Training for effects of Stress

Training for effects of Stress

This is a discussion on Training for effects of Stress within the Defensive Carry & Tactical Training forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; I have a series of audio files of Col. Grossman on my Ipad, it’s one of his “Bullet Proof mind” seminars. I listen to this ...

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    Distinguished Member Array 4my sons's Avatar
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    Training for effects of Stress

    I have a series of audio files of Col. Grossman on my Ipad, it’s one of his “Bullet Proof mind” seminars. I listen to this every once in a while to remind me of the mental aspects of being prepared. In it he talks about the physical effects of stress on the human body.

    Vasoconstriction it is called, blood vessels begin to constrict in your extremities and the reduced blood flow causes a loss of dexterity. As your heart rate climbs through different rates, you lose certain degrees of motor functions. It begins small, and ends with extreme impairment, coupled with these physical effects are effects on our mental processing as well. At the end of the spectrum, you are left with only extreme gross motor skills, running and grappling “like a big old hairy bear” and very little mental cognition except for the most basic sense of fight or flight as he describes it.

    Col. Grossman says the effects of Vasoconstriction are the same when you are out in the cold. So to the point of my question. It sounds like this winter would be a prime opportunity to run a little drill with our EDC handgun and other peripheral gear to see if in a stressful situation, we are still able to effectively deploy our equipment as we do on the range in practice.

    The “Stress drill”

    We set out our EDC gear, load our mag carriers with empty mags, load our handgun with an empty mag or snap caps and maybe even load an empty round in a stovepipe jam, or two snap caps in a double feed situation, then go outside and enjoy the cold until you feel a pretty good drop in the dextarity in your hands. The next step is simple, clear the jam, and then do a mag swap as well as any other manipulation drills you normally run in your practice routine.

    I’m interested to see how much of an effect this has on me. I can remember hunting in the cold, trying to do things once your hands are freezing is pretty tuff. The fine dexterity goes away pretty quick.

    Any one tried this before? Any instructors recommend this as a training aid or just to see what it is like in a “stress” situation?
    GhostMaker likes this.
    "fundamental principle of American law that a government and its agents are under no general duty to provide public services, such as police protection, to any individual citizen." [Warren v. District of Columbia,(D.C. Ct. of Ap., 1981)]
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    VIP Member Array GhostMaker's Avatar
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    I actually had the opportunity to attend the Bullet Proof Mind course that Col. Dave puts on for law enforcement. This course was a 1-day event and was geared for us specifically, with a dual emphasis on Pre-Shift preparation and post shooting management. While the aspect of motor skills you pointed out is important, Dave considered this as part of our ongoing training due to our profession. As such he did point out the critical skills we needed to train on and the physical effects of being in a gunfight. In the Shift Preparation portion we covered equipment readiness and most importantly Mindset. Since many of us were seasoned officers and assigned to higher risk duties (be it SWAT, or in my case Drug Interdiction), our focus was on "today is the day". Simply put, we would mentally prepare for having to employ lethal force on someone. Many if not most officers become complacent in their duties and loose the mental edge required to survive a gunfight. Dave's concentration with us was to regain that mental edge and maintain it. He also focused on the post shooting trauma that officers undergo, and how to recognize it in our lives.

    This of course is a highlight of the course he tailored for us. He also referenced his earlier work "On Killing" and worked the psychological aspects of killing into the mix as well. I am a big fan of his work, and as an instructor I would rate him amongst the best I have been taught by over the years...and that is a fairly large number.
    U.S. Army Desert Storm Veteran
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    Distinguished Member Array 4my sons's Avatar
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    Ghost Maker,
    Yes, this is only one small aspect of training. But the one I believe is the most often overlooked and yet my at that critical moment, be the biggest factor that can foul our actions to defend ourselves. For those of us that are not in the Military or LEO, this is a critical issue we may have never addressed or even thought of much less attempted to train for or at the least experience so we can recognize it and possible alter our gear selection and tactics to account for it. Those of us that have hunted have surely experienced this to some degree, but may have never made the connection between that experience and that it may happen when we need it the least.
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    "fundamental principle of American law that a government and its agents are under no general duty to provide public services, such as police protection, to any individual citizen." [Warren v. District of Columbia,(D.C. Ct. of Ap., 1981)]
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    The problem I see with training by trying to duplicate the effects of adrenaline dump by affecting the body through cold, exhaustion or other means is that the solutions for those difficulties are not the same as the solution for the effects of stress. I train for those effects with FonF, rehearsal and the breathing techniques taught and advocated by Colonel Grossman and many others. While cold weather training may be very effective in combating cold weather difficulties, it doesn't replicate an adrenaline dump.
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    VIP Member Array GhostMaker's Avatar
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    Oh don't get me wrong, I agree! I was simply weighing in on my experience with Col. Grossman. The course you are talking about is one of the best I have taken over the years. By that I mean that his insight into the topic can reach a wide variety of people and skill levels. Sorry if I came across differently, these forums can limit communication sometimes.
    Aceoky likes this.
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    Distinguished Member Array 4my sons's Avatar
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    Thanks for the feedback,

    Ghost Maker, I took no offence to your post, It's good to hear that Grossman is as informative and knowledgeable as he seems. Make me what to attend one of his lectures all the more now.

    Mike, I'm not saying this is an end of all training, or even a 100" accurate "experience", just that the effects of Vasoconstriction should be taken into account in ones preparation so as to recognize it and it not be a surprise that derails your attempts to defend yourself. Dave's Combat Breathing is an integral part as well as many other aspects he and many others talk about. If you have experienced it, and learned how to compensate for it. it's just "one" more tool in your arsenal to help you be better prepared for possible issues that will arise.
    "fundamental principle of American law that a government and its agents are under no general duty to provide public services, such as police protection, to any individual citizen." [Warren v. District of Columbia,(D.C. Ct. of Ap., 1981)]
    If I have to explain it, you wouldn't understand

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    Distinguished Member Array TSiWRX's Avatar
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    It's all pieces of the same puzzle.

    One local instructor likes to have the "second in line" student do a quick little sprint, followed by constantly jogging-in-place or jumping-jacks, with the "on-deck" student dunking their hands in a bucket of ice water.

    It's all pieces of the same puzzle - we can't train for the exact circumstance, but we can get closer to various aspects of it via various types of training.

    Force-on-Force is seen by many to be the penultimate next to actually "being there," but one critical thing to remember about F-on-F is that you as the student must -NOT- "game" it. It's only as real as you make it. Train-itis can set in, particularly for those who are Type-A enough that they feel that they must succeed. Remember that the goal of training is to find out where our failure points are so that we can learn ways to push beyond: a failure in training is not failure, it's simply the prerequisite to success.
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    When I have experienced extreme stress situations, I have had the sense of extreme slow motion with lots of time to weigh the options and choose the best course. In reality, it was over in seconds. I have never had any training that duplicated that sense of extreme slow motion. Training helps, but nobody knows how they will react and if they will react the same in each situation.
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    Distinguished Member Array brocktice's Avatar
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    Last winter I did an IDPA shotgun side match in the cold. For safety reasons (i.e. none of us trained regularly with gloves) we were not allowed gloves while shooting. My fingers were so stiff, took forever to reload the tube on my Mossberg. It would certainly be an interesting exercise, not sure how well it mimics stress, but it is a situation you may encounter in real life anyway.
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    VIP Member Array Harryball's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 4my son View Post
    I have a series of audio files of Col. Grossman on my Ipad, it’s one of his “Bullet Proof mind” seminars. I listen to this every once in a while to remind me of the mental aspects of being prepared. In it he talks about the physical effects of stress on the human body.

    Vasoconstriction it is called, blood vessels begin to constrict in your extremities and the reduced blood flow causes a loss of dexterity. As your heart rate climbs through different rates, you lose certain degrees of motor functions. It begins small, and ends with extreme impairment, coupled with these physical effects are effects on our mental processing as well. At the end of the spectrum, you are left with only extreme gross motor skills, running and grappling “like a big old hairy bear” and very little mental cognition except for the most basic sense of fight or flight as he describes it.

    Col. Grossman says the effects of Vasoconstriction are the same when you are out in the cold. So to the point of my question. It sounds like this winter would be a prime opportunity to run a little drill with our EDC handgun and other peripheral gear to see if in a stressful situation, we are still able to effectively deploy our equipment as we do on the range in practice.

    The “Stress drill”

    We set out our EDC gear, load our mag carriers with empty mags, load our handgun with an empty mag or snap caps and maybe even load an empty round in a stovepipe jam, or two snap caps in a double feed situation, then go outside and enjoy the cold until you feel a pretty good drop in the dextarity in your hands. The next step is simple, clear the jam, and then do a mag swap as well as any other manipulation drills you normally run in your practice routine.

    I’m interested to see how much of an effect this has on me. I can remember hunting in the cold, trying to do things once your hands are freezing is pretty tuff. The fine dexterity goes away pretty quick.

    Any one tried this before? Any instructors recommend this as a training aid or just to see what it is like in a “stress” situation?
    I took a class back in January. It was 15 below 0 with a 20 mph cross wind. It was cold. My fingers from the middle joint down were numb. Needless to say my hands were flippers at that point. It does give you a understanding of what to expect. Does it simulate dynamic stress? A little.
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    Distinguished Member Array 4my sons's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harryball View Post
    I took a class back in January. It was 15 below 0 with a 20 mph cross wind. It was cold. My fingers from the middle joint down were numb. Needless to say my hands were flippers at that point. It does give you a understanding of what to expect. Does it simulate dynamic stress? A little.
    Harry, WOW, My hats off to you, I don't think I would have even gone outside in that temp. Then again, we don't get that here in VA.
    "fundamental principle of American law that a government and its agents are under no general duty to provide public services, such as police protection, to any individual citizen." [Warren v. District of Columbia,(D.C. Ct. of Ap., 1981)]
    If I have to explain it, you wouldn't understand

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    VIP Member Array Harryball's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 4my son View Post
    Harry, WOW, My hats off to you, I don't think I would have even gone outside in that temp. Then again, we don't get that here in VA.
    Thanks, It really is something to train in. I have done it before, but never that cold. We were on the range for 2 1/2 hours. It took a good hour to thaw out and get back to normal. IMO the benefits of knowing exactly what your body will do under these types of weather conditions is very important as a CCer...
    GhostMaker likes this.
    Don"t let stupid be your skill set....

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    Quote Originally Posted by Harryball View Post
    Thanks, It really is something to train in. I have done it before, but never that cold. We were on the range for 2 1/2 hours. It took a good hour to thaw out and get back to normal. IMO the benefits of knowing exactly what your body will do under these types of weather conditions is very important as a CCer...
    Now Harry, you know that being a resident of Michigan you did that course in a pair of Bermuda shorts and a T-Shirt! Bahahahahahahahahahahah!

    Honestly though, yall' have some winter weather up there that would make an Eskimo move to Southern Florida. Take my hat off to you...(then put it right back on to cover my cold, bald, melon-sized head).
    Harryball likes this.
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    VIP Member Array Harryball's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GhostMaker View Post
    Now Harry, you know that being a resident of Michigan you did that course in a pair of Bermuda shorts and a T-Shirt! Bahahahahahahahahahahah!

    Honestly though, yall' have some winter weather up there that would make an Eskimo move to Southern Florida. Take my hat off to you...(then put it right back on to cover my cold, bald, melon-sized head).
    Your killing me.
    Don"t let stupid be your skill set....

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    Distinguished Member Array Chaplain Scott's Avatar
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    I am currently reading Dave's book, On Combat, where he goes into even more detail.

    My take on this 4MySon, is that ALL "effective" training helps, but that the vasoconstriction that occurs with the adrenalin dump is fundamentally different from the kind of vasoconstriction that occurs from cold or exertion.

    The best training for that is, as Mike1956 said, is training that actually dumps that adrenalin into your system--Force On Force training with simunitions. There is also a new system out there (can't remember the name) that has a shirt/jersey you wear, when it senses a "hit" from an opponents gun, it sends an adjustable electric shot to that spot. The instructor can set the pain level to be minor, or continuous, so your have to "work thru" the ongoing pain and adrenaline........
    Scott, US Army 1974-2004

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