USA
The Freeze
by Sensei Andy Dominey on October 31st, 2010

In the previous posts, I’ve spent time talking about the basics of conflict and the fact that one should avoid so called ‘self-defense’ wherever possible to protect both oneself and others. But what if the worst happens? What if you accidentally wander into the wrong part of town and someone decides you have something they want?

There are usually two types of attacker, opportunistic and prepared. The opportunistic attacker is more easily spooked and an encounter with this type of person is often one that can be turned to your favor. An encounter with a prepared attacked however, is a different story. These types of attackers will have done their homework and will be ready for most things you can throw at them. These encounters are far more difficult to walk away from.

Opportunistic attackers may have attacked many times before but their attacks are random targets, planned and executed at a moments notice. These attackers will do their best to catch you ‘by surprise’ and by that I mean, they’ll most likely attack you from outside your field of vision or try and distract you in some way. Asking for the time, for example. In this case, you will most likely get hit. There is not a lot you can do about it, just accept it. This is where the conditioning of martial arts comes in to help you shake off the strike.

The Prepared attacker will also sometimes attack from out of your field of vision or distract you, but only if it forms part of his plan. You see, these types of attacker are either habitual criminals or have been meticulously planning an assault on you or someone for some time. These attackers will not run at the first sign of danger and will be expecting you to shout, scream and struggle and therefore, they will often attack outside of audible range of other people so keep that in mind when you are walking home at night.

Regardless of your attacker though, there is one common factor to consider in any violent encounter… The Freeze. The freeze sounds like a bad movie about Antarctica but in fact it’s a state of mind and body which WILL affect all of us in a surprise attack. I don’t care who you are, you WILL be affected by this. What defines you is how you deal with it. The freeze is basically information overload. You are attacked when you are not expecting to be and the body and mind try to process what is happening.

Firstly, the pain receptors will fire in response to the strike that caught you unawares, then your eyes and ears will try and establish a hold on what is going on, all the time your brain is desperately trying to process all this information coming in to work out an effective response. Adrenaline is dumped into the bloodstream overloading the muscles and the nervous system causing the brain to crash even harder. All alone, blows are raining down on you…..you are dead.

You see now that breaking the freeze should be the most important aspect of any ‘self'-defense’ training. Since the freeze is actually partially chemical based, there is no way to stop it happening. However, we can train the body to act (not re-act) before the freeze occurs. I say ‘act’ because there is an important distinction to be made that an action is always faster than a re-action. Training the body in this way can be done through various martial arts drills and training techniques. The body can be trained to the point where the muscles act before the brain even registers the pain from the initial strike. How do I know this, because this is how I fight.

Once the freeze is broken, we need to train ourselves to act in a way that assaults the senses of the attacker effectively turning the situation upside down. His pain receptors will fire in response to the strike you landed, his eyes and ears will try and establish a hold on what is going on, all the time his brain is trying to process what is happening…you get the idea.

Breaking the freeze is critical for all forms of attack but what varies from one attack to another, is what comes next…


Posted in Conflict    Tagged with Karate, Conflict, Mental Block, Freeze, Fight


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