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Fear, Stress, Nerves, Anxiety, Adrenalin, Self-Consciousness and Choking are all part of Martial Arts training

Written by Bob. Posted in Black Belt Research Project 2013, Self Defence


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Black Belt Grading Project 2013

Bob Wilson

My grading project comprises the challenging issues of Fear, Anxiety, Adrenalin, Self Consciousness and Choking which are all part of Martial Arts training. In order to bring the topic to life and to ensure that what I write is entertaining I will base my topic around two characters who find themselves in a scenario anyone could be subject to and we’ll look at what is going on both physically, mentally and how one of the characters’ Martial Arts training helps them both in the situation.

I intend to look in depth at how the body naturally reacts to Fear, Stress and Anxiety and valium also what Adrenaline would do in a self defence scenario. I’m going to try and present full facts and not dress up the reality – for this I make no apology. As we go through the reports more information will come to light that will hopefully change views on how this initial scenario is seen.

 

To set the scene I thought I would look at a scenario and then later on we can break down certain parts further. 

Tony and Rachel are a couple in their late 20’s/early 30’s who have known each other for many years but recent started seeing each other. Tony is a Fudge Packer in a local Confectionary Warehouse and Rachel works in the Leisure and Tourism industry. Over text messages they decide that on Saturday night they will hop on a train and go to a nearby town. Whilst there they go for a few drinks and around 1 am decide to catch the last train home. On walking to the train station they encounter 3 men who stop Tony and ask if he has any spare change, he politely declines at which point the lead youth says ‘I’ll take your phones then…’.

 

So Let’s pause the scenario there and see what’s happened so far. Tony’s been studying Karate for almost 4 years and knows that self-protection begins when you leave the house not when you encounter a potential problem, his martial arts training has also opened his eyes to the possibility of dangers so as he is out of his own area and taking a lady out he is aware this type of situation was possible and to give himself the best chance he deliberately hasn’t had a lot to drink. He is also acutely aware that the last comment, ‘I’ll take your phone then…’ has changed the situation from one of three lads simply asking for some change etc to one of a potential street robbery where both he and Rachel are now potentially in danger. He has no idea if anyone is carrying a weapon.

Back to the scenario and Tony replies ‘No, mate – You’re not having our phones, we’ve had a good night and I need to get onto the platform, excuse me’. As he goes to walk past, the 1st male starts to become agitated and aggressive. He pushes Tony back shouts at him ‘Give me your phone!!’ all whilst still flanked by two other males.

So again lets look at what’s going on. Tony’s body now enters a state of emergency (also known as the ‘Fight or Flight response’). The stress of the situation has now caused Tony’s heart rate to increase from around 40/50 beats per minute to nearly 100 (bpm). Adrenaline is rapidly being released by his body which also stimulates Dopamine (a natural pain killer). His breathing becomes shallower and more rapid to keep up with the body’s increased demand to provide blood and oxygen to the major organs.

In this situation people respond differently depending on their psychological state, their confidence, whether they are prepared to engage an assailant etc etc. It’s easy for a person to go into a state of panic and fall to pieces. This often happens to people who are simply not prepared.

At this point it is very much up to the individual as to how they deal with the situation. Tim Larkin a US Martial Arts expert (a hand to hand combat trainer for the US Navy Seals) who hold’s extremely violent and controversial views on self protection (so much so that he was banned from the United Kingdom by the Home Secretary Theresa May in August 2012 because “his presence here was not conducive to the public good”) believes that in this sort of situation you should allow the adrenalin to empower you in order to maim, severely injure or even kill the individual concerned. We’ll look at these views later in the project.

So Tony, still being confronted by the attacker now allows his martial arts training to take over. He knows he has to relax and regain control of his emotions. He looks for an avenue out of the situation without resorting to violence. Unfortunately there’s nobody around at that time that could help, and the distance to the platform is around 25 meters of polished floor with around 20 stairs at the end and Rachel, helpfully, has worn high heels. Again Tony communicates with his attacker but there is no option and things quickly escalate.

 

In this case study I’ve outlined most areas in my project and to move this on I will be looking at the following in more depth…

 

* What specifically causes these stimuli are there other areas that I haven’t yet looked at?

We’ll look more at the physical, psychological and emotional areas of these stimuli. The lasting impact of being a victim and the benefits of having the right training. We’ll also look at high profile victims of crime and try to gain an understanding of how their

 

* How do these emotions manifest themselves in others?

In this section I’m going to look at the Attacker as well as the ‘Victim’. What is their mindset and how do they deal with it and are there other tactics to deal with an aggressor that don’t involve fighting. Also in this section I want to look at the emotions behind whether the attacker being armed changes their state of mind and the state of mind of the defender.

 

* How can Martial Arts training help with controlling these points?

Here I’ll look at how Martial Arts turns potential Victims into prepared defenders. Also the ability no not ‘look like a victim’ and  I’ll look more in depth at how Martial Arts begins when you leave the house (not when you’re confronted with a problem). We’ll also touch on whether there’s a danger with over confidence and finish with looking at the ‘Fight or Flight response’.

 

* The merits or not of Sports Psychology dealing with the emotions.

Does the murky world of Sports Psychology help with these emotions or is it all an expensive placebo? Also we’ll look at not only the ‘Sports Psychology’ but also the psychology of high profile teachers around the World and ask, how extreme is ‘extreme’?

 

* Finally, I’ll be looking at are there parallels between working life and Martial Arts in this context?

Can Martial Arts training spill over into an everyday working life with positive benefits? Working in a high pressure job myself I’ll base this on my day to day life as well as other high profile people I am able to research.

 

That’s a rough outline, I’m sure my research will take me off on different tangents but that’s all part of learning.  All that matters is that at the end of this I/we are able to better understand the FEAR concept. Finally in November I will end with a coaching a session on this topic where I will be inviting others to contribute their thoughts, feelings and possible previous experiences.

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Compare and contrast hard and soft Martial Arts

Written by Katherine. Posted in Black Belt Research Project 2013

Karate for women, adults martial arts, ladies self defence, kung fu for women, martial arts basingstoke, taekwondo

Katherine White

2nd Dan Project

 

The main element to my research project, as part of my 2nd dan grading, is to compare and contrast 5 “hard” and 5 “soft” styles of martial arts – looking at their key underlying principles and methods of power generation and also looking at how these different styles encourage and develop effective techniques.

 

(Admin’s Note:- As part of the Black Belt grading requirements in 2013, candidates will have to complete and publish a given research project where they have to justify and prove all conclusions that they arrive at.

The aim of this is to challenge the individual on a personal basis to broaden and deepen their knowledge base over a longer period of time and ultimately with the goal to significantly improve their physical and non-physical skills.)

At first glance this looked fairly simple and easy to organise but after a quick scout round the web I realised it was more of a Tardis-like question, or one of those children’s joke snake- in-a-jar – it looks small and simple outside but somehow there is a HUGE amount contained within!  Even the question of what counts as a hard or soft martial art is open to interpretation and there does not seem to be a handy black and white list of what fits what category. It is sometimes down to personal interpretation; how the particular Martial Art is carried out by each practitioner; or if, over time, the style has adopted a variety of techniques rather than being a “pure” single style.

 

My plan is to research these martial arts in a couple of different ways. Obviously the great god google will provide an easy way to look at the different styles – I’d look at personal, dedicated sites rather than something generic like Wikipedia. There are a lot of blog style sites where senseis and teachers have written ideas so they will be a useful resource.  If possible I would love to visit a lesson of each style although for dull practical reasons – training 2 or 3 nights a week, doing 4 gym runs with my children other nights, a travelling husband etc I will not guarantee I can do this for each of the 10. It would also be lovely to “interview” senseis from these different styles to get a personal view on how they interpret their particular martial art.

 

It is quite hard to “prove” this research as it is such a subjective issue – how one person carries out their martial art, their reasons for choosing a particular style and how they apply any principles taught will vary for everyone. At this stage I am open to see how any “results” prove or disprove anything – I suspect it will be on the majority thinking and also looking at the historic principles of the style – rather than from one person way down the food chain who trains in it.

 

My plan is to look at these disciplines one at a time – and in doing so will discover their underlying principles and also find out any areas where there is common ground and also where they differ. It would be a huge undertaking to report on all 10 in one go – I think it will be more of a “build up the collection” type project – where each report adds on a new style to look at but will also refer back to previous styles and will compare and contrast. As the project moves forwards more styles will be added and by reading them as a whole it will be able to see where they overlap and where they differ.

 

My chosen disciplines are –

Soft: (from) judo, ju jitsu, aikido ,tai chi, hapkido, wing chun

Hard: TKD, kendo, boxing, muay thai, bajiquan (though these may change this is my intention now!)

 

I felt “kung fu” and “karate” were too woolly titles and were often umbrella terms encompassing many styles or branches and also it was interesting to explore unknown styles. Judo is the exception – I have taken part in this for a couple of years now!

 

Extra topics to also research are to look at the validity of Tai Chi as a fighting martial art and this is an area I admit I know very little about and, for personal, preconceived ideas, have tended to write it off as “floaty” relaxation techniques rather than practical. As I have progressed in my own training I have started to see how it can be used as part of a martial art – but have yet to understand it as a stand alone martial art so watch this space…

 

Another area to look at is what martial artists can learn from yoga and meditation. This is the area I will struggle with most – on two levels. The first is that I know very little about either, and have never practised or felt the need to practise either. I see Yoga as a stand-alone exercise programme – good for flexibility and core stability but this is not the only way to achieve these ends.  Due to my background growing up in a Christian family I have an embedded belief not to practice meditation or yoga in the sense of “emptying the mind” as this is not a practise endorsed by the Christian faith and also because it has its roots in Buddhism and Hinduism and other non-Christian beliefs.  As such, I am happy to research the benefits etc but will not be actively taking part. Again, I am open to learning new ideas and will see where this path takes me.  I am not against focus, concentration or visualisation which are elements of meditation but not completely emptying, or focussing on other gods for example.

 

The final area is about what we can learn from modern sports training methods for speed and relaxation.  From this I am defining “modern” as utilising new technology or new ideas – obviously getting speed out of runners’ blocks for examples is a practise that has been around for years. This will probably involve a bit of stumbling round in the dark as I am not even sure of a starting point so will hope to find a way in. The focus will probably be on technological advances and better understanding of the make-up of the body – from blood types and even genetics.

 

Between now and December I will endeavour to write up a report on each of my 10 styles (2 at a time)– hopefully each will build on the previous one and ultimately there will be links throughout the  threads as well as elements discrete to each.

 

The Tai Chi; Yoga and meditation; and Modern sports will all be separate articles, presenting my findings and how they can be applied.

 

The class at the end…will absolutely depend on what happens between now and then.

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Martial Arts Standards Agency British Judo British Council for Chinese Martial Arts – National Governing Body The World Union of Karate Federations Shi Kon Martial Arts British Council for Chinese Martial Arts – National Governing Body

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