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Showing posts from March, 2011

The friction grip

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Problems with the grip reflex

While I'm on the topic of reflexes, I thought I'd deal with one that I've previously alluded to but which I think deserves specific attention, namely the "grip reflex".

What is the grip reflex? Briefly put, it is the human tendency to "hold on to what you've got" in times of danger or other emergency. The origins of this reflex are easy to understand; when control is of the essence (eg. in climbing, holding or pulling etc.) your capacity to keep a firm and constant grip with your hands is vital.

The problem is that this reflex can also work against you. There are times when letting go of your grip is vital. One such time is in a civilian defence encounter. As one of my colleagues at the Traditional Fighting Arts Forums is fond of saying: “When you are holding your attacker, you have one less hand to hit him with.”

But it gets more complicated than that. You also lose your ability to use that arm for deflecting oncomin…

The "flinch reflex"

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Introduction

Martial artists often talk about the the "flinch reflex". Some insist on "training it out" or "getting over it" (if that is at all possible - more on that later).

Others like Tony Blauer talk about the need to "transform" this reflex - ie. to harness it and turn it into a productive reaction rather than an essentially submissive one (see his "SPEAR" methodology).

With due respect to Mr Blauer and others like him, I think the traditional martial arts have many hundreds of years head start on this idea. In this article I propose to show just how traditional techniques build on the flinch reflex so as to create a supremely effective response in civilian defence scenarios.

What is the flinch reflex?

This website defines the flinch reflex as follows:"The flinch response is an unconscious response to a perceived threat. Throughout human history, this survival mechanism has protected countless people from serious injury, blin…