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Spartacus Maximus
Black Belt
Black Belt

Joined: 01 Jun 2014
Posts: 1673

Styles: Shorin ryu

PostPosted: Tue Aug 21, 2018 10:46 pm    Post subject: Stressed, shocked and jumpy Reply with quote

Experiencing a self-defense situation or assault has certain effects on those who go through it. This happens even when the defender was successful in countering the attack and escape.

How long does the after-effects of stress, fear/anxiety paranoia(for lack of a better word) continue? Does it ever really go away? How does one deal with it or help someone else overcome it?

Perhaps the worst thing is being thought of as “anti-social”, “weird” or even “crazy/dangerou” by people who don’t understand what it is.

Personally, there is an acquaintance like this. This person has had to defend themselves only twice, once successfully without much knowledge injury and another less so.

Although it’s been more than a few years since, this person is only comfortable with very close circle of people and behaves in a way that certainly puts off a lot of people. Things like:

a) going out of the way to avoid groups/crowds
b) not letting strangers or anyone come within normal “speaking” distance and sometimes “looking past” or “through” them or taking steps to positon themselves as if expecting an attack(not as taking a stance)
c) cannot stand being startled or approached suddenly and has an intense negative reaction to any physical contact. Even a regular handshake is difficult.

What this person went through is not nearly as traumatic as the horror of war or anything of that nature, but it certainly seems to haunt them. The fine line between caution or awareness and “health issue” has clearly been crossed.


Any ideas or experiences with this issue?
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OneKickWonder
Purple Belt
Purple Belt

Joined: 17 Feb 2018
Posts: 513

Styles: Tang soo do

PostPosted: Wed Aug 22, 2018 1:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

All sounds normal.

Think of the brain as a computer. It runs an operating system we call the mind. It's a very clever system, able to reprogram itself based on experience.

Your friend experienced something traumatic. Their mind was reprogrammed in light of this experience. It was programmed to initiate an emergency response to certain triggers, like someone getting too close, or the sight or expectation of a crowd. It will keep this program until programmed otherwise.

I'm not an expert on this. I know a bit through my own experience. But from what I can gather (both my own figuring plus professional advice I received) the trick to reprogramming the brain is gradual exposure to the triggers, until the subconscious learns that those triggers are not a threat.

Here's my experience. I wasn't attacked. I was out in town alone, when I suddenly became very ill. I thought I might actually die. I was dizzy and disorientated, my heart was going crazy and I was becoming confused. I thought I might be having a heart attack. I was scared of leaving my family but more bizarrely in hindsight (remember I said I was confused) I was also scared of the embarrassment of dropping dead in front of strangers in town. I made it quite far. Then I needed an ambulance.

Physically I'm fine now and have been for a while. But for some time in couldn't go far from home or work. And I certainly couldn't go for a walk on my own. But I knew that was silly, so I made a point of walking daily. First just a few meters, gradually building up. Months later I'm making good progress. I almost seem 'normal' again, but I still can't bring myself to walk the route is walked that day. If I try, I get genuine panic response, elevated heart rate, sharpened senses, twitchy responses etc. So I turn back. There are days when I think I can't be bothered to go out. But I know that is just feeding the demon, so until the demon is fully defeated I will keep pushing myself.

That's my story. Hopefully your friend can take something from it.
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Spartacus Maximus
Black Belt
Black Belt

Joined: 01 Jun 2014
Posts: 1673

Styles: Shorin ryu

PostPosted: Wed Aug 22, 2018 4:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, the behavior is normal insofar as to what would be expected of a traumatized mind. However this person seems to be hyper-sensitive compared to someone who wasn’t traumatized but just generally aware of their surroundings and with a good sense of observation.

It is to the point where unsuspecting(who don’t know) are either put off by it, confused because they don’t know what’s going on or just generally uneasy. All the reactions this person gets from others might not be conscious, but it is very obvious to someone watching the interactions.

The general impression seems to be: “this person has something about them and it might not be a good idea to get too close”.

Most of the time this person is oblivious to what they’re doing or how they might be unsettling to others. One close friend pointed it out and it wasn’t received very well. The person just said it wasn’t a big deal and quickly changed the subject. If this constantly “on guard” mindset increases it could have unpleasant consequences for more than just social life.
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LLLEARNER
Brown Belt
Brown Belt

Joined: 10 Feb 2016
Posts: 684
Location: Central Maine

PostPosted: Wed Aug 22, 2018 2:03 pm    Post subject: Re: Stressed, shocked and jumpy Reply with quote

Spartacus Maximus wrote:
Experiencing a self-defense situation or assault has certain effects on those who go through it. This happens even when the defender was successful in countering the attack and escape.

How long does the after-effects of stress, fear/anxiety paranoia(for lack of a better word) continue? Does it ever really go away? How does one deal with it or help someone else overcome it?

Perhaps the worst thing is being thought of as “anti-social”, “weird” or even “crazy/dangerou” by people who don’t understand what it is.

Personally, there is an acquaintance like this. This person has had to defend themselves only twice, once successfully without much knowledge injury and another less so.

Although it’s been more than a few years since, this person is only comfortable with very close circle of people and behaves in a way that certainly puts off a lot of people. Things like:

a) going out of the way to avoid groups/crowds
b) not letting strangers or anyone come within normal “speaking” distance and sometimes “looking past” or “through” them or taking steps to positon themselves as if expecting an attack(not as taking a stance)
c) cannot stand being startled or approached suddenly and has an intense negative reaction to any physical contact. Even a regular handshake is difficult.

What this person went through is not nearly as traumatic as the horror of war or anything of that nature, but it certainly seems to haunt them. The fine line between caution or awareness and “health issue” has clearly been crossed.


Any ideas or experiences with this issue?


It honestly depends on the person. Recovery is a highly personal thing.

Things that can influence recovery:
How hardened was their mind to begin with?
Do they continuously see their attacker?
Are they continuously in similar environments?
Are they seeing a professional?
Are they actively trying to get better, or going through life without trying?
Has there been closure? Is the person still out on the street?
How personal was the attack?
Are they preparing their mind and body in case it happens again?
Are they turning to self-medication to deal with it?

Some people never recover. Some people can shake it off and others are somewhere in between.

Their recovery ultimately will be like anything in life. Difficult and they will get out of it what they put into it. Only they can do it. You can be there for support and aid, but it is their journey.
_________________
"Those who know don't talk. Those who talk don't know." ~ Lao-tzu, Tao Te Ching

"Walk a single path, becoming neither cocky with victory nor broken with defeat, without forgetting caution when all is quiet or becoming frightened when danger threatens." ~ Jigaro Kano
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JR 137
KF Sempai
KF Sempai

Joined: 10 May 2015
Posts: 2205
Location: In the dojo
Styles: Seido Juku

PostPosted: Wed Aug 22, 2018 7:38 pm    Post subject: Re: Stressed, shocked and jumpy Reply with quote

Spartacus Maximus wrote:
Experiencing a self-defense situation or assault has certain effects on those who go through it. This happens even when the defender was successful in countering the attack and escape.

How long does the after-effects of stress, fear/anxiety paranoia(for lack of a better word) continue? Does it ever really go away? How does one deal with it or help someone else overcome it?

Perhaps the worst thing is being thought of as “anti-social”, “weird” or even “crazy/dangerou” by people who don’t understand what it is.

Personally, there is an acquaintance like this. This person has had to defend themselves only twice, once successfully without much knowledge injury and another less so.

Although it’s been more than a few years since, this person is only comfortable with very close circle of people and behaves in a way that certainly puts off a lot of people. Things like:

a) going out of the way to avoid groups/crowds
b) not letting strangers or anyone come within normal “speaking” distance and sometimes “looking past” or “through” them or taking steps to positon themselves as if expecting an attack(not as taking a stance)
c) cannot stand being startled or approached suddenly and has an intense negative reaction to any physical contact. Even a regular handshake is difficult.

What this person went through is not nearly as traumatic as the horror of war or anything of that nature, but it certainly seems to haunt them. The fine line between caution or awareness and “health issue” has clearly been crossed.


Any ideas or experiences with this issue?


It appears to me as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). PTSD doesn’t have to be triggered by war; it can be triggered by anything the individual views as traumatic, henc one reason why the name was changed from “Shell Shock.”
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sensei8
KF Sensei
KF Sensei

Joined: 23 Feb 2008
Posts: 14145
Location: Houston, TX
Styles: Shindokan Saitou-ryu [Shuri-te/Okinawa-te based]

PostPosted: Wed Aug 22, 2018 10:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just this past Thursday night, 15 minutes before the store closing, a student of mine was robbed at gun point at work. He's a Store Manager of a well known retail brand. This is he's 3rd time in being robbed in his 19 years in retail. The robbers didn't get much, and no one was seriously injured.

2 guys brandishing a shotgun and a very large pistol came into his store, they were wearing hooded sweatshirts, sunglasses, and baseball type caps. At that time, there were 5 customers, 2 clerks, and him, and they were forced to lay face down, except him because he's the Store Manager and only a member of management can open the register without a sale.

The robbers were violent in both language and physical. At the end, and this covered only about 5 minutes, if that, but the robber with the shotgun watched over all but him, while the other robber with the big gun escorted him behind the cash wrap to retrieve all of the cash out of the 3 registers...$150.00 in total.

But, right before the robber that was with my student, instead of ordering him to lay down, the robber hit him right in the head.

The trauma was severe enough that 1 of the clerks quit, and my student is contemplating to quit as well. He had many opportunities to disarm the robber who hit him, but with others in the store, and with there being 2 robbers, and because it's against company policy to take matters in your own hands, he did nothing.

He's taking a few weeks away from the dojo to clear his mind, and seek some professional help, but he feels he's failed as a MAist...and he's not, but there's no telling him that, at this moment. My student's a Yondan!!




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**Proof is on the floor!!!


Last edited by sensei8 on Thu Aug 23, 2018 10:05 pm; edited 2 times in total
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singularity6
Pre-Black Belt
Pre-Black Belt

Joined: 26 Jun 2017
Posts: 957
Location: Michigan
Styles: Jidokwan Taekwondo and Hapkido, Yoshokai Aikido, ZNIR Iaido, Kendo

PostPosted: Thu Aug 23, 2018 5:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

PTSDs are real, are frequently misunderstood by the public, and are not only relevant to combat vets.

Most people seem to talk about self defense scenarios as if they were born ready and super-heroic. "Oh, if I was in that situation I would ______________!"

The truth of the matter is that most (being the general population) have never really faced a truly life-or-death situation. You won't know how you'll react until you're in one. Hopefully, any martial arts training that any of us has received will kick in. But even if training does kick in, it's not always appropriate. Health care professionals, retail workers, and even law enforcement officers all have guidelines on what's reasonable force, and what isn't. Crossing those lines can jeopardize your future!

We just received active-shooter training at my school yesterday. The whole thing has me "stressed, shocked and jumpy."
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5th Geup Jidokwan Tae Kwon Do/Hap Ki Do

(Never officially tested in aikido, iaido or kendo)
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OneKickWonder
Purple Belt
Purple Belt

Joined: 17 Feb 2018
Posts: 513

Styles: Tang soo do

PostPosted: Thu Aug 23, 2018 7:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

singularity6 wrote:
PTSDs are real, are frequently misunderstood by the public, and are not only relevant to combat vets.

Most people seem to talk about self defense scenarios as if they were born ready and super-heroic. "Oh, if I was in that situation I would ______________!"

The truth of the matter is that most (being the general population) have never really faced a truly life-or-death situation. You won't know how you'll react until you're in one. Hopefully, any martial arts training that any of us has received will kick in. But even if training does kick in, it's not always appropriate. Health care professionals, retail workers, and even law enforcement officers all have guidelines on what's reasonable force, and what isn't. Crossing those lines can jeopardize your future!

We just received active-shooter training at my school yesterday. The whole thing has me "stressed, shocked and jumpy."


Exactly this ^^

I see the role of martial arts training in self defence to be to make us physically fitter. Not necessarily more skilled. Faced with a genuine immediate need to fight, you won't do anything clever or precise or intricate. You won't do one step number 25 or whatever. You will function as a frightened wild animal. Your martial arts training will mean you can strike faster and harder perhaps, or get up off the ground more quickly. But it won't make you some sort of ninja.

I think a lot of instructors have a lot to answer for. Very often they cultivate this belief that this technique works against that attack. If they do this, you do that, then they fall down, you restomp the groin then walk away. I worry that that means if people do get attacked and out of pure fear, don't do what they practiced, they'll feel like failures or that the art let them down. What let them down is the marketing.

When practicing self defence aspects of our style, I like to mix it up every now and then. Especially with lower grades. I might refuse to fall when they go for a takedown, or I might counter their counter and stop an inch short of punching them to the side of the head. Often they go through the same sequence of facial expressions in this order, shock, anger, realisation that they need to look beyond the basic technique if they want it for any third more than their next grading.
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LLLEARNER
Brown Belt
Brown Belt

Joined: 10 Feb 2016
Posts: 684
Location: Central Maine

PostPosted: Thu Aug 23, 2018 2:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

sensei8 wrote:
Just this past Thursday night, 15 minutes before the store closing, a student of mine was robbed at gun point at work. He's a Store Manager of a well known retail brand. This is he's 3rd time in being robbed in his 19 years in retail. The robbers didn't get much, and no one was seriously injured.

2 guys brandishing a shotgun and a very large pistol came into his store, they were wearing hooded sweatshirts, sunglasses, and baseball type caps. At that time, there were 5 customers, 2 clerks, and him, and they were forced to lay face down, except the him because he's the Store Manager and only a member of management can open the register without a sale.

The robbers were violent in both language and physical. At the end, and this covered only about 5 minutes, if that, but the robber with the shotgun watched over all but him, while the other robber with the big gun escorted him behind the cash wrap to retrieve all of the cash out of the 3 registers...$150.00 in total.

But, right before the robber that was with my student, instead of ordering him to lay down, the robber hit him right in the head.

The trauma was severe enough that 1 of the clerks quit, and my student is contemplating to quit as well. He had many opportunities to disarm the robber who hit him, but with others in the store, and with there being 2 robbers, and because it's against company policy to take matters in your own hands, he did nothing.

He's taking a few weeks away form the dojo to clear his mind, and seek some professional help, but he feels he's failed as a MAist...and he's not, but there's no telling him that, at this moment. My student's a Yondan!!





I always feel saddened when people are victimized. He did nothing wrong. If I as a concealed carrier had been in the store I likely would have complied but looked for openings if needed. With so many other people in the store it is too much of a risk. A different scenario may have had different results, store policy not withstanding.

He did the right thing, but a shake up like that can have big impacts. I hope he is able to come back to the dojo soon and make a solid decision professionally.

It is unclear whether he was hit in the other robberies, but if this is the difference it could be why his response is different. Or it could be something else.
_________________
"Those who know don't talk. Those who talk don't know." ~ Lao-tzu, Tao Te Ching

"Walk a single path, becoming neither cocky with victory nor broken with defeat, without forgetting caution when all is quiet or becoming frightened when danger threatens." ~ Jigaro Kano


Last edited by LLLEARNER on Thu Aug 23, 2018 2:11 pm; edited 1 time in total
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MatsuShinshii
Black Belt
Black Belt

Joined: 15 Aug 2016
Posts: 1423
Location: Kentucky
Styles: Machimura Suidi Rokudan, Ryukyu Kenpo, Kobudo, Judo

PostPosted: Thu Aug 23, 2018 4:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's called PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder).

This can go on for a bit or for a life time. Its not something that everyone can get over nor do many even understand.

If your friend felt at the time that he was in danger of loosing his life or felt immanent danger, it doesn't matter that he prevailed. Many vets prevailed and live with the effects of PTSD every day. In the worse cases it can lead to tragic results. The main reason that so many vets take their own life.

If he is suffering from this the best thing for you to do as his friend is get him some help.
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The person who succeeds is not the one who holds back, fearing failure, nor the one who never fails-but the one who moves on in spite of failure.
Charles R. Swindoll
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