We ARE about high road training

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We ARE about high road training

Postby Bill Glasheen » Tue Apr 26, 2005 3:58 pm

I love reading about and watching the Western Martial Arts transformation with respect to fighting physiology. Understand that my area of specialization in graduate school was systems physiology, and my advisor was big on sympathetic vs. parasympathetic control of various physiologic functions. I spent years in the lab injecting autonomic nervous system stimulants and blockers, and studying the multidimensional effects on various cardiopulmonary functions. My own dissertation focused on sophisitcated mathematical processing of cardiopulmonary signals to assess the patency of autonomic function in people suffering from the ravages of diabetes.

So all this "chemical cocktail" and "dump" business was pretty much up my alley. It was just a matter of applying the same basic knowledge to another field. Physicians are interested in detecting and preventing diabetic autonomic neuropathy so a middle-aged diabetic can still react appropriately to various life situations. LEOs and warriors want to stay alive and functional under the Survival Stress Response. And cyber warriors just want to play armchair expert. 8)

What does frustrate me though is to see people take a half-baked understanding of human physiology and carry it forward to half-baked training ideas and style preferences. I truly believe what saves most folks is that we often do OK in spite of rather than because of our training methods. But efficiency and quality of effort should be valued propositions.

Along those lines...

Just the other day, I was watching Rich training some newbies in the art of ukemi. Training is training and practice is practice, so a certain amount of this just needs to follow the Nike approach. (Just do it!!!) But an understanding of a valuable piece of the martial equation is something we can carry on to other aspects of our training so we can be equally successful in these other areas.

Make no mistake about it - the "flinch" or "low road" response to falling is NOT a good thing. Oh sure, it may work 80% of the time. Sticking your arm out when you are about to meet some high-speed dirt can sometimes keep you from smashing your head. I suppose that's not bad. But what of the risk to the forearm bones? The shoulders? I have seen a lot through my training years. I've seen a white belt slip on a floor while attempting to do a simple front kick, and shatter his radius and ulna. Go figure... The flinch response didn't help him much there, did it? And because it was a newbie, the "high road" alternative (the break fall) hadn't kicked in yet.

And yet... I recently had a student come back to the classroom with baby in arms to thank me for saving her baby. Apparently she had tripped on something in the garage with her baby in her arms. Because of her training in ukemi, she managed to twist herself in mid-air and breakfall with baby above her. The result was a safe mom, a smiling kid who wanted to do it again, and only a little bit of diginity lost. Not bad, eh?

This "high road" stuff we do works - period. When we are well-trained, it works at speeds faster than we can think. The "low road" stuff is still there, but training and practice helps the brain develop a different perspective. For example, someone who never came out of the woods might wildly throw the hands up with a screaming grounder coming at him, whereas I would patiently scoot in front and catch it with my glove. What caused the first person's amygdale to take over is something that my higher brain decided it would rather handle.

That's good training!

And a good style is a group of "high road" methods that transition easily from the "flinch" or "low road" responses. If you squint your eyes, you can almost see the flailing arms coming up when someone puts their hands in sanchin. If you squint your eyes, you can almost see that arm trying to reach out and protect the body when someone does a break fall. But not quite... It's a simple matter to go from one to the next. And all is in order when your body transitions from one state to the next without you even thinking about it.

That's both good MA and good training!

A certain amount of faith is needed in this business. It's sometimes good to keep "the traditional" in mind as we "smart" people who have it all figured out try to separate out the "good" from the "ill informed." Sometimes history repeats itself here. Like a typical adolescent, we reject the past with our newfound knowledge, only to realize later in life how much smarter our elders got.

Go figure... :wink:

Yes, question. Question and verify. But realize there is a lot of good material out there still waiting to be fully understood.

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Postby MikeK » Tue Apr 26, 2005 4:48 pm

This "high road" stuff we do works - period. When we are well-trained, it works at speeds faster than we can think. The "low road" stuff is still there, but training and practice helps the brain develop a different perspective.


Damn Bill, I've been thinking about the same thing and was discussing this last Sunday with my friend who did many high road things under stress. He also said the samething, training and practice make the difference. Medics perform high road things under stress as do firemen, snipers, and a host of others. Pilots in a troubled aircraft seem to be able to perform high road jobs while things are going to hell in a handbasket. How did Gary Gordon and Randy Shugart function while out numbered, out gunned and facing certain death perform the way they did?

Of course this now begs the question how do we efficiently & effectively train for the high road?

Here's to the high road Bill! :D
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Postby benzocaine » Tue Apr 26, 2005 7:40 pm

. Medics perform high road things under stress as do firemen, snipers, and a host of others. Pilots in a troubled aircraft seem to be able to perform high road jobs while things are going to hell in a handbasket.


I am part of the code blue team at my hospital, and I have my job down cold. There's no thinking about it. I'm trained and that's all there is to it. But that training never comes easy. It, like the martial arts, requires hours and hours of scenerio training.

I guess the main difference between the above jobs that have "the dump" ,and defending your self from a sociopath or deranged lunatic, is that one involves saving your own life. That has got to be a totally different "dump".
This "high road" stuff we do works - period. When we are well-trained, it works at speeds faster than we can think. The "low road" stuff is still there, but training and practice helps the brain develop a different perspective.


I agree that it works providing that a person can develop or maintain the ability to (basically) unleash the beast. I think that the biggest obstacle for some people is to get past the often times preprogrammed response of cowering to violence. How do we make someone who freezes like a rabbit into a cornered dog?


Bill. Please check your PM's.[/quote]
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Postby MikeK » Tue Apr 26, 2005 8:04 pm

I agree that it works providing that a person can develop or maintain the ability to (basically) unleash the beast.

This could be one reason why some can't take the high road. High road training seems to include keeping the beast away and operating calmly and methodically. At least that's how it was explained to me and I'll be finding out more about it this summer.
So instead of turning a rabbit into a cornered dog how about turning him into a trained human. :wink:
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Hey Bill. . .

Postby gmattson » Tue Apr 26, 2005 8:33 pm

That is one fine post!

Fits in pretty well with what I understand to be true, based on my many years of teaching and working with students.
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Postby RACastanet » Tue Apr 26, 2005 9:36 pm

There is no question that repetitive and operant training can overcome the chemical dump and the 'flinch' response from what I see inside the Marine Corps.

This July it looks like I'll get a serious dose of operant conditioning from my friends at Quantico. The Instructor Trainers will be going through a nine day (continuous) combat pistol training marathon.

There will be about 12 to 14 of the headquarters staff that will be taught reactive shooting. This will include classroom, range and simulated close combat out in the woods of Quantico. The knowledge will then be integrated into the MCMAP program in some fashion by the HQ staff.

It will be hot, humid and buggy that time of year. Part of the plan no doubt. I do not have much detail as yet but I'll keep you posted about how the Marines do 'High Road Training' to prep for close combat.

Time for me to get my body in shape for what looks like one more chance of a lifetime. Just as I was getting ready to hang up my combat boots...

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Postby benzocaine » Wed Apr 27, 2005 12:17 am

So instead of turning a rabbit into a cornered dog how about turning him into a trained human.


I've been in fights as a "trained human", kept my cool so to speak. It felt like my arms weighed 100 lbs and everything takes drags out forever. I've also been in a fight where I did a controlled rage.

Both circumstances I had the dump, I didn't feel weak though when I let my anger help me. IMHO people need to learn to get angry at their attacker.,, but a controlled anger/rage. I see nothing about it that makes it the low road. What's the Uechi glare but a glimmer of the intent to maim or kill the SOB who attacks you?
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Postby RACastanet » Wed Apr 27, 2005 1:42 am

Ben said: "IMHO people need to learn to get angry at their attacker.,, but a controlled anger/rage."

In Iraq, on March 25, 2003, Marine Captain Brian Chontosh charged an Iraqi position and by himself killed 20 Iraqi soldiers, single handedly stopping an ambush on his platoon. For this he was awarded the Navy Cross.

When asked about it he stated: "If I had been killed, it would have been called reckless. It came down to love and hate. I loved my Marines and hated the guys who were trying to kill them."

I believe this is the behavior that Ben is referring to. Charging into the trench Chontosh maintained his marksmanship skills. When his M16 was empty he transitioned to his 9mm pistol, then to an AK47 he found in the trench, and finally to a rocket propelled grenade. We are talking performance under direct fire.

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Postby MikeK » Wed Apr 27, 2005 1:48 am

Ben, You use whatever gets you through the situation. I tend to get "lost in the fight" which depletes my energy and causes me to tunnel. Not good for me if I have to have more than one match, handle more than one person or if I also have to escape, so I'm starting to try for something different now.

What's the Uechi glare but a glimmer of the intent to maim or kill the SOB who attacks you?

I don't have the glare at all and if I did it it would just be posturing on my part. Some have a war face, Vlad Vasiliev of Systema fame says to smile while you fight, others say keep a blank face. Different strokes and all that. Anyway I don't think I'd maim or kill someone unless it was really, really unavoidable, and even then I don't know if I could. Maybe I'm ready to join the Lotus crowd. 8O

Rich you are a lucky man. Hearing how the Marines do high road will be very interesting.
We are talking performance under direct fire.
Exactly. What was his mental state, was it rage or hate? :? Is there any more detail on his heroics? I'd love to hear his detailed account. Excellent training and a brave heart is almost unbeatable.
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Postby benzocaine » Wed Apr 27, 2005 9:46 am

Anyway I don't think I'd maim or kill someone unless it was really, really unavoidable, and even then I don't know if I could. Maybe I'm ready to join the Lotus crowd


:lol: :lol: It seems we are on the same page there Mike. I would never get into a fight unless I needed to.. hell I'll try and walk away telling my self it's not worth the law suits or community service. But, if I feel that I am treatened with no other option,well, I hope I obtain that state of mind the Marine Rich was talking about. I think that if my wife or infant son were threatened, there would be no thought involved... just try and kill him.
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Postby MikeK » Wed Apr 27, 2005 12:16 pm

Cool Ben, same here. :D

Is there a mental aspect to train for either high road or low road techniques? When and how in our training should we be training to cut back or at least control the A-Dump?
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Postby Bill Glasheen » Wed Apr 27, 2005 1:37 pm

Ben wrote:I've been in fights as a "trained human", kept my cool so to speak. It felt like my arms weighed 100 lbs and everything takes drags out forever. I've also been in a fight where I did a controlled rage.

Both circumstances I had the dump, I didn't feel weak though when I let my anger help me. IMHO people need to learn to get angry at their attacker.,, but a controlled anger/rage. I see nothing about it that makes it the low road.

Fighting really is no different than any other endeavor, Ben. There is an optimal "performance zone" where we are at our best.

From Darren Laur's Anatomy of Fear...
One must remember that in combat, a person’s heart rate can go from 70 bpm to 220bpm in less than half a second. So what is the "combat maximum performance range" when it comes to SSR and heart rate? In his studies, Siddle found that it is between 115-145 bpm. Siddle also found that a fighter’s "maximum reaction time performance range" is also between 115-145 bpm. In other words, the 115-145 bpm range is where fighting skills (gross motor) and reaction time are maximized.

Laur goes on in his article to discuss work by Siddle designed to keep people in "the zone", and out of an uncontrolled, flailing, piss-in-your-pants, low road meltdown.
Siddle in his research has found that a person can manage SSR to attain that peak 115-145 bpm range in the following ways:



Skill Confidence:

{snip}


Experience Through Dynamic Simulation Training

{snip}


Visualization (mental imagery)

{snip}


Breathing

{snip}


Value Of Life:

{snip}


Belief In Mission / Task At hand:

{snip}


Faith System:

{snip}


Training:

{snip}

A good example of all this coming together is the following.
Rich wrote:In Iraq, on March 25, 2003, Marine Captain Brian Chontosh charged an Iraqi position and by himself killed 20 Iraqi soldiers, single handedly stopping an ambush on his platoon. For this he was awarded the Navy Cross.

{snip}

Charging into the trench Chontosh maintained his marksmanship skills.

Marksmanship is not only high road - it is the epitome of it. We're talking fine motor coordination here.

It can be done.

The point of my post is we should use contemporary research combined with valuable experience encapsuled in the martial arts to proceed forward. We should be pushing the envelope with both feet firmly planted on a good foundation.

It always amazes me when I see a well-written piece of work validating much (but not necessarily all) of what we already are doing. The value of the research is in understanding and solidifying the base. We go from "just doing it" by rote to training with understanding, purpose, and direction.

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Postby benzocaine » Wed Apr 27, 2005 3:24 pm

I never thought about hr going up so high in a fight.. though it makes sense. This makes doing cardio very important IMHO.

All the training ideas for SSR are great.

Bill.. PM
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Postby MikeK » Wed Apr 27, 2005 3:39 pm

Visualization, breathing, value of life, faith system? Bill have you put on the safron robes and gone lotus again? 8O :lol:

Kind of makes you take another look at some of the things the oldsters did like meditation, and the philisophical and religous aspects of some arts.

Great topic Bill.
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Postby Bill Glasheen » Wed Apr 27, 2005 3:44 pm

PM answered.
Ben wrote:I never thought about hr going up so high in a fight.. though it makes sense. This makes doing cardio very important IMHO.

Errrr.... No. Not quite.

The heart-rate is not the moon; the heart-rate is the finger pointing at the moon. It is the only easily-measureable index of the status of your neurohormonal system.

Don't get me wrong; I think cardiorespiratory fitness is important. But what you have to realize is that the heart-rate (and thus the status of your neurohormonal system) can shoot through the bloody moon even with you sitting on your butt. In fact when I was doing research, I found that my dogs with a parasympathetic block (unleashes the sympathetic) had a higher heart-rate and blood pressure at rest than they did when I was running them on the treadmill.

The higher the level of neurohormonal stimulation, the more symptoms we have that interfere with our ability to function well (loss of fine/complex motor coordination, visual impairment, auditory exclusion, cognitive impairment or "brain-fart mode", tachypsychia, etc.). The goal here isn't to get you in better cardiorespiratory shape so you can endure an extreme SSR (Survival Stress Response). Rather the goal is to be able to manage the SSR to a level where you perform in an optimal fashion and can access your training.

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