Why Force on Force
Effective training can help you increase performance even under heavy stress. Special Operations personnel get huge amounts of stress in selection and follow up training for this very purpose. These Instructors are determining if they have the makeup to "fight through" the trauma to the brain and body, as well as the desire to build muscle memory through repetition. As we experience a traumatic event or stress, heart rate increases and our performance decreases. Large muscle groups get vital blood supplies and adrenaline is rushed to the larger muscle groups in order to facilitate fight or flight responses to fear or danger.
Our skill will rapidly decline based on our conditioning, training and experience from the cognitive brain functions of thinking rationally down through the emotional and then to the survival part of our brains. This means that where we were once able to think and function at the highest level without any fog we now must depend on the lower brain functions that drive the larger muscle groups and perform mainly on muscle memory. When this happens fine motor skills like the fingers do not work as well and visual and audible acuity is reduced or completely absent. If you have ever experienced a moment where you didn't see or hear things happening around you during a stressful situation this is what we are talking about. Classic stress drives the brain functions to the lowest levels. With proper training and experience the opposite may even happen. Perhaps you have heard veterans or personally experienced how acute hearing and other senses become prior to a fight, that is an indication of experience or effective training. The brain is sensing danger and kicks into high gear all the survival functions mingled with high level thinking, and with this enhanced awareness you will for the most part not only survive the fight, but dominate it. It is the rookie or the new guy in the fight that is a grave risk because he has no frame of reference in his brain, no similar experience to what is currently happening. He can only rely on others (veterans) or his training if it was effective to index a related memory and apply the lessons learned. If he has not had effective training and he survives his first contact or fight, he will now have a permanent memory on file that will enable him to use that experience in the future.
The classic response to fear or danger is experienced by everyone, but can be reduced or managed by stress induced training and slow repetitive muscle memory drills. This is why in our classes on tactics and force on force we practice all of our movements with slow controlled movements until we know them well. We then add some stress by a partner or Instructor increasing his speed on the assault or the distractions of sight, sound, taste, touch and smell. This type of training will increase memory retention and shorten training time.
It is possible with sufficient training and experience in conflict to manage stress responses more effectively and thereby forcing a higher level of brain function to continue. This is evident in combat veterans that have had sustained exposure to stressful environments. These veterans become calmer than newly exposed personnel and are generally more effective in a fight because they are accustomed to the immediate adjustments they must make in the brain and body to be successful. In my opinion ALL combative training should focus primarily on gross motor movements that are resilient to decreased brain functions, and include a stress component of one or more of the five senses.