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GPNorwich's picture
Training drills for Adrenal effects

Hi All, I would like to share this training drill with you and ask two questions. First can you have a go and let me know what you think. Second do anyone have any other drills I could use or ideas on how to refine/improve this one. 

I call the drill Adrenal Stress padlock drill. Its purpose is for the student to experience some of the effects with high blood pressure, icreased heart rate, decision making and loss of fine motor skills. I appriciate it is not the full on "adrenaline experience". But it is a simple drill to show students how quickly it is to lose the fine motor skills and do simple tasks such as undo a lock. Especially if the student believes they will act or behave the same way as they do in the training hall. 

Anyway I hope you find the drill of interest and any feedback is very welcome. 

Regards, GP

MCM180's picture

Very interesting. I  used to do something similar. I'd alternate between hitting a bag for a while then shooting some airsoft target practice in case I have to draw a firearm in an emergency situation. Same theory, different application.

I wonder if some interference from the physical harassment may add a second or two to the time in the high-adrenal state. That might distort your results a bit, insofar as the extra time comes from interference and not adrenaline. Otherwise I like the idea.

Maybe you could tailor the harassment to what really gets specific mad. I get irritated when people bump me or touch me over and over, particularly my face. That would get my heart rate up more than insults (which I probably deserve anyway!).


Iain Abernethy
Iain Abernethy's picture

I like this drill. Very simple and easy to do in the dojo. It’s a nice way to bring home the effects that fatigue, stress, etc. can have on fine motor skills. Thanks for sharing!

Finlay's picture

Nice drill

i have done something similar where a student will work the pads, the on my command run to the other side of the training hall and have to complete a task. Then run back and continue on the pads. We do a few rounds of this. The generally have a very tired a sweaty discussion about the use of pressure points in self defence

JWT's picture

Graham and I had a look at this when he last visited for some scenario training. Unfortunately I was too busy brefing, filming/safety supervising and debriefing to focus on the padlock element but we did get some results, though not as many or as controlled as I would have liked. As I recall all the results showed an increase in time before and after, though in most cases not as marked as in Graham's video (though I believe two people did double thier time). However those results should be considered in the light of the fact that

  1. On average the physical activity time (fight time) was about 3 seconds.
  2. There was usually a time delay between the end of the scenario and doing the padlock that was longer than the sum total of the fight time.

What we need to do now is run the same thing again but this time with a designated padlock guy and more padlocks to test each participant before and after each event as well as record the duration of the event (both the verbal phases and the physical phases (if they occur)). 

All the best

John Titchen

dhogsette's picture

This is a fantastic drill! I like how it integrates a non-martial element that tests ability to control fine motor skills under stress and verbal duress. Very creative and practical.

I've been working on some solo-training drills that seek to accomplish similar goals/outcomes. Given my current situation, I have to do a significant amount of solo training, while I train up some beginners. To help train for adrenal stress and exhaustion, what I've been doing lately is combining heavy bag work with advanced kata practice. Basically, I'll wail on the heavy bag, practicing various bunkai applciations, for a one-minute round. Immediately following that, I perform my most advanced kata. Then, another minute-round on the bag training different techniques. Then, I'll try to perform the next kata down. I'll do this for 20-30 minutes, changing kata each time. Toward the end, it becomes increasingly more difficult to perform the "easier" kata, or the ones I've known the longest. 

One, it's exhausting! Excellent cardio exercise while training techniques. Two, it helps you become accustomed to performing complex movements under stress, frustration, and exhaustion. Sometimes I'll do this circuit training and only work the newest kata I'm learning. Frustration levels can ramp up quickly...LOL.

In the absence of adrenal training with partners, I find this kind of solo circuit training to be helpful in training to cope with exhaustion, frustration, and increased adrenaline.