By Darren Laur
Instructors should always teach a new technique in slow motion. Why? It allows the student’s brain time to observe the technique and begin the "soft wiring process" which becomes "hard wired" through physical and mental training in conjunction with repetition, as long as it is gross motor skilled.
All physical skills should be chunked or partitioned into progressive steps, rather than taught all at once.
Many instructors when teaching a physical techniques will have the students practice the entire technique from beginning to end when first learning the specific skill set. This is a huge mistake.
Remember that the brain first learns in pictures and through modeling. By teaching a technique from A to Z all at once, the student may not fully develop the proper and full "mental picture" needed to perform the technique properly which usually leads to frustration by the student.
Teachers, coaches, and instructors must insure that the student understands step A fully, then move onto step B. Once step B is understood move on to step C and so on. By doing this, frustration goes down, while confidence and skill level go up.
Once the skill sets are learned, they must now be applied in dynamic training in order to make the stimulus/response training as real as possible. Again, the more the real the training, the better-prepared one becomes for the reality of the street.
It must be noted, that most of Siddle’s pre-1995 published work, with regard to motor skill performance, was based upon the research of leading sports psychologists.
Prior to 1995, most of the research surrounding motor skill performance used fluctuations in heart rate to measure performance, due to the fact that it was the only biological mechanism that was "measurable" via scientific testing protocol at the time.
Although Siddle’s research (based upon his book "Sharpening The Warriors Edge") has brought to light the physiological effects to the emotion of fear such as increased heart rate, fine complex motor skill deterioration, and what we can do as instructors to limit the effects of SSR during combat, it did not fully explain why and how the brain learned and responds to the emotion of fear, thus triggering SSR.
To me, this is the key question to be answered if one’s combative system or style is going to be able to consistently deal with an unexpected spontaneous assault, be it unarmed or armed.
In other words, are our brains hardwired to the point where a trained response, no matter how well ingrained, be overridden by a more powerful "instinctual" response?
If the answer to this question is yes, can this instinctual response be changed, molded, or integrated into a combative context?