The Adrenal Effect And What The Techniques Are Supposed To Teach.

MJS

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This thread is in response to comments that were made by Chris Parker and LuckyKboxer, in another thread in this section. To avoid too much drift in that other thread, I'm starting this thread, so that we can discuss what I believe were two issues that seemed to be the focal point:

1) The effects of adrenaline on the body.

2) What the techs. in the system are really teaching you.

Hopefully, if I was wrong in the way I was reading their posts, Chris and Lucky will make the necessary corrections here. But, hopefully this thread will get the ball rolling. :)
 

Touch Of Death

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One thing techs teach is to move from point of origin, which you may or may not remeber to do during an adrenalin rush.
Sean
 

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... oh and techniques are based on logic; so, you are training your return motion check the threat. For instance, in delayed sword your strike returns to the opposite shoulder, because that is where the threat occurs.
Sean
 

Chris Parker

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Hi,

First off, let's take a look at what the effects of adrenaline are.

Adrenaline has a number of uses, primarily as a survival attribute. It is designed, primarily, to make you faster, stronger, and feel less pain. It's there so we can absorb damage, and dish out punishment if needed, or escape. As a result, it acts to shut down any aspect not directly related to immediate survival, and one of the first things to go are the higher functions of the brain. What you get left with is what some refer to as the Lizard, or Reptilian Brain, concerned only with survival (eat, sleep, run, fight, breath). Above that is the Mamalian Brain, giving emotional content and context, and then the Conscious Brain, giving rational thought, logic, sense of self etc. So anything that requires decision making, remembering techniques, or a sense of logic are out of place in a high adrenaline situation.

This comes out in the following ways:
- A higher threshold for pain
- More energy sent to the fast-twitch fibres, allowing for faster actions and movement
- More energy sent to your muscles, allowing for greater strength
- A focus on the senses required, which means that your vision tunnels, your hearing muffles in order to remove distractions, and more
- You lose the ability to perform fine motor or complex motor actions, leaving gross-motor only
- You lose the ability to form sentences
- You lose the ability to cognitively think things through.

This is not a complete list, but does go through some of the major things that need to be taken into consideration if looking at something being applicable in an actual self defence situation. What I want to emphasise, though, is that this is a high-adrenaline state. It is not a "twinge" of adrenaline, it is not the same as the adrenaline encountered and experienced in competition or sparring. Due to the environment (knowing that you will be involved in the sparring, or competition, for example) you simply don't get the same adrenal responce. You often still have a number of higher brain functions, for example, although other aspects remain (losing fine-motor skills in the main, amongst others).

So the question then becomes what are the techniques teaching, especially those that go against the way the body actually works under adrenaline (those with fine motor or complex motor skills involved)? Well, it's my belief that these are designed to teach other lessons, such as strategies and tactics, teaching control over yourself and an opponent, increasing co-ordination and hand-eye co-ordination, aiding targeting and precision, and so on. What they are never about is consciously remembering any of them for an encounter, mainly as such an encounter can never be predicted, and if you stop to "remember" what to do, you've already been hit. In the other thread we looked at other potential lessons out of the multiple opponent techniques, as the attacks and responces were rather unrealistic. So I feel that they are there for reasons that go beyond practical defensive techniques.

If we look at the mentioned technique above (Delayed Sword - and I'll beg your forgiveness if I picked a version that doesn't represent what is refered to as that technique, but it's hopefully a good enough representation), the lessons there are again far from pragmatic (although it certainly has quite a number of highly pragmatic aspects to it).

The version I looked to is this:

[yt]J1a2ouwv1kM[/yt]

I tend to look at things like this as expressions of strategies, which are then represented by the technique itself. Here, the strategies are simple:
- Evade the attack and gain distance
- Counter out of the opponents distance
- Finish with a powerful strike to a target you set up with the first counter.

There's more, obviously, but I feel that's it in a nutshell. So why do I say it's unrealistic? Well, the attack is stylised and singular, and there isn't enough of a disruption to get the kick in. Does that mean it won't work? Not at all, it could very easily work, and certainly would in it's application there. It's a very solid technique. To take the effects of adrenaline into account, though, as well as make it a "street" defense technique, a few changes would need to happen. The precise targeting needs to be "opened up", the attacks need to be more modern boxing based punches, or big loping haymaker-style attacks, the finishing strike needs to be looking purely at a knockout (which it has the potential to already be, so that's going to need the least change), and so on. Then it needs to be trained under some form of adrenaline to ensure that it can be used that way. You'll probably find that once actual adrenaline is added in, the execution of the technique changes rather dramatically.
 
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Another aspect of training is that it (hopefully) changes when your adrenaline is likely to kick into overdrive, by allowing yourself to be partially inured to stimuli that might have caused an adrenaline flood before training.

Through repetition, for instance, you become accustomed to seeing a punch coming towards you to the point where your lizard brain stops going "Aaaarrrgghhhh!" (even when it's thrown by a training partner who isn't trying to hurt you) and instead you're able to remain calm and use the techniques you've learned (including the fine motor control techniques).

Obviously, there are still situations which will make your adrenaline flow, but I think many of the fine motor techniques are there for exactly the situations in which we can remain calm even when a threat is displayed.

This may also be the basis behind concepts like "Mushin" (mind of no mind); being able to move through techniques (preferably beyond a haymaker punch) without your conscious mind being employed, specifically to counter the adrenaline rush. Easy to talk about, difficult to achieve, especially when the stakes are high.
 

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If we look at the mentioned technique above (Delayed Sword - and I'll beg your forgiveness if I picked a version that doesn't represent what is refered to as that technique, but it's hopefully a good enough representation), the lessons there are again far from pragmatic (although it certainly has quite a number of highly pragmatic aspects to it).

The version I looked to is this:

[yt]J1a2ouwv1kM[/yt]

I tend to look at things like this as expressions of strategies, which are then represented by the technique itself. Here, the strategies are simple:
- Evade the attack and gain distance
- Counter out of the opponents distance
- Finish with a powerful strike to a target you set up with the first counter.

There's more, obviously, but I feel that's it in a nutshell. So why do I say it's unrealistic? Well, the attack is stylised and singular, and there isn't enough of a disruption to get the kick in. Does that mean it won't work? Not at all, it could very easily work, and certainly would in it's application there. It's a very solid technique. To take the effects of adrenaline into account, though, as well as make it a "street" defense technique, a few changes would need to happen. The precise targeting needs to be "opened up", the attacks need to be more modern boxing based punches, or big loping haymaker-style attacks, the finishing strike needs to be looking purely at a knockout (which it has the potential to already be, so that's going to need the least change), and so on. Then it needs to be trained under some form of adrenaline to ensure that it can be used that way. You'll probably find that once actual adrenaline is added in, the execution of the technique changes rather dramatically.
I'm glad that you thought it was unrealistic. I think that this particular technique demonstrates the problem of 'sport' karate taking over from the original SD version. In this video the attacker moves in with one punch, leaves his hand out and when his attack is stopped makes no further move. Realistic in real life? I think not. In a realistic situation, as Chris said, the attacker's punch is more likely to be a haymaker. (If it was to be a straight punch from someone with a bit of boxing experience it would likely be preceded by a jab or chest poke.)
I disagree with the step back to make distance. This makes the attacker aware that his target has changed position and he will move straight in. What next? Move back again? Eventually you will be caught because you can't retreat backwards as fast as your attacker can close. If you want to make distance you would move to the side. Moving to the side against a straight punch makes sense as the attack is deflected, not stopped, your attacker is closed so you are not in danger of a punch from his left hand and he can't kick. From this position you can take out his legs with a kick to his knee and finish with a strike to the side of the head. Another thing with stepping back to make distance. If he can't hit me, I can't hit him either. My option then is to disengage or I have to enter and risk being hit.

In reality, with a haymaker, you would move inside utilising the flinch response, possibly bring up a knee then strike to the neck or temple. In this scenario, even if the second punch is on its way, it will never arrive. In this scenario there are no fine motor skills required, it is all gross motor skill. The training here is to attack when attacked and not move back. (You can still move in to the side if appropriate.) This is totally the opposite to all the tournament training we used to do and the reason that I have dropped it from my training. I teach my people to move in, not back, and that involves change of mindset and takes a lot of training.
 

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I'm glad that you thought it was unrealistic. I think that this particular technique demonstrates the problem of 'sport' karate taking over from the original SD version. In this video the attacker moves in with one punch, leaves his hand out and when his attack is stopped makes no further move. Realistic in real life? I think not. In a realistic situation, as Chris said, the attacker's punch is more likely to be a haymaker. (If it was to be a straight punch from someone with a bit of boxing experience it would likely be preceded by a jab or chest poke.)
I disagree with the step back to make distance. This makes the attacker aware that his target has changed position and he will move straight in. What next? Move back again? Eventually you will be caught because you can't retreat backwards as fast as your attacker can close. If you want to make distance you would move to the side. Moving to the side against a straight punch makes sense as the attack is deflected, not stopped, your attacker is closed so you are not in danger of a punch from his left hand and he can't kick. From this position you can take out his legs with a kick to his knee and finish with a strike to the side of the head. Another thing with stepping back to make distance. If he can't hit me, I can't hit him either. My option then is to disengage or I have to enter and risk being hit.

In reality, with a haymaker, you would move inside utilising the flinch response, possibly bring up a knee then strike to the neck or temple. In this scenario, even if the second punch is on its way, it will never arrive. In this scenario there are no fine motor skills required, it is all gross motor skill. The training here is to attack when attacked and not move back. (You can still move in to the side if appropriate.) This is totally the opposite to all the tournament training we used to do and the reason that I have dropped it from my training. I teach my people to move in, not back, and that involves change of mindset and takes a lot of training.
Most big people rush in to avoid getting hit; so, its not that hard to train.
Sean
 
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MJS

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I dont believe that he currently runs the program anymore, but I think this is a very good example of the adrenal stress conditioning. IMO though, I dont think that you need the course (although it would be helpful to those that're unfamiliar with that type of training) in order to implement this into regular class room training.

As for the clip...looks like I gotta wait until I get home to view it, as YT is on on the no-no list at work. LOL. But since you mentioned Delayed Sword, I will comment on the tech itself. While I have done this tech off of a punch, its usually off of a right hand lapel grab. As for the type of punch used...against a haymaker, my preference is of course to step in, usually doing a simultaneous block and counter strikes. Against a straight punch, I prefer to move forward and to the outside. I'd imagine that moving back, while its potentially dangerous if you move straight back vs. on an angle, this could appear, in the eyes of a witness, that you were on the defense.

What are the techs teaching? Well, IMHO, I view the techs as a base or foundation to build off of. They teach one possible way of defending against an attack. Now, as with anything that we learn, I feel that it should be learned, initially, slow, everything going according to plan, so that the student gets the basic idea of whats being taught. Of course, as time goes on, things should be done faster, adding in more resistance, pressure, and of course things should be changed, ie: the punches should be boxing oriented, ie: a cross instead of a step thru punch, the other hand of the attacker should come into play, ie: another punch, trying to grab the person, etc.

Now, some Kenpo people seem to want to stick with the techs, so when something goes wrong with the initial thing they do, they graft into another Kenpo tech. Personally, I'm not a fan of this, because things will be going too fast. Why sit and try to think of another tech, when you should just be responding to whats happening to you at the moment?

My teacher has padded up and randomly attacked me, which allowed a) some adrenal conditioning due to me not knowing what attacks were coming, b) giving me the chance to hit back harder. IMO, I feel that one of the goals is to be able to formulate your own response, while still keeping the Kenpo principles with what you do.
 

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Hey guys,

Nomad, it's more a matter of the training teaching and aiding in you handling that adrenal dump, not holding back what triggers it. Honestly, I'd rather have it triggered when needed, rather than held back, after all in a serious situation being stronger, faster, and feeling less pain are pretty good things! Of course, limiting the less-ideal aspects (tunnel vision for example) is one big reason to train with adrenaline. The way we do it is to deliberately trigger an adrenal surge, and then work on supressing the emotional responce to it, focus on our peripheral vision, and so on, training the techniques. The concept of Mushin is not avoiding, or even delaying the effects of adrenaline, it is handling the effects of it. But your absolutely right about it being easier said than done....

K-man, honestly the moving back for a kick isn't unrealistic, it's a rather sound tactic. The way it's done here isn't the best (taking too long with too many movements), but it's still a sound tactic. I'd kick as I was moving back, (step back with your left leg out of range, and kick to the knee with your lead
leg as you check/block with your right hand) as an interrupting action. The idea of moving to a kicking range against a striking attacker has a lot of merit to it....​
 

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Hey guys,

Nomad, it's more a matter of the training teaching and aiding in you handling that adrenal dump, not holding back what triggers it. Honestly, I'd rather have it triggered when needed, rather than held back, after all in a serious situation being stronger, faster, and feeling less pain are pretty good things! Of course, limiting the less-ideal aspects (tunnel vision for example) is one big reason to train with adrenaline. The way we do it is to deliberately trigger an adrenal surge, and then work on supressing the emotional responce to it, focus on our peripheral vision, and so on, training the techniques. The concept of Mushin is not avoiding, or even delaying the effects of adrenaline, it is handling the effects of it. But your absolutely right about it being easier said than done....

What I meant was that training changes how you assess how real a danger is. Something that might have caused a massive adrenaline dump before training may not be as big a threat since you've seen similar things countless times on the mat, so you're able to stay calm and deal with it intelligently (and often with less violence than may otherwise occur). So it's more a matter of threat assessment.

Absolutely, when you need the adrenaline dump it's very handy, but it certainly helps to also become accustomed to some of the less advantageous aspects of it as well.
 

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I think we're both interpretting the same thing differently here....

The effect of training will change the way you view things in terms of what is dangerous or not, but I feel it'll actually go the opposite way. Without training, especially in the awareness aspects of self defence training, people tend to be more oblivious to the actual dangers around them, rather than going through life more scared and likely to experience major surges in adrenaline at the slightest thing. As you train, you start to see where danger actually is, when it's present where you may not have noticed it before (we can all think of a friend who maybe put themself in a dangerous situation without knowing it, yeah? Talking to the wrong guys girlfriend, telling said guy to get lost, asking him what he's going to do about it....), whereas the trained individual can see the pre-fight indicators, the clothing starting to be loosened, the weight shifting back and forth...

Now, obviously this doesn't mean that the trained individual is going around, paranoid that danger lurks in every dark corner, but they are more aware of where it is. This, I feel, is the threat assessment that you were talking about, yeah? But the distinction should be made here between a panic attack from an untrained person and a real adrenaline surge.

Really, what's needed is not to "put off" the adrenaline surge as you are more used to being attacked, and therefore don't get adrenalised, it's to train with adrenaline in order to be able to handle it, and that gets progressively better and better.

Really, a true adrenaline surge cannot be controlled, and nor would you want it to be. If you don't get one, you're most likely a sociopath or psychopath, and that's not a good thing. The adrenaline experienced in training, in sparring, rolling etc, is not the same as a serious adrenaline surge in a real assault, so being able to stay calm there and thinking that's the same as controlling an adrenal surge isn't quite right.
 

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K-man, honestly the moving back for a kick isn't unrealistic, it's a rather sound tactic. The way it's done here isn't the best (taking too long with too many movements), but it's still a sound tactic. I'd kick as I was moving back, (step back with your left leg out of range, and kick to the knee with your lead
leg as you check/block with your right hand) as an interrupting action. The idea of moving to a kicking range against a striking attacker has a lot of merit to it....​


Sorry Chris. We'll have to agree to disagree. I don't mind moving to the side and kicking, but moving straight back in a real attack will get you killed. The chance of an effective kick, when a determined attacker is rushing you, is too risky for me. I try to avoid low percentage options.​
 

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Ha, not to be argumentative, but we actually agree more than disagree!

Moving back will eventually end badly, no two ways about it. However, especially when we are looking at the effects of adrenaline, one of the things that happens is that you will move along what is refered to as the Primal Line (straight forward and back), with a "fright", or "flinch" responce tending to make you move straight back (initially, at least. Once you've done that, you may start to settle into the situation and start to control the adrenaline effects, and start to move off-line). And if you are going to take advantage of that, a kick to interupt is a good tactic. JKD and Wing Chun both use it, for instance, refering to it as a Stop Kick, using it against both punching and kicking attacks.

So ideally, if you can, move off-line in order to counter, however under adrenaline, moving back will be the most likely immediate action. If they're coming in with a rush-tackle type of attack, then there are other ways of interupting in order to use a kick, but against a punching attack, a kick is quite a good option, as it keeps you out of the range of the strike, can be hard to see, and hard to avoid, has good stopping power, buys you the time to move in and counter-strike, and more. If done well, it can be a very high-percentage action (which is what I prefer as well!).
 

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So ideally, if you can, move off-line in order to counter, however under adrenaline, moving back will be the most likely immediate action. If they're coming in with a rush-tackle type of attack, then there are other ways of interupting in order to use a kick, but against a punching attack, a kick is quite a good option, as it keeps you out of the range of the strike, can be hard to see, and hard to avoid, has good stopping power, buys you the time to move in and counter-strike, and more. If done well, it can be a very high-percentage action (which is what I prefer as well!).
Mmm!
 

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When the train is coming, get off the tracts. IMO, of course, I prefer to not lift my leg when moving back, except to step. After the initial step back, to gap distance, my lead leg will move to the outside, provided they are still coming. From my new vantage point, 45 degrees and outside, it is strikes and take downs. At this stage, kicks are at a minimum, and used only to assist in the take down. If on the other hand they decide to step in with a punch, and pose after their one shot, then a low kick in as I return to my striking distance. Of course all the above is hypothetical, and only usable if the proper training was done before hand, so I don’t waste time, trying to think this all out, during the heat of battle.:asian:

I also like Chris Parker's take on "it's more a matter of the training teaching and aiding in you handling that adrenal dump". This is where the rubber meets the road, because without this, all other training goes out the window, very fast.
 
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