The Three Rs

ktadmin Post in Articles of Interest, Training notes

Response, Reaction and Reflex

In any hostile situation it is important to maintain control.  Often people think of control as a well thought out process where you act like a Chess Master to subdue your opponent into submission.  In reality thought has little to do with it.  I continually drill my students to stop thinking, breath and just be.  But what does this mean in a real life situation? In a hostile situation you need to be in command of the three Rs, Response, Reaction and Reflex.

Response: Our immediate Response to any situation can determine the outcome by maintaining advantage over your opponent(s).  Responding weakly may give us the advantage by drawing in our opponent(s) with a false sense of security.  Responding aggressively may discourage our opponent(s) from picking you as a target.  This first R, response, requires us to quickly assess the situation and determine our course of action, weak, strong, strong then weak, weak then strong, or some other response will drive our next move.

Reaction: The word reaction is often taken to be an emotional response to a situation, that is NOT what we are talking about here.  To react indicates an immediate action that occurs without thought.  Without training our reaction typically reverts to the flight or fight model though I add a third reaction to the standard two, freeze.  Freezing typically occurs during a moment of indecision or just before flight.  We train to avoid the Freeze or Flight reaction, we train so we can Fight if necessary but mostly to maintain control of our reactions.  Our training removes the emotion and limits fear from the reaction to a situation.  The more we train the more we react with muscle memory to a threat increasing our reaction time.  Muscle memory is devoid of emotions like fear.

Reflex:  Even with muscle memory coming to our aid in reducing fear and increasing reaction time there is still one R remaining.  We may have the correct response and we may even give the correct reaction, but without the proper training our defense will fall apart quickly.  Why?  Muscle memory is only good for the initial few seconds in a situation.  After that you will have to rely on your knowledge and skills to protect and sustain you.  Soldiers are forced to do repetitive training for a reason, it builds a long term procedure for a given situation.  Perhaps we should name the third R repetition however that is only the tool to attain the skill we want.  Given proper training when hit your body will respond to soften the effects of the blow similar to the way your leg jerks out when the doctor hits your knee!  The key component is repetitive training, a common theme.

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