FIGHTING DURING ADRENALINE DUMP
by John Perkins
(Editor's Note: we get asked so often how a person can respond with anything other than gross simplistic responses during a hellish attack that we decided to reprint John's thoughts on the subject.)
The physical and psychological stress factors involved in a real life and death
encounter are always to be taken into consideration while training.
As described in Col. Grossman's book on combat a person must practice constantly under
realistic conditions to have a chance to respond properly when needed. This is why in KCD
there is an emphasis on developing dropping force on all strikes right from the beginning.
Basic close combative strikes are used primarily. As you grow in ability to become more
supple and able to evade and absorb strikes a person will be able to incorporate the KCD
principles into their hard wiring.
This does take many months and even years of practice. If you only have very limited
time to practice for serious self defense then a person should only practice the most
basic drop strikes and side stepping with returning multiple drop strikes.
If a person is confronted by a seasoned attacker, who has some serious training, or just
practices surprise attacks, perhaps they will have some chance.
If a person has worked constantly with the KCD principles they will develop in line with
the amount of realistic movement they practice.
You will find that spastic, limited movements are not the only responses people will
have during duress.
When a speeding vehicle comes at a person suddenly, some are able to step out of the
path. When someone tries to stick a person with a sword the person generally steps back
if the attack is seen.
Yes, in a crowded theater during a fire people will grab at a door handle because it is
what they know.
People will also, in many cases, push people out of their path and step onto fallen
bodies and keep going until they reach the door. Some will even find their balance when
pushed into a wall or furniture etc.
Athletes will, in most cases, have better balance and coordination than non athletes.
They will often fare better performing movements that are not part of their athletic
practice. This is what I call the cross training connection.
The athlete will have some advantage over a non athlete not only by natural ability but
training of the body which allows a better brain body connection.
Training the KCD principles develops the innate abilities that we all have which can
allow better response to emergency conditions overall.
In KCD training, contact flow slow exercises are gradually brought up to speed once a
student develops through rigorous training. The ability to move at extreme speed is
enhanced by the addition of even the slightest amount of balance and looseness which
does come about through repetitive non cooperative training properly done.
Many of our law enforcement and military persons have found that because of practicing
the KCD principles they were often better able to react correctly under stressful and
sudden conditons than thier cohorts.
Even while being beaten by a couple of men with long clubs one of our students was able
to remain pliable while rolling around on the ground which enabled him to escape. He
later was able to deal with an enraged psycho at his job working in a criminal psycho
His attacker was over 100 pounds heavier and had demolished a couple of the other
attendants who had grappling training and years of experience.
The KCD student had only a few weeks of work at the hospital and much experience in KCD.
This is a constant theme with all of our members who must go into harm's way for a
Yes--- If you practice unbalancing an enraged assailant over and over again or if you
practice evading a sudden rush and return with massive counter strikes and you have more
basic balance and timing and power than someone who only practices simple striking and
blocking you will have a better chance at surviving a serious chaotic violent attack.
That is why we at KCD train the basics first and then add the principles along with
simple strikes, evasion and return and all other variables that we can possibly work out
during many hours of practice over time.
We have members who have many years of combatives training which they found was greatly
enhanced by developing KCD principles.
Remember, a gifted master fighter can make almost anything work. Do not be fooled by a
master instructor who will use his great ability to put a lie to a student's training at
a beginning level.
It is sad but some teachers feel threatened by what is perceived as new so they crush
the sprout before it has a chance to grow.
Yes superfluous, fancy traing will not get a person ready for a real life and death
battle. Neither will extremely limited training allow for long term growth of a martial
warrior. Experience is the best teacher--- if you survive.
Simple strikes and evasion with scenario type training will fare most well enough when
time constraints are limited. If you have time and can seriously practice then
development of grace under fire can begin.
THE TOUGHNESS FACTOR
At class in Nanuet N.Y. the other night I worked with two students and worked on a concept
I called the Toughness Factor.
One of the students I call "Meat" because of his basic pit bull consititution. He is a
third degree black belt in KCD and the type of person who the more you hit the more he
seems to get more energy with which to come back at you. The other student is Andre who
is a second degree black belt in KCD and a boxing instructor. I was watching Andre
counter strike Meat and saw that some of his strikes would not have done enough damage to
take a guy like Meat out. Meat weighs about 240 lbs. at 5' 9". Andre weighs about 210 at
6' 1". Generally speaking Andre could knock out most regular and strong men with a good
punch to the head or a well delivered combination. But when you are dealing with a person
who regularly deals professionally with all types of violent men of all sizes and usually
has his way you must make sure that your strikes work asap.
I had Meat work at a controlled clip and come at Andre from various non planned angles
using enough force to make Andre take notice. Andre was instructed to use as many Guided
Chaos principles as possible in order to strike decisively to the most vulnerable targets
he could find. Andre has done many drills which enhance his ability to be very precise
while moving against a moving target. Here not only his own balance but feeling the
balance of his opponent was of paramount importance. This is primarily because if he
could not find an appropriate target to hit while eluding his training partner's strikes
he MUST find a way to overtly or subtley take his balance thus taking away some or all of
the power of Meat's strikes.
As Meat started to throw a barrage of strikes from all limbs and many directions Andre
worked on finding where to step while simultaneously keeping his head protected and his
torso as liquid as possible in order to absorb the still breath taking strikes. As this
was occurring Andre found areas on Meat where he could pulse with his hand or elbow or
shoulder which would throw off his opponent. Each step he took was not as large as he at
first imagined. Andre found that smaller incremental steps were more effective and
allowed him to remain close to his training partner which allowed him to find better
targets to strike. He could get off a blind side round house to the temple by shooting
his hand behind and over his partner's shoulder and land cleanly on the temple while
simultaneously bumping his opponent with his right hip causing Meat to slightly stumble
and lean forward bending at the waist which allowed Andre to follow up with a full step
in and follow up backward elbow to the eye socket.
Of course all these strikes are pulled when it comes to contacting the delicate targets
like the temple and eye socket but the targeting was good and clean and very close.
This type of training with a more advanced KCD/GC student is paramount in developing
serious fight stopping ability. You can never know how much resolve or toughness your
attacker may have. You must know how to unbalance while simultaneouly striking your
This type of training does work when the real attack comes. Assuming that you can get
even a tiny sighting of some furtive movement coming toward you you can respond by moving
out of the way and leaving the area or, if you cannot leave and must fight, you will find
your balance while moving to a spot that can thwart the attacker and return with whatever
violence is needed to keep you safe. REMEMBER even under severe adrenaline dump you can,
if you train often and correctly, move in such a way as to do all of the above. If
someone, for instance, has been so nice as to show you a knife a split second before
stabbing you you naturally will move like a jet away from the blade. You will not, in
most cases, stand still and be capable only of very limited movement if your training has
been about moving with a blade wielding maniac. What you train for is what you will get.
Yes it may not be nearly as smooth as in class but you will, at least, have some working
knowledge and ability to do more than someone who is trained by the numbers without total
Take care, JP
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