Tuesday, March 15, 2011

“Fine” motor skills

  I was reading some posting's that individual's had written in regards to the ability of a person to still utilize (physical) motor skills/abilities when under stress. The generally perceived idea being presented, was that an individual would not have those same abilities when placed in a stressful situation. They cited numerous studies, but didn't note the experience level of those individual's that these studies were being based upon. To myself, this makes these studies invalid, not that they necessarily were, but the conclusion's definitely were being (IMO) miss-applied.
  Having read numerous accounts of similar studies, the thing I noted first, was that the majority of these types of studies are being based upon the average individual (ie. Untrained). For establishing a base-line, this makes sense, for establishing an over-all conclusion, it lacks relevant data. Considering that the discussions were in regards to a martial artists ability to perform certain (as they termed it) “fine motor” skills (meaning hand/finger manipulations/actions), one would have thought that these “tests” would have utilized those types of individual's for the performed test subject's. That wasn't the case though, the conclusions were being based on studies done on average (untrained) individual's, performing menial tasks (first, when calm, then when subjected to stressful situations) when under duress. When one (actually) reads the reports (at the experiment's conclusion), they (there were multiple studies done) state that the individual being tested, lost a major percentage of “fine” motor function/skills, leaving only gross (large) motor skills available to deal with the situation.
  People regularly use these types of studies to justify the “Fight or Flight”(FOF) response found in nature. This is an inaccurate comparison. FOF doesn't just happen, it does when someone doesn’t know what to do, if there is a trained response (already) available, the individual will (first) utilize that trained response, if that one fails, they will attempt the next trained response. If no trained responses exist, then Yes, they will tend to run, but only if/when there is no trained response, or if/when that response fails.
  The mistake being made by the comparisons of these studies (to a martial artist), is that panic, is usually not the first response (actually) experienced, when an individual is surprised. The (real) first response is protection (from physical damage). If/when one's initial physical safety is established, then longer term safety is evaluated/confirmed (these actions may, or may not then trigger a FOF response, depending upon the perceived threat level to one's personal safety). These are all (presumably) based on the premise of individual panic. Panic is (nothing more than) the lack of knowing what to do, in a situation that was not planned for, by the individual in question. 
  The studies in question, found that the individual's lost their “fine” motor skills during the initial (and subsequent) adrenaline “dump”(experienced by the tested individual when placed in this high stress level situation). The studies cited the inability to (neatly, or even legibly)write their own names , to tie their shoelace's, or even to remove their car key's from their (pant's) pocket and write down what each key unlocked, or operated. Well, that's interesting, but hardly valuable information.

  The related arguments (to MA), were in regards to Tuite being (able to be) implemented, or the ability to implement a precise kyusho strike while under stress. Well, one man's stress, is another man's party, so how does one determine how stressful, any situation will be? Experience, the more one has with the situation, the less that situation will suffer from the effects of an adrenaline dump. Which is the purpose of practice. It obviously isn't practical to instill panic with every practice session, but the responses to those situations can be repeatedly practiced. Virtually every (initial) defensive action/technique (that I can think of) involves (only) gross(large) motor/muscle actions. Learning to (simply) move, when a confrontation begins, will dissipate the adrenal chemical's throughout the body's system. These chemical's provide (short-term) energy, and provide anesthetic effects (in regards to pain reception). This is why an individual will feel little to no pain (during a confrontation), and will often perform exaggerated motions during a confrontation. This adrenaline dump is the reason why (when the confrontation is ended) that individual suffers “the shakes” and often feels nauseous (the digestive system is the first system that shuts down during a confrontation, this allows energy to be available to the gross motor muscle groups).
  The ability to control those practiced motions while under stress is developed from repetitive practice. The more that one has practiced the motion, the more precise one will be when attempting that same action while under duress (stress). Which is directly related to having the ability to relax. Relaxation is the most emphasized principle by Oyata. Being relaxed, and performing natural motions, are all geared towards the ability to implement defensive actions while being under stress. The ability (or the presumed inability) to perform tuite/kyusho motions/actions while in a stressful situation, is dictated by how much/often one has (repetitively) practiced those motions (which in turn, will dictate what situations will create that panicked state and possible reactions).
  It basically comes down to, I don't feel that the subject needs (nearly) the attention that's being attributed to it. When I read those types of articles, the only people (“I” see) buying into it, are those who are seeking the right now/quick-fix (system). 

1 comment:

Man of the West said...

Couldn't agree more. I can't tell you how many times I've wondered about the people who believe this. I have been under ridiculously stressful situations more than once, and while I may have done some stupid things, I don't ever recall panicking or being unable to make use of trained responses.

One time, for example, I almost got hit in traffic. I simultaneously managed to bellow an expletive, look over my shoulder into the next lane and behind me, hit the clutch and the brake, and steer into the next lane. According to these people's theory, I should have been so incapacitated by panic that I got squished like a bug.

I'll be linking to this one, and making some more comments.