If I am better at generating and delivering power, I have the advantage. If you know how to disrupt balance and can do it at the right time, you can neutralize my advantage in power. If I can keep the encounter at a range where your tools are ineffective, I have the advantage. If you can control how I perceive time and opportunity, the advantage is yours. There's a lot there, but the actual physics of it is pretty clean. Simple.
That's the baseball bat problem. The problem of someone swinging a bat at your head isn't that complicated. The closer you can contact to his shoulders (hips, technically...) the less force you need to absorb or dissipate. The bat can only move along one plane and each plane has specific dead zones. The momentum of the weapon in a committed attack gives you certain gifts and the constrained momentum of an uncommitted attack limits the damage you will take. It's not hard, physically.
But mentally and socially, knowing what to do is a far cry from doing it. In the last post, there were some good comments, especially from the BTDT. Uncomfortable... pressure to succeed... concerned... PISSED... cold and very, very focused... Some speculation that it is probably the same chemical, but interpreted differently. I would go so far as to say the hormone is properly used instead of taking over. LawDog says something to the effect that the hindbrain has the authority to take you over.
A very, very primitive part of your brain has the power and the inclination to shut down the sophisticated parts of your brain, including your martial arts skill, and revert to an animal or child, a screaming monkey or passive victim hoping mommy can save you.
So we get past that. All of the BTDT regular commenters have done it. The question is , "How?"
Anonymous speculates that adrenaline junkies get the same thing, so it might be a training issue. That sounds wrong. The trouble with chemical reactions is how to tell if we have learned to deal with it or we have desensitized to it. That's a profound issue, because if it is a purely desensitizing process, there truly is no substitute for experience and training in complex skills will not help you at all until a certain threshold number of encounters. If it is a training issue, it can be taught...
Evidence- Mark brings up that in my one operation where I was assigned as shooter, I got a lot of the adrenaline effects that didn't occur anymore in hand-to-hand stuff. Tunnel vision (which actually seems to help with accurate shooting); time dilation; extraneous thoughts and new after-effects. All true. But I broke through it faster and was operational almost immediately. So it appears (aware that a sample of one isn't much for statistical purposes) that breaking the freeze can be learned or modeled as a skill. That's good to know, and might give us the crack we need to teach it.
It's also clear that BTDT people don't feel the fear the same way. Or so it seems. There may be no difference between "Oh my god I'm gonna die!!" and "This isn't going to end well." The only difference may be the words. You can't measure what is in someone else's head.
It may be as simple as having done it a hundred times without anything too bad happening. Maybe it is simply unknown territory for some and less so for others. It may be the difference between singing in public for the first time and a professional performer.
Or it could be a difference in wiring. I was raised in rural eastern Oregon. Some of those ranchers and loggers were tough. But when it got down to it, did they handle pain better (using will to ignore it) or did they feel it less (just insensitive nerves)? How would you tell?
So- deal with fear better? Or feel it less?
I'll think more on this. This emotional aspect is what I fear is missing from most training- or worse, students are simply told that it won't happen to people trained in X ("because we meditate" or "Because we practice self-discipline" or "because mushin will take over," or....)
And this is just one emotion- fear. And just one way- fear inside yourself. A panicked animal is a different animal to fight than a rational person, even if the animal is human. Incoming rage seems to trigger a monkey-minded fear in most people. And a truly cold killer, someone who can take your life or simply, coldly, put you down and put the cuffs on without engaging any emotion at all is another thing entirely.
Lots here. Consider the surface barely scratched.