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Old February 20, 2007, 05:08 PM   #1
Lurper
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Loss of fine motor skills a myth!

I have long argued that those who claim that under stress you will lose control of your fine motor skills were wrong. In my experience it doesn't happen. The following link is to the Force Science Newsletter # 64. Scroll down to from our e-mail bag and read the first question. Pay particular attention to Dr. Lewinski's last full paragraph. Training makes the difference.

http://www.forcesciencenews.com/home...e/current.html

Last edited by Lurper; February 20, 2007 at 05:45 PM.
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Old February 20, 2007, 05:21 PM   #2
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Apparently the link is a myth.
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Old February 20, 2007, 05:24 PM   #3
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Coarse....fine...schmine.....

As you heart rate goes up your ability to do anything deteriorates...especially your decision making...hence the need to keep it simple

And of course training will help alleviate the problems
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Old February 20, 2007, 05:31 PM   #4
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This may be it

Hardly earth shaking though
Attached Files
File Type: pdf fs-64.pdf (46.5 KB, 128 views)
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Old February 20, 2007, 05:45 PM   #5
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That is the right one Obi.
However, I would argue that it is earth shaking. The director of one of the foremost L.E. programs in the world that specializes in researching shootings and related topics states basically that:
1. Elevated heart rate has nothing to do with losing motor skills
2. The key is training and if you practice completing tasks (in this case shooting) while under stress you will ". . . reduce the impact of
negative emotions so that you can maintain your fine-motor
dexterity when faced with real-life challenges."

Too many people try to tell others that when they are involved in an encounter, they will lose the ability to think, use their sights, remain calm and many other functions. Heaven forbid that they need to do something that requires fine motor skills like flip off a safety! According to those who forward that thought, one would be lucky to get through an encounter without being a quivering mass of jelly. Based on my experience and those of a half dozen friends of mine, the exact opposite is true. You don't have time to be scared, your senses become hyper acute as does your thought process. You do recall seeing the front sight and just about every thought you have during the event.
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Old February 20, 2007, 06:33 PM   #6
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If you are ever in a close range gunfight you will find that it is true. Increased heart rate us a minor part of combar stress.
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Old February 20, 2007, 07:03 PM   #7
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Lurper, Why did I suffer tunnel vision, hearing impairment, and serious slow motion effect? I practice regularly and shoot competitively. My actions were perfect and I recall thinking front sight but I still had the above sensations. It does happen. Training will reduce it and not everyone is effected in the same way.....but it is real.
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Old February 20, 2007, 09:53 PM   #8
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Everyone keep in mind that 'fine motor skills' are different skills in different people. Some people can do amazing things under pressure (look at concert pianist!) Others freeze up and can't even chew gum and walk strait when the pressure is on.

What is more, the more training one has, the more skills one can keep under pressure, and yes, fine motor skills.

Try not to put everone in the same box. Some can do much under pressure, some can do little.
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Old February 20, 2007, 09:56 PM   #9
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3, that is a different phenomenon. You don't actually lose control, your perception of time changes. There is a name for it, but I don't know how to spell it. That is the same thing that happens when you shoot a string that seems excruxiatingly slow or deliberate, yet when you look at the timer, it is incredibly fast. In fact, I would submit that it is the opposite of losing control. Your senses and perception increase to a level where time actually compresses and your vision hones in on the object of your concentration. Sort of a hyperawareness.

Hardball, I have been involved in a few incidents and in none of them did I lose any motor skills. Not only that, but I can tell you of several of my friends who have the same experience. While for you, this will indeed be true, if for no other reason than that you believe it is so.

It all boils down to training. Mental training is the key. As mentioned in previous posts, you should train your mind for those situations. Visualize different situations in vivid detail, smells, feelings, sounds, sights, everything. Visualize how you react, see yourself moving smoothly, calmly and confidently. Visualize what you say, and everything you do. Your mind does not know the difference between what you visualize and what happens. You need to remove your concious mind from the equation.

I have know several people including some old time gunfighters who say the same thing. Even Cooper said it. He is also the one who told me that it is normal to feel elated when you best your opponent in an armed confrontation. Yet, the "accepted" social norm is that you will feel guilt, remorse, sadness, depression, PTSD and all sorts of other afflictions. That is hogwash. We are conditioned through our mechanisms of socialization to feel that way. Once you realize that, you are no longer bound by that convention. The main reason people don't know how to feel is because they have never been there and never even thought about it. I am always amazed at how many people carry a firearm (either as a profession or a hobby) and have never even thought about killing someone. It is imperative that anyone who may find themselves in harm's way think about it in advance. You cannot afford to hesitate when the time to shoot comes. It can cost you your life.

In the same way, if you believe you are going to fall apart and lose fine motor skills under stress, you create a self-fulfilling prophecy. Believe in yourself, believe in your mind.
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Old February 21, 2007, 06:00 AM   #10
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My response to "Training is the key" is that the problem is precisely that you can't train for a lethal confrontation! Not just in the details of how the thing will go down but particularly in the incredible responses your body will make. You simply can't duplicate that by going out on the range and pretending in some way or another....You can't "train" your body for a life and death situation in how it responds, dumps hormones, etc.
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Old February 21, 2007, 06:05 AM   #11
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Lurper,
Quote:
3, that is a different phenomenon. You don't actually lose control, your perception of time changes. There is a name for it, but I don't know how to spell it. That is the same thing that happens when you shoot a string that seems excruxiatingly slow or deliberate, yet when you look at the timer, it is incredibly fast. In fact, I would submit that it is the opposite of losing control.
Good. I was worried that I got a bad body and mind LOL. Well now if these things are different then I have to agree that training trumps fear induced fine motor skill loss. My partner said my draw was still lightning fast. My grip weld was perfect and aside from the slow motion I was pulling the trigger (although only half way) just fine. I do train often though and as you suggested I go through scenarios. I simulate shooting to cover and many other probable response for almost every were I go. I thought I was being paranoid.
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Old February 21, 2007, 06:40 AM   #12
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Old February 21, 2007, 07:03 AM   #13
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Lurper; I think the term is "Time Dilation"

Training is the key to any activity or sport you hope to excel or survive. The local police chief wouldn't give out carry permits prior to the 2003 law here in MN, because there was (and is) no restriction on the firearm you carry. If a LEO Carry's a 1911, he will have a cert. of qualification in his training file, if he then changes to a Revolver or any other handgun different from the 1911, he will have to qualify with it before carrying it on duty.
We on the other hand carry what we like and what the situation calls for, and like me i shoot a different handgun in the practical pistol get together.

When i enlisted in 1971, there was a big change in the way the Army was going to train. During basic we were shipped almost everywhere we went, and the live fire exercise was discontinued. (crawl under wire with fire over the top) the Urban legend at that time was; some senators kid jumped up and was killed, our contention was (nothing lost).
I understand that that exercise is back in use, as it gives one the reality of being shot at. Lots of excess Adrenalin flowing under that wire. the flow is not always as great when in a similar situation after an initial experience.
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Old February 21, 2007, 07:24 AM   #14
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685,
Quote:
You simply can't duplicate that by going out on the range and pretending in some way or another....You can't "train" your body for a life and death situation in how it responds, dumps hormones, etc.
What you can do is condition your body to react a certain way to a certain threat. Example when a bolt of lightning hits close by and causes a loud boom instantly my reaction used to be to cower slightly in startled surprise. Once I started training and drawing my gun with dozens of daily presentations while at work (with no customers around of course) I noticed that my response to that startling thunderous boom was to go for my gun. When the day came that a man came into our shop and pulled a gun from beneath his trench coat I assure you that I believe we were being robbed. So much so that I experienced tunnel vision, slow motion, and hearing difficulty. My reaction was as I trained. In retrospect my partner (who had what turned out to be a bb gun pointed at him) froze. He never practiced more than the trips to the range. He is a fine shot but his reaction to danger was different as was his training.
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Old February 21, 2007, 08:06 AM   #15
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I agree with the OP and have long said the same thing. Some people have long claimed that you loose "fine motor skills" during a SHTF situation, which is why you should never use the slide lock/slide release, but rack the slide, etc.

Horse hockey!!

If I can't hit a big old lever due to loosing "fine motor skills"........then how in the world am I expected to hit an itty-bitty mag release????
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Old February 21, 2007, 12:31 PM   #16
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3, no you're not paranoid! Or, should I say that thinking about different scenarios doesn't make you paranoid.
When I was first introduced to practical shooting, one of the things I used to do as a course designer was to set the alarm on my watch. When it went off, I would stop what I was doing and observe the environment. Then, I would come up w/a scenario and convert it into a stage. Complete with a written scenario for the stage briefing. That was back in the days when every stage had a scenarion. It made matches much more fun in my opinion.

The fact of the matter is that you can train for those situations. You train your mind. Back in the 80's when I first started shooting competitively, the president of USPSA (Dave Stanford) told me about self hypnosis and visualization. I started using these techniques and in 3 months went from being an average "C" class shooter to winning the '86 MD state IPSC match against some of the best shooters anywhere (including a World Champion and a Bianchi Cup winner). At that time, the US Olypic teams were starting to work with visualization as well. Studies were done that showed athletes who visualized competing in their events experienced the same neuro-physiological response as when they actually ran the event. Your mind controls what happens to your body. By learning to control your mind, you do learn to control your body and some of the reactions that others preach to be involuntary.

What happened to you 3 was what athletes call being in the "zone".
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Old February 21, 2007, 01:02 PM   #17
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SO, if you can train yourself to not be afraid.... you're fine.


Seriously, the "lose of fine motor skill" that comes during a dynamic critical incident is not just a factor of fear & stress, there is a physiological component that has to do with the redirecting of bloodflow throughout the body, not just an arbitrary high heart rate. Less blood to extremities, less strength & control in the muscles there...

I believe that we should not try to "out train" the human body's natural reactions to fear & stress... at best, it slows us down... and it probably isn't possible at the most fundamental levels.... Work with your body's natural reactions: limit the amount of fine-motor-skills necessary in your defensive training.
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Old February 21, 2007, 01:27 PM   #18
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It's not a matter of training not to be afraid. It is training to focus concentration on a task or set of tasks regardless of the environment. Learning to remove the conscious mind from the equation is the key. The responses are controlled by the mind, therefore they can be regulated in the same way that people learn to regulate their pulse.
This type have training has been proven in arenas from sports to space and everywhere in between - including shooting.
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Old February 21, 2007, 01:49 PM   #19
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Fighting is not a sport.. that is kinda the point...

Shooting can be a Sport... but defensive shooting during a dynamic critical incident?? No.

For my students, I use the analogy of an Indy racer Vs. car owner in a big city.... The urbanite MUST develop the skill to parallel park if he wants to own and operate a car in the city.. The indy driver doesn't need to have EVER done that, but must have other skills developed to a high degree (shifting, cornering at high speeds, etc)... They both use the same tool (a car), but they are doing very different things.

I hope that makes sense... too many people confuse mechanical target shooting skills with defensive skills.

What you "can" do in a controlled environment like a range might have very little to do with what you NEED to do during a dynamic critical incident.
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Old February 21, 2007, 02:18 PM   #20
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To use your analogy Rob, the difference between the average driver and an Indy driver is training. The average driver cannot comprehend what 180+ mph is like. They don't understand that the professional driver's mind is conditioned to the point where time and speed don't matter. Everything that happens to the Indy driver at those speeds happens at a pace that is readily comprehensible. That's because their concentration is focused on the task at hand. Can the average driver be trained to drive at that speed? Absolutely!

While I really respect your opinion Rob and you have a state of the art facility, I must disagree. The mechanics of shooting are the same regardless of target or environment. It is really as simple as align the sights, press the trigger. Granted, it is not easy to keep your cool while someone is trying to kill you. But, I have met many SpecOps, S.W.A.T. and LEO's who say the same thing. When the events transpired, they knew exactly what they were doing. They didn't suffer a loss of skills, nor were they rendered incapable of thought or reason. In fact, they became more focused. They all attribute it to training and mindset.

It is the same thing as when people who are supposedly "dead" still fight on. Medal of Honor winner Fred Zabitosky (hope I spelled it correctly) tells one of the best stories about that. One of his SOG colleagues was hit by a burst of AK fire that among other things tore off his jaw. As the extraction chopper was lifting off, a NVA soldier lined up an RPG on it. The wounded man jumped up and killed the NVA soldier. When they got back to the rear, a surgeon told Zabitosky that what happened was not possible - his colleague had died instantly from his wounds. Yet, we hear numerous accounts of people who are supposedly dead fighting on. That illustrates the power of the mind and the importance of mindset.
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Old February 21, 2007, 02:23 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lurper

3, that is a different phenomenon. You don't actually lose control, your perception of time changes. There is a name for it, but I don't know how to spell it.
The correct "scientific" term is tachypsychia, or literally "fast mind". Your brain goes on information overload and starts taking in information at a much higher "bitrate", if you will, than it does under normal circumstances. That seems to slow time down. I have been in several of the "fight or flight" situations, and though I've never been shot at, afterward I could remember everything that happened in excruciating detail. I haven't had the opportunity to test my "fine motor skills" either.
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Old February 21, 2007, 02:29 PM   #22
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Thanks Dread, that is exactly the word!!!!
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Old February 21, 2007, 04:54 PM   #23
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Lurper,
You missed the point entirely: It's not the degree of skill... its the skill itself. The Indy driver is NOT more skilled than the urbanite when it comes to Parellel Parking, just because he can corner at 180... two different things. Re-read the analogy... in fact, I invite to read Combat Focus Shooting to learn more about the difference between training for sport and training for a fight.

Stories and anecdotes are one thing... empiracle evidence and observation of what highly trained people do when things get bad is another...

If you have further questions, please email...

I'm out.

-RJP
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Old February 21, 2007, 05:54 PM   #24
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Rob, I would love to read your book. But my point is that there is as much empirical evidence and research that indicates that indicates loss of motor control is a myth. True empirical evidence is hard to gather since no one is hooked up to machines when these events happen. However, just the opposite has been proven many times over. The body responds to visualization in the same way that it responds to the actual event.

Specifically to your point; that means that one can be trained to not suffer loss of fine motor skills while under stress. Training until firearms technique becomes subconcious is what matters, whether for sport or defense. My secondary point is that this can be devoloped off of the range and does not even need to involve a firearm. So every person who carries a firearm could and should be trained in this manner.

Ultimately, it boils down to belief and experience. I do not believe that one must lose fine motor skills while under stress. I have seen the research that supports this, I have experienced it myself and have talked to several people who have as well. I have talked to doctors, psychologists, psychiatrists, LEO, military, hypnotherapists and many other people. The consensus was that while there are some physiological changes that occur, they are not incapacitating. Yet, proponents of the other view want to tell people that when the event happens, they will lose control to the point of not being able to hit a safety, mag release button, etc. That just isn't true.

Does it happen? Certainly. It happens often, but the higher the degree of training, the less likely it is to happen to a given individual. The core question is: Why does it happen to some individuals and not others? My contention is that it is the level of skill, competence and confidence in the individual.
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Old February 21, 2007, 09:12 PM   #25
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Stress/fear does strange things to folks....

I remember when the unit deployed overseas some of the folks you thought you could count on you couldn't. Some of the folks that I didn't think would cut it surprised me.

I remember watching the documentary of BlackHawk Down. One of the Delta operators was talking about the gunfire making some of the Rangers who had never been in combat before freeze up and stop moving. The more experienced Delta guys had to keep them moving. It was interesting to hear the thoughts of the Rangers when one of the experienced Delta guys was killed.
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