Simulating stress?

This is a discussion on Simulating stress? within the Defensive Carry & Tactical Training forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; Has any one ever tried using physical exhaustion to simulate stress for training? Maybe this is a common practice or a bad idea long disproven ...

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Thread: Simulating stress?

  1. #1
    Member Array Bricks's Avatar
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    Simulating stress?

    Has any one ever tried using physical exhaustion to simulate stress for training? Maybe this is a common practice or a bad idea long disproven and dismissed but it is something I have been thinking about lately.

    In the classes I have taken, stress was acheived in a more literal sense by the demands of the course. The instrucor and difficulties of the course of fire created a sort of pressure that had us (the students) stressed. But when I exert myself to the point of exhaustion ( say sprinting to the point of failure) my physical symptoms resemble those associated with life threatening fear. Atleast as I under stand them. Rapid heart beat, shaking hands and loss of fine motor skills, lack of clearity of thought, nauseau, etc... Thats the way I feel when I really push myself, physically. I also remember feeling similar when I was mugged at gun point before I carried. Any way...

    I remember getting pretty beat during the drills but nothing like the kind of exhaustion Im talking about. So, I guess I was hoping to run this passed you guys and find out what you thought. I practice at a private sandpit so I dont have to worry about making an ***** out of myself in front of too many people ( doubt I could get away with such antics at the club). Im not worried about. wasting time but I dont want to develope any training scars.

    Do you folks think I should put it in play or just keep saving up for more real training?

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    VIP Member Array First Sgt's Avatar
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    I believe you've hit the nail on the head, when you relate the "exhaustion" of a good training course, to stress, and how you may or may not function because of it.

    I think your last line question is the answer to your dilema....my reply is "Save up and continue to take MORE training from REPUTABLE instructors/companies, even to the point that IF you have to travel some distance (i.e. Tactical Response out of Camden, TN), the money spent will be worth the effort expended in adding to your toolbox. If and when you are in a "high stress" encounter, and you have concentrated on Mindset, Tactics, Skill, and Gear, along with good training, then I think this statement will become reality: You will default to the highest level of training of which you've mastered... JMO
    Sometimes in life you have to stand your ground. It's a hard lesson to learn and even most adults don't get it, but in the end only I can be responsible for my life. If faced with any type of adversity, only I can overcome it. Waiting for someone else to take responsibility is a long fruitless wait.

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    Ex Member Array azchevy's Avatar
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    Force on force classes are good. I am part of a local force on force group and as we are friends, we beat on each other and take it to the next level, more than if we were in a class with strangers, so it really gets the adrenaline up.... and the bruising.
    rick21 likes this.

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    Member Array Eichorn's Avatar
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    I believe that physical exertion is one element commonly used to increase the stress on a shooter, with time limits and decision making (such as target identification) being some others. Performing a very physically demanding workout and then following up with some shooting drills would be an interesting and likely beneficial way to train on occasion. I would suggest some caution, at least initially, when performing the shooting drills due to the likelihood of skill breakdown.

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    VIP Member Array dukalmighty's Avatar
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    I just wait til I gotta P really bad and then try to shoot while trying not to P myself
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    Distinguished Member Array Elk Hunter's Avatar
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    OK dukalmighty, next time take an exlax just before going to the range, just rachet up that stress to another level

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    Ex Member Array Harryball's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bricks View Post
    Has any one ever tried using physical exhaustion to simulate stress for training? Maybe this is a common practice or a bad idea long disproven and dismissed but it is something I have been thinking about lately.

    In the classes I have taken, stress was acheived in a more literal sense by the demands of the course. The instrucor and difficulties of the course of fire created a sort of pressure that had us (the students) stressed. But when I exert myself to the point of exhaustion ( say sprinting to the point of failure) my physical symptoms resemble those associated with life threatening fear. Atleast as I under stand them. Rapid heart beat, shaking hands and loss of fine motor skills, lack of clearity of thought, nauseau, etc... Thats the way I feel when I really push myself, physically. I also remember feeling similar when I was mugged at gun point before I carried. Any way...

    I remember getting pretty beat during the drills but nothing like the kind of exhaustion Im talking about. So, I guess I was hoping to run this passed you guys and find out what you thought. I practice at a private sandpit so I dont have to worry about making an ***** out of myself in front of too many people ( doubt I could get away with such antics at the club). Im not worried about. wasting time but I dont want to develope any training scars.

    Do you folks think I should put it in play or just keep saving up for more real training?
    Your not hurting yourself with exercise. It is good to be in shape, so what you are doing is fine, Just make sure your fundamentals remain good. That being said, you should consider professional training as well. Do both, I really do not see any harm in it....

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    VIP Member Array suntzu's Avatar
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    This isn't technicaly shooting under stress. We set up 2-5 targets at random distances and angles from the "firing line". On the ground under the targets are timers (egg timers will do). Then do a regular training session ignoring the targets with the egg timers. When a timer goes off you engage that target. We use printouts of BG's for those targets. Makes for good reaction time and target ID. (sometimes we put "innocent targets" near or next to the BG target). The timers are set anywhere from 5 to 45 minutes. Cool thing is you can be in the middle of a reload at the time.

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    VIP Member Array shockwave's Avatar
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    Right, suntzu correctly points out that exhaustion isn't stress.

    If you expect to be physically exhausted from some sort of activity, and you want to train for how shooting would be under such conditions, then exercise hard and practice shooting.

    The sort of stress that arises from a self-defense encounter is quite different. It is the result of a rapid dump of adrenaline into your system that triggers the "fight-or-flight" mechanism. Different people have different reactions to that. Some of the more common effects include:

    1. Rapid heartbeat
    2. Sweating
    3. Tunnel vision
    4. Auditory exclusion
    5. Trembling in the extremities
    6. Loss of coordination
    7. Confusion
    8. Time dialation (sense of time "slowing down")
    9. Short-term memory loss
    10. Nausea
    11. Insensitivity to pain

    There are more reactions, but the above are typical. While you can't reasonably generate enough adrenaline under controlled conditions to precisely mimic the amount you'd experience in a real-life encounter, you can produce some - enough to get comfortable operating in some combination of the above effects.

    I've found that participating in IDPA and IPSC competition helps. You are in a contest, trying to beat other shooters, in semi-realistic scenarios requiring transitions and drawing and shooting from various kinds of cover. You don't know when the timer will go off. People are watching. A mistake can cost you in points and time. Put it all together and you should feel some adrenaline surge.

    Just as boxers and martial artists get comfortable operating "in the zone," you can get used to the effects of adrenaline and anticipate and control and adjust for them. With enough practice, you can eliminate some of the more usual effects because they will become "normal" for you. In disciplines like Krav Maga, classes often feature things like instructors screaming at you, other students pushing and hitting you, loud music and bright flashing lights - all designed to convey this experience.
    "It may seem difficult at first, but everything is difficult at first."

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    Member Array Eichorn's Avatar
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    I believe what the OP is saying, is that intense physical exertion mimics some of the symptoms of the flight or fight response. Which, I would tend to agree with.

    1. Rapid heartbeat
    2. Sweating
    3. Tunnel vision
    4. Auditory exclusion
    5. Trembling in the extremities
    6. Loss of coordination
    7. Confusion
    8. Time dialation (sense of time "slowing down")
    9. Short-term memory loss
    10. Nausea
    11. Insensitivity to pain
    All of the parts in bold can be experienced during intense physical activity. In a very simple way, both the flight or fight response and intense exertion are similar, in that they both make shooting much more difficult.

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    VIP Member Array shockwave's Avatar
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    Eichorn: Agreed.

    What I'm getting at is the idea that stress-induced reactions will have a signature pattern unique to the individual, so for practicing operation under stress, it's probably best to practice under stress rather than exhaustion. You are quite right to point out that there may be overlap between the effects of exhaustion and stress - and I agree.
    "It may seem difficult at first, but everything is difficult at first."

  13. #12
    Member Array Eichorn's Avatar
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    What I'm getting at is the idea that stress-induced reactions will have a signature pattern unique to the individual, so for practicing operation under stress, it's probably best to practice under stress rather than exhaustion.
    Ah, I see what you're saying; that is a good point.

    Using something like IDPA makes perfect sense, as it is both stress producing and skill specific. However, one thing I am wondering about is whether coping with stress has to be skill specific to be of benefit or whether one can benefit from other stress inducing activities? In other words, if one engages in a competitive activity that induces an adrenaline response, does that increase one's ability to cope with stress in other situations, such as combat shooting?

  14. #13
    Distinguished Member Array mr.stuart's Avatar
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    My first three wives gave me all the stress and exhaustion I needed. I figure I can handle any amount of pressure.
    Pain is the best teacher,but nobody wants to go to his class.


    When the past smothers the present, there is only desperation. When the future absorbs the present, life stands still. In either case a decision must be made because you only live now and you are only what you are now.

  15. #14
    VIP Member Array 40Bob's Avatar
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    I just posted this in another thread; One of the SWAT schools I attended had us run 1/4 mile wearing a gas mask, run right up to the firing line, peel off the mask and begin the combat course.

  16. #15
    Senior Member Array Chad Rogers's Avatar
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    No amount of physical exhaustion, in which your mind knows you are not really in a life and death moment, will ever replicate the stress of an actual life and death moment. That's just utter fantasy.
    "People who take an Internet handle of a great warrior, are usually the first to go fetal when crunch time comes." - Me

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