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PostPosted: Fri Nov 11, 2005 6:38 am 
Can We Train The Flinch Response?

Of course we can.

Anyone who has successfully avoided an accident while driving a car knows you can.

You are minding your own business driving along when an oncoming car pulls out in front of you.

Your response is to:

a) Do nothing.
b) Leap into the back seat.
c) Throw your hands up in front of your face.
d) Swerve to avoid the oncoming car.

You are minding your own business walking long when someone throws a sucker punch at your head.

Your response is to:

a) Do nothing.
b) Leap backwards two or three steps.
c) Throw your hands up in front of your face.
d) Engage the attacker.

I am sure some will have difficulty leaping from one example to the next but those who have successfully avoided a head on collision or something similar will begin to question the mantra of the “untrainable” flinch response.

Those folk will wonder why they were able to react in a successful way to the oncoming car using the reaction generated by the unexpected event yet we are somehow unable to harness that same startle response in a productive fashion just because the situation is a different self protection one.

No doubt you will hear that these are completely different things, but really, come on now, who is kidding whom here, they are not.

Perhaps it is because your brain has already figured out that to do nothing, or to leap in the back seat, or to throw your hands up will get you killed and therefore it has instilled within you a better option.

One would only ask then what options have you instilled in yourself for a sucker punch?

Perhaps the question is not “if” we can train the flinch response but rather “how”.

I would say first of all determine the most productive response. Swerving around the oncoming car worked. We know from the story of the police officers posted in Bill’s forum that when surprised in a training scenario the officers who immediately engaged the attacker survived while those who leapt into the back seat all died.

For me that sums it up nicely. We should train to do what those successful police officers did – immediately engage.

Let that be our swerving around the on coming car.

Let that be the harnessing of the startle response.

Let that be what we train our flinch response to be.

If we can train it for self protection in a car we can train it for self protection in the streets.

Don’t let the mantra fool you.


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 11, 2005 10:19 am 
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Not all situations will warrant an attack. Serious folks might want to train to indentify threats vs. non threats, like LEO train to not shoot civilians when startled. However when one identifies a true threat with no escape, the ability to respond instantly and effectively must be ingrained and trained as a primary core response if not the primary core response. Rick what if any "programming differences", if any, do you see when in an edged weapon encounter vs. unarmed threat?

As I mentioned on the other thread.. I think the way you minimize or use the flinch, is to simplify the process of problem recognition and solving. CMA use all sorts of tricks, to make assessment easier and faster. centerline theory, 6 gates, forward energy, sensitivity strategy, etc. In WCK forward spring energy is trained in all tools, footwork and strikes, it all becomes the same action with just slight differences here and there. This simplifies the assesment and selection of the counter attack into just a couple of variations on the same theme. So if you simplify how the brain processes information and use a simple solution set then I think you can program whatever you want, just KISS.

_________________
Shaolin
M Y V T K F
"Receive what comes, stay with what goes, upon loss of contact attack the line" – The Kuen Kuit


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 11, 2005 2:04 pm 
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Ahhh the gracies training of the "twitch".. this was a skilled most people dreamed of having back in the days of a video game called quake 3..

in this game there was called a rail gun.. did 100 damage exactly to your opponent. It was a instant strike weapon with a very thin beam.

Alot of people had what they called a "twitch" game.. had to flick your mouse to put your cross hairs over the enemy.. sometimes you had to jumpa nd spin 180 degrees. it was most impressive. some of the top gamers have an incredible twitch game. some are just soo skilled... Fatal1ty, zero4, are some of the big names..

it took some time to get used to. especially if you were allways ajusting the sensitivity to the mouse but man once you got control of your twitch game. You could pull off some wicked shots.. :D...

not really in the confine of martial arts my story, however, it does show proof that you can train yourself and your "twitch"..

chris


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 12, 2005 6:17 am 
Chris -- cool.

Jim: "Rick what if any "programming differences", if any, do you see when in an edged weapon encounter vs. unarmed threat?"

No time tonight but I will get back to you.


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 13, 2005 5:09 am 
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"Can We Train The Flinch Response?
Of course we can." RW
------------------------------------------
...Well, you've already defined the answer, so what's the point of posing the question in the first place?

As I've posted before, and likely will do so many times again, it seems to me that the term "Flinch Response" is not being defined, or is being re-defined into "trained response when time/cognition is available".

The TRUE flinch response, as I have posted before, and likely will do so many times again, is "what you do when you are COMPLETELY unprepared".

In your opening post you demonstrate the CHOICE to access an A,B,C,D, list of responses.
None of these is a flinch response.
The Flinch response BYPASSES the conscious mind, however highly trained.

This is why I believe such experts as Tony Blauer refer to "training OFF the flinch", not "training the flinch".
They recognize that in an instant of pure surprise (no choices), the flinch will kick in automatically. They use this as a TRIGGER to generate a SECOND response triggered BY the initial flinch.

My point here is that they do not attempt to train the initial flinch ITSELF, since it is beyond the realm of conscious control.

Add to this ***very important*** that many real-world attacks will be intitiated without you realizing it. You're "automatically reacting" AFTER your initial flinch has long passed.
NOW you're in training/reflex/hope-you-can-actually-react mode.

What I've noticed is that all the examples given to "illustrate" examples of the flinch response presuppose the awareness of an impending attack.
Even the training sets up this situation --you know what you're training for.
So PLEASE DON'T attempt to support your point with "examples from training", e.g your NLD drills, which I think are awesome by the way.
However, that student is the FARTHEST thing from "truly surprised", and I hope that this is explained to them. They are PREPARED in a DRILL.


So, my bottom line is:
Yes, there is a fast recovery back into decision mode that we can train "OFF" the flinch as per Tony Blauer, et al.,

AND:
You can enjoy the faster reflexes in daily life that Karate training seems to instill as part of the process...

BUT:

The INITIAL moment of true flinch response (which I define as completely UNPREPARED surprise, e.g. when sleeping for example.) CANNOT be modified.
I have yet to read about, or experience, any example which contradicts this, and the opening post of this thread is a prime example of the misunderstanding of the term, no offense RW.
All kinds of "training scenarios" are given as examples. No one is going to flinch in class!


When a grain of sand blows into your eye, you WILL blink.

NM

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The music spoke to me. I felt compelled to answer.


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 13, 2005 6:17 am 
“Well, you've already defined the answer, so what's the point of posing the question in the first place?”

Hmm how to lead into a thread giving your opinion without giving your opinion?????????? :lol: :wink:

I posed the question because ti is the one I was answering. :D

“The TRUE flinch response, as I have posted before, and likely will do so many times again, is "what you do when you are COMPLETELY unprepared".

In your opening post you demonstrate the CHOICE to access an A,B,C,D, list of responses.
None of these is a flinch response.
The Flinch response BYPASSES the conscious mind, however highly trained.”

The situations I posed were as unprepared as you should be in the world. 8O

The responses given are ones proposed as flinch responses.

“My point here is that they do not attempt to train the initial flinch ITSELF, since it is beyond the realm of conscious control.”

Your point and your opinion and you are welcome to; however, it is one I disagree with as shown in my post.

“What I've noticed is that all the examples given to "illustrate" examples of the flinch response presuppose the awareness of an impending attack.
Even the training sets up this situation --you know what you're training for.
So PLEASE DON'T attempt to support your point with "examples from training", e.g your NLD drills, which I think are awesome by the way.”

Thanks for the compliment but I don’t recall this post containing any such thing nor have I ever said that NLD had you unprepared :? ; however, it is building in responses.

“The INITIAL moment of true flinch response (which I define as completely UNPREPARED surprise, e.g. when sleeping for example.) CANNOT be modified.”

We disagree and I expect I will be posting this again and again. :P

Good post Neil and while I disagree with you your side was well presented. :D


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 13, 2005 6:27 am 
Much of the discussions and disagreements on the forums come down to terminology.

Re: The flinch forward vs flinch backwards debate.

I kind of disagree with both sides.

I see the flinch as a cover. There is a process of threat assessment that occurs when we have a flinch response. It follows three steps:

A)
1. We become cognizant of a threat

2. We evaluate the threat

3. We respond to threat

In between step 1 and 3 we flinch while we work it out. I see this response as blading , getting smaller and covering the head. We are hardwired to minimize the targets while we work out a response.


We also will see scenarios that just go like this:

B)
1. We become cognizant of the threat
2. We flee the danger.

This is a pure flight response . No flinch involved.



If we just flinch backwards as some are claiming we are not actually flinching but utilizing a flight response. In this case we have reacted as follows:

C)
1. We become cognizant of the threat
2. We flee the danger
3. We evaluate the threat
4. We respond to the threat.

Responding to the threat can involve engagement or flight.

Bill posted an interesting wmv of a dude messing up Mr pumpkin head.
In this case we seem to have no flinch it looks like this:


D)
1. We become cognizant of a threat
2. We respond to threat..

This is probably the ideal weather we engage or flee, the goal is to speed up the assement phase and minimize the flinch or deer in headlights phase while we decide what to do. I believe this is what training accomplishes for us. It speeds up this part of the response


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 13, 2005 6:38 am 
I agree Laird it`s the OODA loop in military terms

Observe
Oreintate
Decide
Act

training the flinch is essentially trying to remove the two steps in the middle


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 13, 2005 7:12 am 
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2Green:

Here's some experiences, none of them life or death but I think you'll agree are real flinches.

A football thrown at my head while I am walking to get a beer, oblivious. I hear a shout, start to turn in the general direction of same to see football approx. 1 foot from my face at the exact same time the edge of my hand knocks it away. The end of a wa-uke.

A co-worker throws a haymaker in play. I pick up quick movement with peripheral vision while turned and semi crouched, performing some task. Start turning towards movement and see what is going on at the exact moment the edge of my hand impacts the inside of forearm. Coworker goes "uuurkk". (the end of a wa-uke).

My ex girlfriend kicks me in the stomach (again in play, think of the Pink Panther movies) with a front snap kick. Completely unaware as I come into the kitchen. I go "ooof" and move away from the pain at the exact same time her leg is caught and rotated by a wa-uke. She ends up with her back to me on one leg.

Completely drunk and frustrated standing near the side pocket I smack the cue ball into the other side hard enough to send it in a straight tragectory right between my eyes. I go from crouched over the table with the cue stick in my hands to semi upright with the ball in my right hand. The first parrying movement of a wa-uke.

Some idiot whips a wadded up soaked piece of paper knapkin into my right cheeck while seated at the bar, gazing in wonder at all the nice bottles arrayed in front of me. Drunk and oblivious. I feel this stinging impact and look in my hand to find the knapkin, having done an abreviated parrying movement from the wa-uke.

I don't know if this is what you would define as flinch or not, but all happened without conscious thought, just reaction to stimuli. Visual, aural and contact. No perception of attack or defense.

My opinion is that instinctive reaction is hardwired, but the manner in which it is expressed can be trained, as long as the movement, (in this case three dimensional intercepting, deflecting, and vital area sweeping), is congruent with your nervous system's mandate to defend itself.

In every one of these situations, if there had been any real threat to my person, the circle would feed into whatever attack was dictated by visual and cognitive target acquisition. But that wouldn't count as a flinch anymore.

In other words, hands in front=flinch response, wa-uke =
interpersonal violence flinch.

Jumping back from in front of a car = flinch response, angled stepping with wa-uke = interpersonal violence flinch.


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 13, 2005 7:21 am 
“training the flinch is essentially trying to remove the two steps in the middle”

Yeah but jump fast to the last bit.

“My opinion is that instinctive reaction is hardwired, but the manner in which it is expressed can be trained, as long as the movement, (in this case three dimensional intercepting, deflecting, and vital area sweeping), is congruent with your nervous system's mandate to defend itself.”

Yes!!!


Of course these are more like my thinking so, of course, I like them. I am human. :lol:


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 13, 2005 9:17 am 
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Stryke, this made me think of something in a way that I might actually be able to state coherently. :lol:

Observe
Oreintate
Decide
Act

This made me think of an aspect of chi kung. Disclaimer: I don't care what chi is or isn't, (because I already know :wink: ) and I don't mean to represent chi kung as the "ultimate martial arts training". :lol: I just like it, and it's not the only thing I do, so relax everyone. :lol:

I do alot of different exercises that involve cultivating the ability to move as slowly, as relaxed and with as little rational thought as is mentally and physically possible.

I usually ****** at it because I am human and want to get it over with. :lol:

But the ooda loop tells me that when I let myself go and enjoy the process, I'm learning to feel comfortable observing and acting at the very same time in a kind of feedback loop. You see, the mind is ideally in a passive state, being filled with nothing but the observation of energy flowing through the body with the breath and being released outward with physical movement. Eyes closed, maybe self hypnotic process.

The actual movements are already habitual and there is no thought of what they are for, except as the expression of the energy that you are passively observing.

I think this process allows the subconcious to savour and drink in the most minute changes that are taking place in the posture, muscles, nerves, cardiovascular system, blood vessels, etc...

Anyway, just slowing down time and suspending the self conscious mind in order to imprint the state of observing/acting as one thing. The yin and the yang as the tao. :lol:


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 13, 2005 10:15 am 
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"that and going spaztic like a tasmanian devil on Meth .... "

I think that's something that everyone can agree on. :wink:

So many ways to find the wolverine or the berserker, the tiger, cobra, the ancient ancestors that live on in the subconcious. Gotta take them out for a walk every now and then, or they get restless. :lol:


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 13, 2005 1:55 pm 
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Stryke wrote:
E gads that almost made sense !!!


Actually a lot of it made sense from a WCK and CMA prespective..

A good example:

fivedragons wrote:
I do alot of different exercises that involve cultivating the ability to move as slowly, as relaxed and with as little rational thought as is mentally and physically possible.

I usually ****** at it because I am human and want to get it over with.


If I didn't know better I would say Five is talking about doing the Siu Lim Tao, the first form in WCK... Are you?

This is how the first section of this form is played very slowly, slower than a Tai Chi form but the reasoning for this as I see it can be found in part here:

fivedragons wrote:
The actual movements are already habitual and there is no thought of what they are for, except as the expression of the energy that you are passively observing.


The slow movement trains the presence of energy used in structural tools such as, forward spring energy, etc., into the subconscious this way. This reminds me of much of our training, as in the chi sao your hands move and adapt to control, defend and attack, but the conscious mind does not, cannot follow the action step by step. Later the actions will happen so fast in front of your eyes that your hands will appear to belong to someone else and moving faster than you can see.. If you notice this though you will choke and loose your <external/selfless> focus, this will cause a slowdown and trip up of flow and if the other guys is good you just got clocked....

fivedragons wrote:
I think this process allows the subconcious to savour and drink in the most minute changes that are taking place in the posture, muscles, nerves, cardiovascular system, blood vessels, etc...
Anyway, just slowing down time and suspending the self conscious mind in order to imprint the state of observing/acting as one thing. The yin and the yang as the tao. :lol:


Yes I agree.. When you play the motion very slowly, so slowly that you no longer associate a particular conscious intent other than perhaps controlling the center as we are taught, the motion, action and energy becomes part of the subconscious, as we say later on after a time, you no longer do kung fu the kung fu does you. :)

Stryke wrote:
I`m sure Jim would quote sensitivity training as Wing Chuns way of shortcutting the loop 8)


It's not clear what the big picture impact is of the chi sao it programs a lot of "stuff."

The idea in all the WCK training is to make the actions automatic and this is why no patterns of attack defense are taught in training attack or defense. This way the only expectation is that energy will be coming your way and you'll have to deal with it. By training using mainly tactile sensitivity with a speciic energy strategy a common thread is used to bypass the visual and cognitive processing center speeding up recognition many fold.

Humans seem to react in a more instinctual way when training by feel vs. sight, folks more easily turn off their “reflective self” and are then able to focus totally on what’s happening outside, the opponent and becoming the echo of his actions.

We talk about the flinch but not what or how the flinch is caused.. Was it caused by a loud noise, a scream, a shout, was it from seeing something coming at you from nowhere, did you suddenly feel someone grab you, touch you, etc?

In the case of feeling something happen I can tell you that the sensitivity training does not need to wait for any conscious processing to act and if the "surprise" is felt you will react and without thought or delay if you train to.

In this case:

fivedragons wrote:
Observe
Oreintate
Decide
Act


Becomes:

Feel => Act

And sometimes

See => Act

Under attacks/controls that are felt the feel will tell your CNS a lot more, a lot faster than will the visual and cognitive process.

So where's the flinch? It all depends IMO as I suggested that the flinch is simply the programmed system responding to the hardwired request.. The hardwire request demands some action and if it can't find anything it does a best guess. In training we can give it a better, faster and a more tactically sound guess.

_________________
Shaolin
M Y V T K F
"Receive what comes, stay with what goes, upon loss of contact attack the line" – The Kuen Kuit


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 14, 2005 5:53 am 
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Hi Jim,

I wasn't specifically referring to SLT, but obviously we're talking about the same process. Different fist, same tao. I practice SLT, but not as wing chun stylist. I'm sure if you saw my version you would ROTFLYAO. :lol:

The exercises I was referring to are sort of like little miniature tai chi forms in appearance, that begin with standing meditation/breathing exercises.

I usually use one of these to zone out on, then move on to SLT and other stuff, just kind of casually rolling along and trying to let the same attitude bleed into everything that follows. Because I do this kind of thing to start off, I don't really try to do anything else even nearly as slowly, just follow whatever feels good at the time. Generally by the time I get into other types of "application" type forms, I find myself exploding into more of the movements as fast as possible.

For my own reference, I call this kind of practice along with things like tai chi, "hard" sanchin, golden bell, etc. as "martial chi kung". As opposed to purely exercise/energy/spiritual chi kung. To me, it's all facets of the same jewel. :D


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 14, 2005 8:23 am 
From a thread on Bill's forum:

http://forums.uechi-ryu.com/viewtopic.p ... c&start=75



--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Autopilot: " You Honestly Don't Know You're Doing It "

Dr. Artwohl's research found that 74 percent of the officers involved in a deadly force encounter acted on autopilot. In other words the actions of three out of four officers in combat were done without conscious thought.

My coauthor Loren Christensen is a career police officer and world-class martial arts instructor, with many best-selling books and video tapes on the fighting arts. He says that many veteran martial artists, highly motivated individuals who have spent 30 or 40 years of their lives ingraining fighting techniques through hundreds of thousands of repetitions, often find after an explosive self-defense situation that they have no recall of what they did. Although the attacker has been reduced to a whimpering bloody pile, the martial artists cannot recall what they did because their responses were purely automatic.

One police officer told me of his powerful autopilot experience:

Let me tell you how powerful this autopilot business is. I came around the corner of this guy's van; I'm just going to tell him to move it. I didn't know he'd already killed one person. You honestly don't know you're doing it. All of a sudden a gun appears in his hand. Then a hole appears in the guy's chest and the guy drops. My first thought was, "Whoa, somebody shot him for me!" I actually looked over my shoulder to see who shot this guy. Then I realized I had my gun in my hand and it was me who had shot him.


Is it possible to see a weapon pointed at you, draw your weapon and shoot without conscious thought? Not only is it possible, in this case it is highly desireable. Of course, his training must be state-of-the-art so that he knows instantly that the threat is indeed a gun, and not a wallet or a cell phone.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------



Please understand that this is not gross motor movement, or even a motion that looks like a flinch. But it would have been interesting to see how he blended his flinch into the draw-and-fire motion.

- Bill


NO Bill that's a flinch and a good one!

Oh yeah and a trained one too. :wink:


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