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Simplicity is Most Effective for any Violent Street Encounter

March 31, 2011

One of the things that Bruce Lee stressed was the fact that keeping fighting simple is the most effective way to fight in a life or death situation.  When we are attacked, our brain will go into a fight, flight or freeze mode.  The HPA axis of the brain activates this.  Part of this is the adrenal gland responsible for the release of certain stress hormones, including adrenaline.

This is important when facing danger.  Adrenaline is immediately sent to the heart causing it to pump rapidly.  This, in turn, sends blood to the arms and legs.  The reason for this is to be to engage in the danger at that very moment.  That’s also one of the reasons training is essential to effectively use this.  First responders and those in the military are regularly trained in order to be their best in an adrenaline induced situation.

So should the martial artist in real situations.  When those that train in the safety of the dojo or for sports, it’s not the same.  Only through reality-based scenarios is where adrenaline can be released that activates the proper action to the danger.  And this is where simplicity comes into play.

Upon adrenaline activation and the rapid beating of the heart, motor skills start to change.  When you’re heart is beating under 115 beats per minute, you can use fine motor skills.  Those include putting a thread through a needle or doing brain surgery.  Over 115 beats per minute, your fine motor skills will start to deteriorate.  More complex motor skills, such as wrist locks, spinning kicks, sharpshooting, & unlocking a door start to deteriorate at 145 beats per minute.  Anything over 175 beats per minute may cause freezing, loss of one’s bowels, loss of gross motor skills, & loss of vision control. [Source: Grossman, D. (2004), On Combat]

Many times an immediate attack may result in the heart rate to go over 175 beats per minute.  If one is trained to deal with violent attacks, then they will be able to stay under that and take control.  Eventually getting their heart rate to between 115 and 145 beats per minute.  This is optimal for awareness to danger.

So in surviving and thriving a violent attack, focus on physical skills that use only gross motor movements.  The straight blast is one example of this.  Gross motor movements use natural body movements.  If you have ever watched videos of chimpanzees fighting each other, they do it very simply and effectively.  They attack the parts of the body that destroy who they attack.  Other wild animals will do the same.

Think about what you do now that can be simplified against a violent attack.  Practice, practice, practice…  Find out what works and what doesn’t.  Remember, it’s your life and the life of those you love.  One other thing is keep yourself in good physical shape.  That way you can respond quickly and more effectively.

Violent Chimpanzee Attack (and you thought we were violent)

Violent Beating caught on tape

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