You can’t close one eye!

Our last discussion was a few thoughts on shot placement.  I mentioned the effects of survival stress and it’s role in skills deterioration.   Want to hear more?  Here is a quick bulleted list of these effects.  Effects today, working on inoculating yourself from these effects tomorrow…

  • In a violent confrontation, your heart rate can accelerate to over 220 beats per minute in 3 secs.
  • Increased adrenal activity (fight or flight)
  • Increased respiration – breathing fast or uncontrollably fast
  • Change in vascular flow – blood moves away from extremities
  • Pupil Dilation
    • Loss of near vision
    • Loss of peripheral vision – “Tunnel Vision”
    • Loss of depth perception
    • Binocular dominant vision – you lose the ability to close one eye, an interesting detail to note, if you close one eye while shooting
    • Performance Changes
      • Loss of fine/complex motor skills – training question. . .  Do you rely on fine motor skills when training?  i.e. when chambering a round, do you grab the slide with the meaty part of your hand and 4 fingers, or do you pinch it between your thumb and pointer finger?  Pinching the slide, is a fine motor skill… you may not be able to do that under the duress of survival.  This is why people fumble with weapons in gun fights, they are relying on fine or complex motor skills.
      • Increase in reaction/response time
      • Limited aerobic and anaerobic capacity
    • Sympathetic Movement – a really fun phenomenon!
    • Dissociation/Detachment – “I can’t believe this is happening.”  “out of body perception”
    • Auditory Exclusion – sounds are muffled or go completely unheard
    • Accelerated Perception – the perception of time slowing down

Don’t worry, there is hope!  If you know what is happening to you, you are more likely to be able to control or at least minimize these effects.  If you were to experience all of the above changes to skills, perceptions and senses, but did not know why, it can lead to a “goofy loop” in which, one focuses on the effects of the stress and not on survival solutions.  Below are some of the symptoms of Survival Stress.  If you find yourself experiencing these, you can reassure yourself it is normal, it is ok, it is time to get to work, it is time to overcome!

  1. Rapid Breathing
  2. Cotton Mouth
  3. Muscle Tremors
  4. Sweaty Palms – (evaluate the gripping surface on weapons)
  5. Heart “pounding out of chest”
  6. Vision changes – Tunnel vision
  7. Difficulty concentrating

Once you realize the effects of Survival Stress, you HAVE to change how you train.  To ignore these info nuggets, and continue to train without these facts in mind, is training to fail, training to die.   Stay tuned for training tips.  Also, this blog is not meant to be the only place for one to gain such knowledge.  I hope only to pique your interest, so you will research, train and gain a warrior mindset.

These activities will give you a dose of survival stress, in a safe way.

  • Play Airsoft
  • Play Paint Ball
  • I just saw a game like Paintball, sort of, you shoot padded arrows at each other.
  • Hide and Go Seek
  • Take Martial Arts classes  – I am partial to Krav Maga

These activities can help you recognize and learn to work through Survival Stress!

Next post – Tips on overcoming, minimizing all of the above!  Hint: Stress and Fear are perceptions. . .

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