Remember, combat is not the place for you to be making major adjustments to your belief system. You need to be concentrating on the task at hand and
nothing else. Not to do so places yourself in jeopardy

8) Training:

Training for combat must be gross motor based why? because we know that during combat, SSR will negatively effect fine/complex motor skill performance
no matter how well trained !!!!!!!!!
For any skill taught, there must always be a plan B abort strategy conditioned as well. We must not be teaching multiple defences (responses) to a specific type of attack (stimulus). The reason for this, HICKS
LAW !
Hicks Law basically states the following: the average reaction time given one stimulus one response is about second. If we now teach a student a second
technique (response) to the same attack (stimulus) we WILL increase a persons reaction time by 58%. On the street we want to DECREASE reaction time, not increase it. If we teach multiple defences to one specific
attack, the brain will take time deciding which option to use. This increased reaction time could mean the difference between life and death.
Instructors should always teach a new technique in slow motion, why ? it allows the students brain time to observe the technique and begin the soft wiring process which becomes hard wired through physical and mental training in conjunction with repetition, as long as it is gross motor skilled
All physical skills should be chucked or partitioned into progressive steps rather than taught all at once. Many instructors when teaching a physical techniques will have the students practice the entire technique from beginning to end when first learning the specific skill set. This is a huge mistake. Remember that the brain first learns in pictures and through modeling.
By teaching a technique from A to Z all at once, the student may not fully develop the proper and full mental picture needed to perform the technique
properly which usually leads to frustration by the student. Teachers, coaches, and instructors must insure that the student understands step A fully, then move onto step B. Once step B is understood move on to
step C and so on. By doing this, frustration goes down, while confidence and skill level go up.
Once the skill sets are learned, they must now be applied in dynamic training in order to make the stimulus/response training as real as possible. Again,
the more the real the training, the better prepared one becomes for the reality of the street

Although Siddles research has brought to light the physiological effects to the emotion of fear such as increased heart rate, fine complex motor skill deterioration, and what we can do as instructors to limit the effects of SSR during combat, it did not fully explain why and how the brain learned and responds to the emotion of fear, thus triggering SSR.To me, this is the key question to be answered if ones combative system or style is going to be able to consistently deal with an unexpected spontaneous assault, be it unarmed or armed. In other words, are our brains hardwired to the point where a trained response, no matter how well ingrained, be overridden by a more powerful instinctual response? If the answer to this question is yes, can this instinctual response be changed, molded, or integrated into a combative context?

Research into this question, specific to Survival Skills Training, has really been non-existent. Having said this, research into the how the brain learns and responds to the emotion of fear has taken off over the past few years, due mainly to brain mapping technology such as MRIs, and has been spearheaded by several experts in the Neuroscience filed. One of the more significant researchers, Dr Joseph LeDoux of New York University, has led the way in tracing brain circuitry underlying the fear response in animals/ mammals which
have been directly correlated to humans as well. It is because of Dr LeDouxs pioneering research, that the neural pathways and connections that bring upon the effects of SSR are now being understood.

Dr LeDoux has stated, fear is a neural circuit that has been designed to keep an organism alive in dangerous situations Through out his research, Dr LeDoux has shown that the fear response has been tightly conserved in evolution through out the development of humans and other vertebrates. According
to most in the Neuroscience field, the areas of the brain that deal with fear are located in the phylogenetically old structures commonly known as the
reptilian brain Dr LeDoux believes based upon his research that, learning and responding to stimuli that warn of danger involves neural pathways that send
information about the outside world to the amygdala, which in turn, determines the significance of the stimulus and triggers emotional responses like running, fighting, or freezing as well as changes in the inner workings of the bodys organs and glands such as increased heart rate. This statement explains to me the correlation between SSR and heart rate increase as reported by Siddle in his research.. (BLACK BEAR'S NOTE: THE "REPTILIAN BRAIN" IS WHAT I REFERRED TO AS THE LIMBIC SYSTEM. THE AMYGDALA, WHICH IS KNOWN AS A "FEAR CENTRE" IS PART OF THIS SYSTEM. I WAS IN UNDERGRAD AT THE TIME THAT "NO FEAR" T-SHIRTS WERE COOL. THE UNDERGRAD PSYCH ASSOCIATION CONTEMPLATED MAKING "NO AMYGDALA" T-SHIRTS.)

Siddles research drew a direct correlation between SSR and heart rate increase. The problem with this assumption is that for people such as runners, who can have very high heart rates, SSR does not take effect. Why ? the runners high heart rate is caused by physical exertion, and not the emotion of fear caused by a spontaneous or immediate threat to body or life , which triggers the neurological response of the brain and more specifically the amygdala which in turn begins the SSR process.


Dr LeDoux has also found, there are important distinctions to make between emotions and feelings. Feelings are red herrings , products of the conscious mind, labels given to unconscious emotions, whereas emotions are distinct patterns of behaviors of neurons. Emotions can exist of conscious experiences as well as physiological and neurological reactions and voluntary and involuntary behaviors. I believe the important thing to take from this statement is that emotion of fear is an unconscious process that has been blueprinted at the neurological level, and when triggered, has physiological reactions that we may have little, if any, control over, but which can
be molded.

Dr LeDoux has also discovered that the components of fear go way beyond feelings and emotions. According to Dr Ledoux it is also the specific memory of the emotion. A fellow Neuroscientist, Dr Doug Holt expanded upon this fact and said after a frightful experience, one can remember the logical reasons for the experience ( e.g. the time and place) but one will also feel the memory, and his body will react as such (i.e. increased heart rate and respiration rate, sweating). This is why it is not uncommon for a survivor of spontaneous assault to not only vividly remember each detail, but when doing so, their body reacts as though they were reliving the experience.
This is another reason why I believe that guided imagery, when used appropriately and professionally, will be the next nexus in combatives training.
Although not all scientific research makes this particular distinction between emotions and feelings, most would agree that the fear response involves more
than just the physical preparation for fight, flight, or hypervigilance. This initial, physiological response is followed by a slower, more detailed psychological assessment of the dangerous situation being faced, during which the individual becomes conscious of feeling afraid.

So what happens in our brain when the emotion of fear is triggered. According to Dr. LeDoux and other Neuroscientist, once the fear system of the brain
detects and starts responding to danger (primarily the amygdala which receives input directly from every sensory system of the body and can therefore immediately respond), depending upon fear stimulus intensity, the brain will begin to assess what is going on, and try to figure out what to do about it using the following process:

Information of the threat stimulus is detected via the senses of the body; sight, sound, touch, smell, taste
Information from one or all of these senses is then routed to the thalamus ( a brain structure near the amygdala that acts like an air traffic controller or a
mail sorting station that sorts out incoming sensory signals)
In a non-spontaneous threat situation, the thalamus will direct information received to the appropriate cortex of the brain (such as the visual cortex) which consciously thinks about the impulse, assessing the danger, and making sense of it. This is where the O.O.D.A. loop begin ( Observe, Organize, Decision, Action )
Once a decision has been made as to what to do, the information is then downloaded to the amygdala which creates emotion and action through the body to either perpetuate a physical response or to abort a physical
response

Again, this process takes place in non-spontaneous type situations. This neuro pathway is commonly called the high road. This is the pathway in which most combatives instructors teach too. In other words:

Person throws a right hooking punch which is seen and detected by the visual system
Visual system downloads this stimulus to the thalamus that sorts it and send it to the visual cortex of the brain
Visual cortex using the OODA loop, observes the stimulus, organizes it (right hooking punch), makes a decision as to how to deal with stimulus and then
downloads the response to the amygdala Amygdala then creates emotion and action through the body and the punch is blocked

This is what Siddle and other have called stimulus/ response training. A threat stimulus triggers a trained response is the goal, as long as that trained
response is gross motor based and takes into consideration Hicks Law as mentioned earlier in this article. Siddle has stated, an automatic response to
a specific threat can only occur when the students practice a skill in conjunction with a specific level of threat. For a response to be conditioned or an automatic response, there must be an associated stimulus which triggers the response. Therefore, if a survival motor program is expected to be automatic to a threat in the field, the two must be combined early in the students training Although I do agree that we as instructors should be focusing our training at the development or automatic responses to a specific
threat stimulus, what happens if those trained responses are not congruent with the bodies hardwired response during an unexpected spontaneous assault ?
Does it not make logical sense that we as trainers should teach a physical response that would be congruent with what the brain has preprogrammed itself to do through millions of years of evolution?

Again the answer to this question is a definite yes, and Dr LeDoux has been able to prove scientifically why. Dr. LeDoux has found that frightening stimuli
trigger neuronal responses along dual pathways. The first path is the one mentioned above the High Road.
The second path is known as the low road, and this is the path that the brain WILL follow in a spontaneous surprise attack for survival:

In a spontaneous surprise attack, information received by the thalamus is quickly re-routed to the amygdala bypassing the cortex (the thinking brain in
which OODA is followed) The amygdala immediately sets SSR (autonomic
arousal) into effect with the added benefit of what neuroscientists have called Somatic Reflex Potentiation also commonly known as the startle
circuit or protective reflex ( i.e. an exaggerated startle/flinch response) Other protective reflexes include; sneezing, eye blinking, gag reflex, pulling
away from a pain stimulus, laryngospasm( closing of the airway to prevent water into the lungs) After passing directly through the amygdala which
initiates SSR and Somatic Reflex Potentiation, sensory information is then sent to the cortex. Once the cortex has received this information, the
frightening stimulus is then examined in detail to determine whether or not a real threat exists. Based upon this information, the amygdala will be signaled
either to perpetuate the physical response and deal with the threat or abort action. Because the amygdala is aroused before the cortex can accurately assess the situation, an individual will experience the physical effects of fear even in the case of a false alarm. The low road has already prepared the body for immediate action.


Knowing that the brain has a dual pathway to deal with what I like to call progressive and spontaneous fear stimuli, Dr LeDoux has stated, there are problems associated with the double wiring between the higher cortex and the amygdala. Unfortunately the neural connections from the cortex down to the amygdala are less well developed than are connections from the amygdala back up to the cortex. Thus, the amygdala exerts a greater influence on the cortex than vice versa. Once an emotion has been turned on, it is difficult to exert conscious control over it at will.
What this means to me is that in an unexpected spontaneous attack, if you are training motor skills that are not congruent with what the amygdala will
cause the body to do, more specifically the Somatic Reflex Potentiation no matter how well trained the response, it will be overridden. But many in the
combatives field believe that we can make a trained response the dominant response through repetition and training using stimulus/response training methods. In a high road scenario this will work given SSR issues and Hicks law, but in a low road scenario, the answer will only be yes as long as the motor skill taught is congruent with the automatic protective reflex the amygdala will cause the body to take.

This low road signal system does not convey detailed information about the threat stimulus, but it has the advantage of speed. And in combat speed is of great importance to one facing a threat to their survival. Dr Ledoux pointed out that having a very rapid, if imprecise, method of detecting danger (such is found in the low road pathway) is of high survival value. As Dr. Ledoux has so eloquently stated in several articles that I have researched, Youre better off mistaking a stick for a snake than a snake for a stick.


So what has this research proven to this point in time?

The brain has been hard-wired to deal with the emotion of fear
One pathway is known as the high road in which action can be based on conscious will and thought. This pathway appears to take effect during
progressive types of fear stimuli. Here a combatives student will be able to apply stimulus/response type training using the OODA model having regards to gross motor skills and Hicks Law
A second pathway is known as the low road which is triggered by a spontaneous/ unexpected attack. Here, the brain will take control of the body with an immediate protective reflex (downloaded directly to the brain stem where all of our reflexive responses to danger are stored) , which will override any system of combat that bases its ability on cognitively applying a physical response. This is especially true if the trained response is not congruent with the protective reflex ( this is exactly what I observed in the 1992 video study that I conducted and mentioned earlier in this article)

So what can we as Instructors, coaches, and teacher do to incorporate the most current research in the field of Fear and Survival Skills Training?


Absorb the above noted information and research it yourself
Seek out instructors, coaches, trainers that are using this research in their teaching. You will be surprised that there are few that do. One of the leading pioneers in design and implementation of programs that incorporate this information is Tony Blauer and those associated with his organization in
which I am not a member. Since 1992, the motor skill training programs I teach have also revolved around the principals of the above noted information as well.
Another instructor, Richard Dimitri (Senshido) provides training based upon the above noted information. And of course, Bruce Siddle and his PPCT
management systems is also a leader in the field of psychology of combatives training.
If you can not attend courses from the above mentioned, look at what you are doing in the area of self protection and ask yourself, is my training
congruent with the above noted information, if not change what you are doing
Train on the concept of commonality of technique
The initial plan A strategy that I use in an unexpected spontaneous assault (be it armed or unarmed), is no different than in an attack that I do see coming. Why, because no matter if the brain goes high road or low road, my congruent gross motor skills will work in both paths. This is a definite
tactical advantage. Understand that although the low road reflexive
motor responses cannot be changed, they can be molded to fit a combative motor skill technique that are useable during a spontaneous attack. I use the
Somatic Reflex Potentiation response, which I call penetrate and dominate, in all my programs. Tony Blauer uses the flinch response in his SPEAR system.
Richard Dimitri uses it as well in his training at Senshido
Fortunately, there are methods of reducing fear and inhibiting the fear response (see Siddles 8 steps to management of SSR earlier in this article)


I am not a doctor or Neuroscientist, but I have been studying combatives for the past 14 years. Since 1992, I have been using training techniques based upon the above noted information, not knowing that I was doing so. It was based solely on my empirical research here at the school, and based upon what was happening to officers and civilians in the real world. The information in this post has now solidified my belief that what I am doing in the area of combatives is correct, not only based upon my empirical research over the past 10 years, but as reported above, scientific as well.

The filed of Neuroscience, specific to fear, is constantly evolving. Any true Street combative system or style, should keep abreast of these new
discoveries, and integrate them into training to make their survival skills more street applicable.

Knowledge and the understanding and application of that knowledge is power. Please feel free to pass this information on, but remember give credit where credit is due.


Strength and Honor

Darren Laur
Integrated Street Combatives

References For this Posting:

Bruce Siddle, Sharpening The Warriors Edge The
Psychology and Science Of Training
Lt. Col Dave Grossman, On Killing The Psychological
Cost Of Learning To Kill In War And Society
Dr Doug Holt, The Role Of the Amygdala In fear And
Panic
The Anatomy Of Fear
Michael Davis, The Role Of The Amygdala In Fear And
Anxiety
National Institute Of Mental Health, Lessons From
Fear Conditioning
LeDoux Laboratory, Overview, Emotion, Memory, and
The Brain
Joseph E LeDoux, Memory and Emotion
Laurel Duphiney Edmunson, The Neurobiology Of Fear
Joshua Freedman, Hijacking Of The Amygdala
Society For Neurosciences, Fear And The Amygdala
 
R

RHD

Guest
7starmantis said:
Especially in mantis we do alot of wrist locks, but most are to set up another attack. They work very well.

7sm

I think 7* makes a good point here. Locks work great as a set up for something else. I tell my students that everytime they put on a lock they msut now as themselves the question "and now what?". They either must complete the lock in other word break the joint, or use it to enhance or set up for something else. Holding an opponent in a lock really is only an approach for those who have a need to restrain others (police, corrections officers, etc...), not a good strategy for a fight or self defense situation.
Mike
 
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