Tag Archives: effects of stress

Training Tip

I’m gonna keep this one short. This is just a training drill I used to do to train for physical violence. Any questions or doubts or details you wanna know about, write them down in the comments down below and I’ll answer them.

 

Workout till muscle fatigue (not injury), get tired, get adrenalized, then do scenario training. Don’t wipe off the sweat, don’t hydrate, play loud music or just ambient sounds, dim the lights or turn them off, depending on the context of the scenario you’re gonna do. Make sure, your training partner doesn’t act like one and comply. Make sure the simulated assault is an ambush. Make sure you do it in a confined space with one exit. Train in a car, bus, train, etc. Do it in different terrains and in different seasons at different time of day. Make sure the assault taking place is at least around 60-70% force. (May/will require some sort of training gear). Use weapons. Involve everyday objects. Add multiple threats. Dynamics will change according to the location, and the type of situation you’re training for.

I used to do this (before my injuries) and change it up according to the situation we were training for. If you have injuries that you don’t want to bring back up, I’d recommend you to avoid this training or just tone some of the things down that might make the injuries worse.

Caution: There are side effects of over-working muscles. So, never work till failure or to the point of injury, just till you’re extremely tired and breathing heavily and sweating immensely. Injury just leads to regress, you’ll just waste your time with an injury. Cardio, HIIT workouts can be good before this type of training drill.

Remember, at the end of the day, you’re a civilian and not a professional who deals with violence on a daily basis as a part of your job, so you can avoid majority of the threats and violent situations by staying away from such people who look for an opportunity and a reason to commit violence against others.

 

Well, that’s it. Thanks for reading. Any questions? Write them down in the comments section below.

Women’s Day Seminar.

So in a “short” (wink wink, not really short) article today, I’d like to tell a story of the seminar I did. It was originally 1hr, which got extended to 2 due to me having to explain more than I thought I would and due to my incessant talking when I teach. I always encourage people to ask me questions, even during the session, it just helps me to teach better and provide more info, another reason why it got extended.

So, all was going good, and a participant, told me that they were taught these “simple techniques” to deal with “attackers” in another seminar with a Martial Arts instructor (I think most will see where this is going after reading that) she went through some time ago and she wanted me to teach her some similar ones in 1hr.

Now in my seminars, I focus more on prevention than fighting as it’s a scientific fact that you can’t learn the physical techniques, even gross motor and form neuromuscular pathways by utilizing neuroplasticity in one day in just an hour. You especially can’t learn them and retain them in an adrenalized situation and expect to use them under stress, and if you never practice it again after that day, you can be sure that you will waste time thinking more than you should, rather than acting in the moment.

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So anyway, even though I wanted to yell, I remained calm as an instructor should, and I asked, “Which techniques?” “Can you demonstrate?” “Even just one of them would suffice“ Their answer? “I can’t exactly remember which ones, but there was hitting with hammer (I think she meant hammerfist) and scratching (gouging she meant.. I think) and they were simple” I mean.. what the actual f-word man?! Does this not seem odd to people when they say these things? It’s like they’re brainwashed so badly by these instructors who have never had any experience with actual violence in their whole lives and teach people on how to survive it by looking up some idiotic “safety tips” on the internet via google or maybe their seniors passed some down to them when they were certified as an “expert black belt instructor god” and is a part of the curriculum and then charge a lot of money for it. They are actually blind to these obvious things and misinform people as a result. It’s so sad…

Now in the above example, this was a calm situation in which she couldn’t remember those “simple techniques”, I wonder what would happen in an actual situation where she wouldn‘t even be able to recall her name. Here’s the good thing though, I did explain to her about how the logic is flawed here and she kinda understood, at least I hope she did, for her safety’s sake.

Not to mention I did my infamous “Who here is willing to kill and would be capable of killing another human being up close and personal with a knife?” bit, which of course, the way I describe a stabbing (the way it actually occurs and not the way people think it does, all clean and stuff. See my other articles or posts, or some of my fb posts, I think I‘ve mentioned it once or twice about what happens or at least the gist of it), so, yeah, no one seemed to want to feel metal penetrating skin and human blood spattering across their face.. Huh… go figure.

Oh and the countless imagined “scenarios” that came up today, one after other I kept tearing them down and they kept bringing them up, but bringing up fictional solutions to imagined problems is something that I don’t do. I’m a realist, as you know, if you’ve read my posts or know me personally. So, in the end, logic prevailed and many did grasp the concept of prevention being better than cure.. or prevention being the cure itself (Credit to Barry Drennan from Fairbairn Protocol for that piece of wisdom).

Besides all that prevention training, we also did some situational training, just to give them an idea of how the dynamics would work, in car/cab/taxi services like OLA and UBER, how their systems work and some general common sense tips like seating position in the car, some verbal communication skills, etc.

Anyway, all in all, I think it was a good seminar, I had fun, it looked like the participants had fun too, and as long as they understood even the fundamental concept of what I explained to them, which I think they did, because they said it and repeated it when I asked them a few questions about it, about prevention and why it’s necessary to focus on it, especially when you just have one hour to learn and the fact that you’re not gonna continue training after this hour is over. I really hope they did. I think, overall, I would chalk it up to being a success and good thing that I was able to clear up some misconceptions, and since there were like 60+ women there, I see it as 60x success!

I’m just glad that all the participants were so open-minded and willing to listen, to accept and learn, to let go of any misconceptions, and the fact that they asked questions, is what I loved the most, some of them might’ve been off, but the willingness to ask questions, is the first step, then asking the right questions is next, which many did as well. See I don’t mind if someone doesn’t know something in depth, what I mind is those who aren’t willing to keep an open mind, to accept the fact, that they don’t have all the answers, hey, I don’t, but that’s okay, that’s why we learn, that‘s why we train, that‘s why we ask questions. So I’m really glad I got to do this one today, it really was awesome.

I don’t usually write articles about the seminars I do, but I was possessed by a rant angel and it just spilled out and I did.

Oh and I got this super cool improvised wea…I mean a pen! For the seminar I did! Yay!

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If you’re wondering what’s the point of this article? Well, many points actually;

  1. One about the misconceptions, confusions, misinformation and disinformation in this field.
  2. Another is about people’s dangerous mindsets about what violence actually entails.
  3. Third is the problem of people just forming fictional solutions to problems they create, rather than forming helpful ones that would solve or at least reduce the chances of them becoming a victim of actual threats.
  4. Fourth would be attending a seminar for an hour or two, every three or six months or so, won‘t actually make you proficient in physical combat, especially not under a stressful situation, so rather focus on using some common sense and focus on prevention, especially in a relatively low crime city like Mumbai.
  5. Fifth would be, no one wants to deal with the consequences of using a knife, but still want to learn to use it (irony at its finest).
  6. Sixth would be logic prevails, if people are willing to listen and accept.
  7. Seventh, actuality is different from your truth and reality.
  8. Eight, I talk a lot when I teach.
  9. Ninth, Too much ego in the Martial Arts field. As much as I hate to admit it, it’s too male dominated as well (kinda ironic that I, a male, is writing this, yes, I see the irony here), especially here and not many are willing to admit they’re wrong ever. (Although, not all Martial Artists are that way, I don‘t generalize, ever. And for those rare exceptions, I have the utmost respect, they know what Martial Arts are actually about).
  10. Tenth, I wasn’t criticizing the participants today, they were unbelievably awesome, and willing to ask and learn. What I was criticizing is the number of b.s. information on this subject that’s in this field, mostly propagated by those who claim themselves as experts, but have no shred of idea what violence actually entails (that includes the consequences of it).
  11. Eleventh, when you attend a seminar or a training session claiming to teach self-defense, don’t just blindly accept what the instructor tells you, see if it’s logical, ask them questions to elaborate more, the more you ask, the more you know. Just ask the right questions to get the right answers. See if what they teach makes sense, you don’t deserve to be fooled by a money grubbing scumbag, you deserve the right information, especially if it pertains to your (and your family‘s) safety.
  12. Twelfth, we also discussed that in a male dominated field, most instructors will show you things that pertain to the confrontation types that men come across, not the types of situations that women do.
  13. Thirteenth, as instructors, we are seen as individuals who provide knowledge on how to be safe, it’s our responsibility to deliver the best quality of training that is practical and tailored to the different types of individuals we train.
  14. Finally, fourteenth, all my articles have some sort of a point, even if I have to dig them up out of nothing…(lol not really though, it’s all up there in the post 😉 ).

Well, that’s it. Thanks for reading. I was actually just gonna rant about this on facebook, but it got too long (as usual) so…it became an article…eh..

Happy Women’s Day and Stay Safe, readers (and non-readers)! 🙂

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Training for actuality of violence

When most people, especially instructors are asked whether they train realistically, their answer is usually ‘yes’. But when you see them do their “realistic stuff”, it seems pretty far and out of touch from reality. It seems that their concept of reality is different from the actuality of it.

 

Recently, I asked an individual a simple question, “How, would you say, a real violence training should look?” The individual replied in a very cliched way and went on about how the opponent should come at you aggressively, yelling and stuff, etc. I asked him in return, “Would you see it coming?” He didn’t have a proper answer, but yet tried to say something and ended up saying just “Yes”.

 

Now, here’s the first problem of things with this. Most tend to see these things from a purely physical perspective. Not many seem to focus on the pre-violence situation. No verbal cues, no tonal changes, no physiological changes, no physical positioning, no symptoms of ASR, etc. etc. In fact, most don’t even acknowledge it even exists. Which kinda poses a problem when we are “training for violence”, doesn’t it? I mean if you don’t train to see it coming, what are you preparing for? To get out barely alive and half dead?

 

So, realistic training? What does that entail? Well, if you ask me, the drills should focus more on the pre-violence cues than anything really, physical aspect of it should not be choreographed, no matter how “aggressive” the other guy is, (let’s be honest here, he‘s really not truly angry or aggressive in most cases). Superficial aggression is utterly useless, you don‘t have to kill them, but all of the pseudo aggressive and “hard” movements are nothing but taps in actuality, are you really gonna learn how it feels to get hit by being tapped on your chest? No, you are not.

 

Let’s take a situation here, if I am in a big fancy Martial Arts studio, and I’ve been told to rush and charge this guy in order to demonstrate “the harsh reality of violence”, and I charge at him, but the guy knows I‘m coming, ‘cause, you know, He Told Me To! He‘s READY for his “moves”, there is no sudden jolt to his nervous system, no emotional stress, no adrenaline dump, and I didn’t try to get a rise out of him by calling his mom an individual who asks money for pleasure, not to mention, I‘m not gonna actually make contact here, it‘s gonna be an acting show, a choreography with taps that look “hard”.

 

So my questions are, “Is that really reality?” and “Are we really showing the actuality of it or are we just showing what we think and we want people to think is reality?” I mean in an actual assault or an attack, very rarely people do see it coming, and even when they do, they’re still overwhelmed by the sheer aggression, it’s sudden, our hands are shaking, our legs feel weak, our stomachs are churning and we’re basically too busy crying and asking ourselves questions like, “What the hell is happening?” and “Why the fuck is this happening to me?”

 

I’m pretty sure, that most who just train for their kind of “reality”, where the guy they know is coming, charging at them without any purpose, without thinking about any of the events leading up to the escalation of the situation and violence, that kind of individual will not only, not see the threat coming, but they will crumble under pressure due to the aggressive nature of the actuality and suddenness of violence, as they won‘t see it coming like they did in their fancy studio. Not to mention, fail miserably to deescalate the violence in the first place due to lack of verbal skills necessary to not provoke the guy even further by challenging or insulting him.

 

So, my opinion here is that, the best training is something that encompasses every subject related to violence, which includes not only physical, but verbal, psychological, emotional, biological, societal, moral, consequential, tactical and a very important aspect; Legal.

 

As far as the physical training goes, scenario training is great, but without purpose, it loses it’s purpose, which is to mold your brain to handle and resolve or combat threats if/when you come across them by utilizing our brain’s neuroplasticity. Blindly creating aggressive scenarios without any situational context and escalation, is just inviting more trouble and is not training for the actual thing, it’s just training for more senseless violence. So please, Train street smarts and common sense, rather than senseless violence.

 

Finally, my question to you, the reader; What are you gonna train for? ‘The reality of violence?’ or ‘The actuality of it?’.

 

Well, that’s it. Thank you for reading.

Losing Tail Part – 2

Now continuing from Part-1, I’ll focus on the counter-measures to escape stalkers and certain surveillances as well (similar principles apply).

First, you gotta remember, your stalker is already a step ahead of you, since they know about you. But you on the other hand, have yet to identify them. So you can’t afford to fall behind in this chase or you’ll lose before you can take action.

What do I mean by “fall behind”? Well, for one, be observant (More on Observation below) rather than living in your own world where everyone ceases to exist besides your phone and pokemon apps. That’s a good place to start.

So! Let’s begin with the list now, mmkay?

 

Observation

Like I said, being observant of not only your surroundings but also the people in your surroundings is the first step in losing someone who is following you, without this you‘re never gonna know anything about anyone who‘s watching you, effectively making you lose the battle before it begins. Keep your eyes and ears open and your mind clear, keep calm, not paranoid, learn to notice the little details in your environment, study the normal behavior of people around you, so you can pick up the abnormal behavior with relative ease.

 

Identification

If you’re observant in your day-to-day life, you will be able to pick off odd behaviors from people. Why? It’s simple, while you have been observing people, your brain has been doing more than just observing them, it has been studying the behavioral patterns of average individuals who walk past you everyday. It has been picking up on subtle and obvious behaviors and physical cues that people who go about their businesses normally have. Your brain is familiar with how an individual acts when they’re not a threat. So, if you do come across a stalker, their behavioral pattern will stand out to you as odd and unnatural, which would make you aware of the presence of a possible threat. Now, another thing, whenever you want to turn around to look at your stalker, don’t. There have been many who recommend using a reflective surface to view the stalker, yes, that’s old school stuff, works many times, I don’t question it, but the thing is, we live in 2016, almost everyone have smart phones with HD cams on them, even on the front for “selfies” and stuff, so use ‘em, yeah? That way, you won’t have to try and find a (barely) reflective surface to try and find a stalker who’s probably really good at hiding and look even more unnatural than the stalker following you. But since everyone has their heads in their phones, you being one of them would look much more natural, just turn on the camera, turn it towards you, get it to your face level and look and/or take a picture to confirm the identity of the stalker and to show to the police later. Some also tell you to sit down and look at people, well, yeah, that can work, but again, it depends on the kind of stalker you’re dealing with. In certain cases, you’d just be giving the stalker the opportunity to close the distance between them and you, I mean you don’t know why they’re after you, do you now. You don’t want to leave anything to chance during the identification process (or any other process really). So, keep moving. Now in this day and age, there are CCTV cameras everywhere, well, use them, try walking past a camera or two to catch the stalker’s face, if they’re not wearing something that covers it or in some cases, they’re smart enough to not walk past it, but take another route. Anyway, it’s worth a shot, so you can tell the police about it and they can get to the location of the camera that captured the stalker in action and identify the perp for an arrest. Nothings off the table, especially if the situation demands it. Just assess the situation first and then act accordingly. Which requires a lot of psychological training and experience helps as well. Remember, doing it and reading about it are two very different things. Moving on…

 

Distraction

Next, after you have identified the threat, you have to formulate a strategy to lose the stalker. How do you lose them? Well, you make them take their focus off of you or at least make them focus on something else for a while. How do you do that? That depends on the situation you’re in at the time. Improvisational skills come in handy during this process. For example, if you see a police officer, walk up to them and ask for directions, but make sure the stalker isn’t within the hearing range of you, that way, all they’ll see is you talking to a police officer. Which will slow them down, create doubt in their minds about why you would spontaneously talk to an officer. Of course, you can just report the stalker by pointing directly at them and be like…“He did it!!! He’s the stalker!!!” But here’s the (sort of) down side to that. Doing that, would most likely alert the stalker, making them flee, if they‘re at a distance from you and the officer, they‘ll most likely escape successfully. Sure, you will be temporarily free, but they will be more prepared next time, and if the stalker is persistent, you can be sure, they‘ll be more careful so as to not be spotted and more alert of your “moves“ and observational capabilities. Once they know that you know, the element of surprise is not in your favor now. Next…

 

Confusion

Confusion is a part of distraction, the distraction should be enough of an attention grabber that it confuses the stalker. After their focus has been taken off you, putting it back on you would be hard especially if you’ve already started moving. You could either lose them in the crowd or at a corner or in a building or at a shop in a shopping mall, you can lose virtually anyone by cleverly timing it and using objects or people that block the stalker‘s view of their target (you).

 

Opportunity

The confusion is the part where your opportunity is created for you to escape. Before initiating your distraction and creating confusion for the stalker, you need to have an exit strategy prepared. A low profile, but effective exit strategy. Don’t start looking for an exit after the distraction and/or during the confusion or it will just backfire and chances are, you won’t be able escape, instead will return to the previous situation with the stalker still on you. This time they’ll be much more careful not to lose you, especially considering the fact that they almost did and now they know that you’re someone who knows about them, who knows what they’re doing and someone who cannot be underestimated. Remember, if you lose the element of surprise the first time, there usually is no second chance. Lightning doesn’t strike twice in one place, at least not always.

 

Action

Finally comes the action, now by action I don’t mean find the guy and stalk him back then “kick his ass” for stalking you. You’re not Jason Bourne for heaven’s sake! Nope. So stop trying to be. ‘Action’ is you getting home, calling the police, reporting the stalker, identify the stalker if you can, or at least give a rough description. Or you can also get to a police station directly, to report the stalker in person. Then get home immediately, possibly after checking that you’re not still being followed (yes, there have been cases where the victims were followed by the stalker from a police station, even after they were reported, some are that persistent/daring/stupid/desperate). Then take a taxi or other similar service like Uber or Ola (if you‘re in my country here) rather than a bus or train, wait for the car in the police station until it arrives or stay hidden in a public place (if you didn‘t go to the police station first).
If you’re in doubt of still being followed, (Remember I said doubt, not paranoid) then make sure you ask the driver to drive around your area for a minute or two, see if someone’s following your driving pattern before you get to your destination (house or office). Oh and please, don’t try and confront the stalker like, “Leave me alone you BASTARD!!! I’M NOT SCARED OF YOU!!!” No. Absolutely not. That’s a biiig NO! That’ll be you giving away the fact that you know about their existence. Remember, they shouldn’t know that you know about them till they’re caught or they‘ll escape or become more dangerous and aggressively make their move on you, their target.
Another thing, never try to lure them into a secluded place for what you think would be an “ambush”, even if you have called the police or your friend or someone, things can go real wrong real fast in a matter of seconds. Remember, you’re not Jason Bourne and THIS IS NOT A MOVIE. They might have accomplices, they may have set up an ambush for you instead. They could have weapons or toxic/acidic chemicals. They may want to kidnap you and take you to a second location, which would be an easy thing to do in a secluded place.
Try remaining in a public place where it’s not too crowded and not too secluded, you should see them coming and so should the individuals around you, if the stalker intends to stab you subtly, then over-crowded places with people distracted or excited or focused on something else, places like over-crowded clubs with low lighting, for example, could work to the stalker’s advantage, not yours. But places like a fairly crowded public park or a fairly crowded street in broad daylight could work in your favor of losing them or creating a distraction and confusion, for you to escape.

 

Final Thoughts

You can practice the above process in your daily life, especially the observational part. It helps a lot if you notice the little things around you. Plus, it’s good for the development of your cognitive abilities.
You see, the thing about stalking is often it’s more psychologically damaging than physically. It happens more commonly than most think. Sometimes, it’s subtle, sometimes, it’s painfully obvious. Whether it’s done officially or illegally, stalking/surveillance, if done enough, it can torment the target more than any other kind of physical torture.
Certain stalking methods can be excruciatingly painful for the target. Especially because they can’t report it, as either there is no physical evidence of it happening or all evidence, if any, is circumstantial. So, stalking is not a matter to be taken as a low-threat act. It’s actually one of the more effective ways to break, scare and manipulate a potential target. Training to avoid being a victim of stalking requires more psychological training than anything else. Train your mind to be strong and resilient and you won’t break down under pressure nor will you have to use your fists, you will come out on top, because you will learn to go toe-to-toe with your tormentor, that is, if you can’t stay ahead of them.

 

So, Finally! That’s it, this is the end of the ‘Losing Tail’ articles.

I hope you found the information useful. I tried my best to get the info packed in both of them. Any additional comments are welcome… and, as usual, Thanks for reading!

Effects of Adrenal Stress on a human body

When a situation occurs that causes panic and shock, the human body experiences a state of being called the ‘Adrenal Stress Response’. During that time, our body undergoes drastic changes to help us warn and adapt to the situation so we can act/react accordingly to it, in order to survive.

 

There are a lot of things going on during that time, they happen simultaneously on a cellular basis. The sympathetic nervous system stimulates the fight or flight response. It is definitely a long and complicated list. Down below I’m writing down a shorter version of that list;

 

Here are some of the effects on a human body that is under adrenal stress;

  • Blurry vision
  • Tunnel vision
  • Distorted Hearing
  • Shaky hands
  • Profuse Sweating
  • Rapid heart beat
  • Heavy breathing
  • Pit in the Stomach (due to metabolism slowing down during fight or flight response)
  • Numbness in the extremities
  • Lack of/Minimal use of coordination and fine motor movements
  • Fear and panic causes impulse and instinct based thinking from the reptilian brain – basal ganglia, rather than emotion-based from the paleomammalian – limbic brain or logic-based from the neomammalian brain – neocortex.
  • Weak/Trembling knees
  • Physical Temperature drop (due to blood draining from unnecessary parts of the body to provide extra blood/oxygen supply for actions during fight or flight response)
  • Time distortion
  • Extreme psychological stress due to the release of 4 major stress hormones; Epinephrine, Norepinephrine, Cortisol and Cortisone.
  • Many have also been known to void their bladders and/or bowels during highly stressful situations.
  • Many lose sense of direction. That’s why many who go through extremely stressful situations, can’t remember their names or tell left from right, if asked in the moment.

 

There are also certain after-effects of such situations. Some of these are temporary but some of them last quite a long time, this depends on factors such as the psychological resilience of the individual and/or the level of threat of the situation they’re in.

 

The effects are as follows;

  • Paranoia and Continued Fear
  • Trembling limbs
  • Chronic Psychological trauma
  • Fever
  • Reclusive behavior
  • Loss of confidence
  • Loss of or distorted short-term memory, especially the exact details of the situation.

 

These are just some of the changes and effects that a human body undergoes during and after a traumatic event. The event that causes stress, doesn’t necessarily have to be violence-related, it can be any situation that would cause enough trauma via psychological or physical means, resulting in the body’s reaction to it.

 

An example of this would be someone who has been in a car accident or someone who’s had a strong, aggressive verbal argument with someone  or an individual who’s just been on a roller-coaster for the first-time (this is a very low level of stress caused by the hormone; Adrenaline).

 

The effects mostly wear off after 30-60 minutes due to the parasympathetic nervous system activating  back again and “reversing” – (it’s technically not reversing, but just restoring the body to it’s natural resting state) – the effects of the sympathetic nervous system’s actions during the fight or flight response.

The effects of stress vary for different individuals in different situations, the effects are also based on the levels of stress caused to the individual. For example, someone who has been on a roller-coaster won’t be traumatized for life, unless they have acrophobia of course. But someone who has just been rescued from a blazing building will experience some sort of trauma and might even develop a phobia of fire (pyrophobia) if they don’t seek help after the event.

These effects can be reduced, but not erased, they’re a part of us, no matter how much you train or experience them on a daily basis, they will kick in when you’re in a stressful situation. It’s evolutionary biology. But as I said, training and/or experiencing them regularly can help reduce those effects so as to not let them overwhelm you when you least expect them to.

 

You cannot control that state of mind and body, but you sure can train and condition yourself to function competently with moderate effectiveness under those conditions to ensure your survival, possibly others survival as well, and save yourself from a long lasting psychological trauma.

 

This topic is actually a very vast subject of study, but I tried my best to compress as much as I could in one article to provide as much information as possible. Hope you liked reading it and find it useful. Thanks for reading.