View Full Version : Stress training, it is essential.

April 17, 2012, 08:59 PM
I thought i would post this, seeing as my experiance can help open the eyes of many people i hope. I get the feeling from people i talk to, that just going to the range and shooting static targets, or even going to a range were you can move and draw and all the other important stuff is enough when it comes to self defense.

I found out that is wrong..... VERY WRONG..

OK. I have with in the last 4.3 months started boxing, mostly becuase i want to learn mma and its a good start. Secondly becuase i think it is a very underrated striking art. Well Last tuesday i had my first sparring session. Which is like force on force training for all you tacticle gurus out there. Up till that point i thought it would be easy, that it would be like hitting a heavy bag that hits back. I was painfully wrong. The moment the coach said "box" my whole body tensed up, i actully stoped breathing, holding my breath.(my lips even started turning purple.) Every combo every, every slip and duck, every defensive thing i thought i had learnd nearly completely tossed out the window.

It was like i could only execute one thing at a time. My reaction time was far slower then it is normaly on the bag. Now it wasnt a total buttstompin, i did manage to get a few good rights in.

Now today(tuesday) i had my second sparring session, and i have ALOT of work to go, learned alot of valuable things. Most importantly it was a little easier to think, and react. My defenses were a lil better, i left less openings to exploit, and i was breathing..

Now i say all of this becuase, if this happend to me in a boxing session, its going to happen on the street when that thug pulls his smoke pole on you.. The old saying that you become 50% less skilled in a real fight is very true.

I cant stress enough the need for realistic, stress and adrenalin inducing training. Sparring is were you really, learn what you dont know. You learn the things that you do, and what you need to work on.

Seriously guys, try to work in some FOF trainging, it will likely save your life...

April 18, 2012, 08:34 AM
Great post. First I dont think anyone is underrating boxing as a strking art. IMO I think boxing is the permier striking art along with Muay Thai.
As somene who has boxed hitting the heavy bag gives ALLOT of people a false sense of security when they actually spar. 2 different beast. Probably the better thing to do is work the focus mitts while your trainer is throwing light punches back. Its a much better indicator of your ability, skill and stamina.
But the more you work at "going live" the better you will become at it.

But your 100% adding stress to training is key.
In my pistol class we had a guy yelling in our ear esp when the gun had malfunctioned or when it ran empty to get the gun up and running. If you cant handle that kind of stress when the real thing comes which will be ten times as bad you will fold.

April 18, 2012, 06:02 PM
Very true, relevant post.

I trained in mixed styles for a number of years, and it took me about a year of 4/week sessions to work through the "this is real!" charge/reaction. This included extensive full contact work.

There is one thing relevant to martial arts preparation that you just can't prepare for with firearms. The first time somebody hit me in a real world situation, I didn't even slow down. I had been hit many, many times, by people who knew what they were doing. After so much training, you get used to turning a square shot into a glancing hit, and continuing through it. I don't know of any way to prepare for that, as it translates to gunfights.

I often wonder if one form of stress training will carry over to another stress. Sadly, I doubt that it will.

April 19, 2012, 05:29 PM
Well I can't argue that stress training is bad, but

1) There a plenty of places in the country where it's either impossible or cost-prohibitive to do stress training with firearms. When I was in Louisiana I could go out in the field by the trees and practice quick draw, shooting while moving - all that stuff. I live in Illinois and there aren't any ranges that allow rapid fire or drawing from a holster.

2) There are plenty of examples where people who haven't done stress firing deploy their handgun and use it succesfully.

Frank Ettin
April 19, 2012, 06:09 PM
...There a plenty of places in the country where it's either impossible or cost-prohibitive to do stress training with firearms. When I was in Louisiana I could go out in the field by the trees and practice quick draw, shooting while moving - all that stuff. I live in Illinois and there aren't any ranges that allow rapid fire or drawing from a holster...[1] Things you do alone, like solitary practice drawing your gun, rapid fire, shooting while moving, etc., really aren't stress training. Doing these sorts of thing by yourself tend to be pretty low on the stress continuum.

[2] The best stress training is good force-on-force training. Something like that might be available in or near Illinois.

[3] A good class will add an increment of stress, because doing things while being observed by others tends to be more stressful then doing things unobserved. No one likes the possibility of embarrassing himself in front of his fellow students.

[4] Competition, like IDPA or USPSA adds stress. It's competition, and people like to do well. Also, one is again doing things under the eyes of range officers and other competitors. I'd be surprised if there aren't a number of places in Illinois where IDPA or USPSA competitions aren't regularly held.

...There are plenty of examples where people who haven't done stress firing deploy their handgun and use it succesfully....All that means is that they were able to deal with the particular problems they faced at the time with whatever skills they had at the time. If their problems had been a little different, they might not have fared that well.

In an emergency, you don't rise to the occasion. You default to your level of training. You don't know what your problem might be if you ever have one, so you can't know in advance what you're going to need to do solve it. If your skills are up to the task, you'll probably do okay. If they aren't, you'll be unhappy with the outcome. The more you can do and the better you can do it, the luckier you'll be.

April 19, 2012, 06:28 PM
Shooting in any competition is good stress training. You can also reproduce some of the physiological effects of stress with physical exertion. I've done pushups until I couldn't life myself anymore and then ran a drill. Not only do you learn how to steady sights with shaking arms but it's a good workout. If you're the only one on the range you can also run up and down the range until you are out of breath and then try to run a drill.

Mas Ayoob his name be praised recommends putting a bet on shooting. Doesn't have to be a lot, say a coffee if your friend can run this drill faster than you. That's another way to do it.

April 19, 2012, 08:19 PM
Frank is right. I thought i would do just fine in my sparring session and fell completely flat and was dominated like the newb I am. There is no replacement for stress force on force training. I experianced nearly every physical and mental issue in my sparring session that people in a fight experiance.

There is just no replacement for it, its the best kind of training you can do. Its one of the few ways you can test your self with a elevated stress level.

Its to important not to do.

April 19, 2012, 10:07 PM
What's that line from Joe Louis? "everyone has a plan till they get hit in the nose?" I think it was Joe, anyway.

RbidI often wonder if one form of stress training will carry over to another stress. Sadly, I doubt that it will.
There's something to be said for becoming familiar with the adrenaline rush.

April 20, 2012, 09:30 PM
Well each and every time i spar it gets alittle easier. It gets easier to attempt more complicated moves and defenses, to think about an actualy tactic while exchanging.
God im psyched i wanna spar right now.....

Any ways, i hope i can replicate that feeling with some airsoft or simunitions. I want to start taking my training to the next level.

April 21, 2012, 03:36 PM
Well you know the thing about guys like Bill Hickock was not that he was a superior shot. He was a good shot under pressure. That made the difference in being the man alive after a gun fight for him. (Well up till Deadwood anyway.)

April 21, 2012, 04:36 PM
At MACP school (Modern Army Combatives Program) after we all got comfortable with beating the crap out of each other for a week. The instructors introduced a shock blade knife to the fight. It works like a stun gun and after just completing taser training hearing the sound of that thing crackling stressed the crap out of us all. Suddenly the matches went from " I'll do this maneuver and that to finish him off." to "Oh crap you ain't getting me with that thing."
The point being you easily forget your fundamentals when your stress level goes up and adrenalin kicks in.

If you are going to be walking around with a loaded weapon with confidence then it damn well better not be false.

Bad guys aren't always stupid gang bangers and drug addicts.

Any training opportunity to fall back on should be taken for what it's worth and stress training of any kind is worth a lot.

Thank you to the OP. I hope your valuable advice is not taken lightly.

Rob Pincus
April 28, 2012, 11:16 AM
for those of you with Fbook accounts, here is an update clip that includes some feedback from an extreme close quarters course that integrates unarmed and armed skills: http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=10150661057246685

Brian Pfleuger
April 28, 2012, 01:40 PM
I personally think stress "inoculation" is the single most important aspect in surviving deadly encounters.

You could be the best there is at H2H, IDPA, quick draw.... whatever.... if you freeze up when the deed goes down, none of it matters.

April 29, 2012, 05:43 PM
Proper training and tons of practice developes Muscle Memory.

Under stress, Muscle Memory kicks in.

April 29, 2012, 08:11 PM
Great post! I study Muay Thai myself. It's a sobering experience sparring full contact for the first time. But when you think about it, nobody ever learned to cook without actually cooking anything or learned to swim without ever getting into the water, so why would it be any different learning to fight? If you don't get hit, you don't learn how to react to getting hit properly. Picture perfect form outside the ring starts to fall apart inside of it if it hasn't been pressure tested. I'm 100% in agreement with you, buddy!

May 3, 2012, 07:25 AM
I wish i could do muay thai, but my kickboxing is kinda a weird TKD/MT hybrid. Its thrown like how teakwondo throws there round kick, but impacting with the shin like MT. I like the way it feels and flows. I really want to go to Thai land someday and train there for a bit, but doing pure MT kicks would not mesh with my current training LOL so thats out.

Any ways, i would imagine using airsoft would be a great way to simulate stress for gunfight training. I would like to find a way to do it with out the huge paintball face mask on tho.

SO guys, do you think air soft could be good for it? Any tips for using airsoft for stress training?

What about paint ball, can it be used as well??

Strafer Gott
May 3, 2012, 09:02 AM
Airsoft can be useful if it hurts. Watch that eye protection. APD trained like this. until the budget crunch.

May 10, 2012, 01:09 PM
A unit here in Afghanistan incorporated stress shooting into their weapon qualification ranges, as well as competitions such as soldier and NCO of the month boards.

I talked to many of the soldiers that competed and they consistently shot expert, both iron sights and with optics like ACOG or CCO, and they still shot only marksman scores simply because the fatigue of being smoked, then the stress of the whole overall competition in general.

I decided I liked this, because as you pointed out, shooting at static targets all comfy and well rested with all the time in the world is too easy. I am going to incorporate the stress shoot into my personal toolbox for training, as well as future ranges with my soldiers. Thank you.

As a student of MTKB, I know exactly what you mean with a sparring partner. I work on the heavy bag or a reflex bag and it cannot prepare you for sparring with another human being that is hitting you back. Total game changer.

May 11, 2012, 09:21 AM
Most of this is good stuff but some of it can be confusing, like having a coach (or a sergeant) yelling in your ear. Unless you actually have a coach around when things happen, like boxers do, or have a sergeant or corporal behind you, who will I assure you be yelling, there should be any of that stuff happening. That's not to say there won't be stress. It just won't be anything like that.

The repetitive drill stuff is extremely important, just the same, because as Mr. Kraigwy says, it builds muscle memory, even if you don't have much muscle. It works like that when you drive a car, which you probably do every day. Rather stressful situation can happen anywhere, anytime, although if you are alert and have been over the same road before, it probably won't catch you half asleep. That's the awareness aspect of it all. And because you are "one with the car" (Well, you are, aren't you?), you will be able to automatically do all the right things when you have to. Hopefully, you won't have to find out if you can the hard way.

Chances are, you will have one of three reactions: You will either go to pieces, or freeze, or be cool and somehow manage to do most of the right things. Unfortunately, knowing your car and the road won't guarantee that you will do the right thing but that's still helps.

Glenn E. Meyer
May 11, 2012, 10:23 AM
Modern theory has 4 responses:


Neat summary in Extreme Fear by Wise.

May 11, 2012, 10:26 AM
Perhaps but you can be afraid and still respond in one of the other three ways. I am not fearless myself.