Monday, October 4, 2010

Artificial Combat Stress Continued

Ok so we discussed the effects of combat stress on your body (Heart Rate around 170 bpm).  That can be simulated through exercise.  But that is not true combat stress.  Combat stress also includes all the fight or flight chemicals pumping through your blood.  How to you simulate chemical induced stress in order to become more accustomed to it (stress inoculation)?  Before we get into that lets use some examples of chemical induced stress.  Have you ever felt your heart pounding in your chest with out physical activity?  Were you at the top of your game at that time?  Here is an example I think all the fellas can relate to.  You ever ask a pretty girl out on a date?  Was your heart pounding?  Did you lose fine motor skill – like say in the muscles in your mouth?  Your plan may have been something like this: Hi Sally, there is a dance on Friday.  I was wondering if you would like to go with me.  Now by the time you ask a girl out you probably have 12 or more year experience in speaking.  In fact you have been speaking several hours a day every day of the week.  How many can say they train that much in their martial art?  The actual application of your plan (speaking + chemical stress) went something like this:
Sally, dance me go pretty Friday smell good you are girl I have car dance you go me?  Not exactly on top of your game.  Hopefully you didn’t puke on her. 

[ Side note my brother, a state champion wrestler, used to  puke before every match.  Perfectly natural fight or flight mechanism, but scary if you don’t expect it. ]

However as you got used to it (stress inoculation) you got better at it (able to get by with your level of training in a body and brain juiced with stress chemicals).  My point being is training has to occasionally artificially induce combat stress so you can get used to it.  Now this will never be the same as the real thing but you will perform better during the real thing if you know what to expect and are not scared / caught off guard by the changes in your body and brain.  That is one of the reasons I like formal kyu / dan testing.  Far too often grading has become a cash cow (testing fees = $$$$).  But for legitimate reasons forcing students to perform under pressure with consequences is one small example of stress inoculation.  If a student chokes and can’t perform in front of Sensei or a crowd, how are they going to perform when someone is trying to hurt / rape / kill them?

So have tests that mean something.  Prepare your students for these tests.  If they fail they fail better to fail in the Dojo then in combat.  Do not pass them if they fail!!! You are not doing them any favors.  Work on stress inoculation so they can pass next time and actually learn something of value besides physical techniques.  If they quit because they did not pass they won’t respond to quality training anyway and would be more comfortable at a school where you can buy rank.  That will give you more time to spend on your students that want to learn.  If you are afraid of students quitting because that lowers your income you should re-evaluate why and what you teach

1 comment:

  1. We are a family oriented martial arts organization, we can't hurt the feelings of our students...too many dojos seem to follow this route these days. I remember reading some place that it use to be a common practice during grading in the "old days" to ask the students to start a kata facing the "wrong way" or to start it with the other limb - that ought to have led to some stress.