Sunday, September 1, 2013

The Sub-Zero Response

 I've recently read a number of articles regarding the (supposedly) inevitable "Freeze" response.Though it is often comforting (?) for (new) students to read that this is a "natural" reaction, it isn't an "inevitable" response. 
 The act of "Freezing" (or having a lack of any response) in humans, is simply not knowing what to do. This is being (IMO) over played as being everyone's initial (and inevitable) response. The fact that "animals" do so (and for completely different reasons than humans do) is not a reason to believe that it is inevitable.This is both inaccurate, and untrue. That is the purpose of training.
 The act of Freezing will occur when one doesn't understand a situation/event, and/or they don't know how to respond during the occurrence of that event. One doesn't just "freeze" thoughtlessly, they are searching their own memories to (both) evaluate the situation, and to determine an appropriate response to that given situation. Even when an individual is completely "inexperienced" with an assault (type of) situation, they will (and do) react (just not always as effectively as they would like, hence they seek training).
 I'm fully aware that various author's have written entire books over related terminology regarding this singular aspect of human response (with numerous "names" being attributed to it, ie. "monkey-brain", "deer in the headlight" etc.). But the fact is, that through (correct) training this entire "pause" (effect/response?) can be nearly eliminated (through proper training).
 Can it always be (completely) eliminated for everyone, of course not. For different individual's and/or situations it will require different amounts and/or kinds of training and/or experience to reduce it to it's lowest possible levels (for that individual). 
 Those who tend to have the lowest levels of hesitation, are those who have the most training/experience (in this instance, these are interchangeable terms). 
"Training" really amounts to "you do this, when that occurs", and you practice doing those motions in response to similar actions. Training is learning to recognize threatening situations, and developing the ability to respond with an appropriate action. That action doesn't (or shouldn't) have to be one designed exactly for that particular event (to be an effective response).
 In/for a "defensive" situation, that response need only protect you (physically) until further evaluations can be made/established (regarding the situation at hand). Once having established and enacted an initial motion, it is (commonly) easier to react to further and/or continuing "threats". 
 The entire monologue that's being (over-blown IMO) presented, attempts to "justify/validate" this ("freeze") response as being "natural". To some (limited) extent, it is. Though It's nothing like what (or why) an animal will do (nor for the same reasons). That analogy is only being utilized as an example to provide a student with something to make them feel better (about not knowing what to do).
 That "hesitation" (in a human), is an indication of higher intelligence (than "animals", LOL). Humans do so, in order to search/reference their (vastly superior to animals) memories to reference if they are familiar with the given situation, and already have an appropriate response. Depending on one's level of experience (with the given situation), will determine the speed of that reaction.
 This can (often) be measured in micro-seconds (depending on one's level/amount of experience with a given situation). It is how that experience is acquired, that often differentiates the various training methodology's that are available. 
 Although I understand "why" the (animal) "freeze" analogy is often utilized, I have to disagree with the continued extrapolations that are commonly included with it. The whole conversation reminds me of Taika discussing (certain) "animal" forms/styles of martial arts. His (major) "point", was that people aren't animals, we don't have claws, or fangs, and our bodies are (in no way) built like those of animals. So why would one attempt to emulate the movements of an animal?
 IMO, the discussion regarding the "freeze" factor, is being similarly over emphasized (to the point of being a training distraction, if not an excuse for poor/inadequate training).     

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