Friday, December 15, 2006

Training to Use the Adrenaline Dump

You’re faced with a dangerous threat from the bad guy in front of you.

Your fight or flight instinct kicks in and your body begins a process that you are entirely powerless to resist:

1. You turn to face the threat squarely;
2. Both eyes focus on the threat, sometimes literally creating “tunnel vision”;
3. You experience “auditory exclusion” where your hearing diminishes;
4. You begin to crouch to make yourself a smaller target;
5. You start to back up to create distance;
6. Blood flows away from your extremities to your core organs and large muscle groups;
7. Chemical changes in your blood prepare it to coagulate more readily;
8. Your heartbeat increases dramatically;
9. Your fine motor skills diminish causing you to fumble with the simplest of tasks like putting your keys in a lock.

You cannot stop this process. To react properly, you need to train enough and practice enough that your skills do not drop off as quickly as someone who is untrained.

It is also helpful to make sure that you do not misinterpret this type of “adrenaline dump” as “fear”. Yes, your brain is telling you that you are “scared” and it is beginning to prepare you for combat with some of the most powerful natural chemicals available to the body. Your arms will feel like wood. Your stomach will be fluttering. Your legs may be trembling. Your mouth will be dry.

With training, this isn’t a signal to dread – it’s a signal to treasure.

But to get there, your training needs to be as realistic as possible. It should prepare you so that you “are not surprised when you are surprised”. You should practice “what to do when you don’t know what to do”.

Victims often report that they were stunned to realize that they had no idea what to do next.

Remember the Crime Triangle: Criminal + Victim + Opportunity = Crime.

You are not a victim. You are a hunter and this attacker is now triggering your rehearsed and trained responses. The late Col. Jeff Cooper said you were well-prepared when the attacker was in more danger when attacking you than you were of being attacked.

Train hard, train smart.


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