In order to analyze how a person functions during combat and under fear, it is important to understand the mental and physical states that a person may experience before at the Pre-Conflict, as combat anxiety – defined as “the anticipation of danger”. This anticipation may lead to a gradual deterioration of both mental and physical skills.
This type of condition is related to the mindset of any person that finds himself in a survival conflict (rape, mugging, attack, war, etc.). The main effects that it has on a person are related to these facts:
A. During the conflict as the survival stress – deals with the post event mental & physiological symptoms known as “backlash”, which may distort the memory.
B. On post Conflict as combat stress – Objective fear perceptions include a person having fear of death, injury, killing, incorrect decision-making, failure, or just fear by itself.
The more one can predict Fear, the higher the level of arousal becomes. Once you feel threatened, your level of arousal is not under your voluntary control. However, your perception of the threat level and your behavior during levels of high arousal can be strongly influenced by training you receive prior to the threatening situation. Our arousal is controlled by our autonomic nervous system, which operates automatically in the same way that we breathe and our heart beats automatically. Our autonomic nervous system has two parts; the parasympathetic part is operational under no threat conditions. However, under threat conditions, the sympathetic part will switch on and the cause profound changes in our body that prepare us to do one of three survival behaviors:
Flight, Fight, Freeze
With freeze being the most dangerous behavior to us, the profound changes in your body happens during high arousal states will not only influence your behavior, but also your thinking processes and your ability after the event to remember what happened. A backlash effect, which is known as vasodilatation will increase the normal bleeding. Therefore, it is critical that all gunshot / knife wounds be treated as soon as possible. If a wound is bleeding excessively during stress activation (sympathetic nervous system), it indicates arterial bleeding and appropriate countermeasures (such as pressure point and/or tourniquet) should be given strong consideration. Backlash effect can also slow down the visual process. It reduces oxygen delivery to the photoreceptors, especially to the cones. This in turn, results in a temporary loss or distortion of a person’s vision.
All perceptual senses, (sight, sound, touch taste, smell and the six sense), provide the brain with a constant flow of information. However, when the brain becomes focused on an activity or a threat, the brain will “tune in” to the sensory system that provides the most relevant information at that given second. Other sensory inputs will be “tuned out” by the brain because they lack immediate significance for the victim at that given second. This is a phenomenon referred to as perceptual narrowing or selective attention. As a result, the brain stops processing information from the other senses, particularly the auditory or hearing system. This is referred to as “auditory exclusion.”
Each of these physiological changes will affect combat performance as it relates to our vision, our ability to perform basic motor skills, and our ability to cognitively process information, accuracy skills and a significant increase in reaction time. When stress (activates the SNS) arousal occurs, these negative effects upon vision cannot be avoided, but they can be minimized through proper training. For example should be taught to pivot their heads, rather than just darting their eyes, in order to compensate for tunnel vision. In addition, shooting programs can emphasize instinctive shooting techniques that reduce the need to rely on the gun sights when firing at close range.
Combat Fitness is recognized as an integral component of survival and use of force training. The combination of aerobic (cardio/respiratory) and anaerobic (strength) conditioning not only enhances a person’s ability to control a subject and survive, but contributes to long term health. Based on a research of case studies in Israel’s leading Tactical unit, where the Modern Kapap combat system was developed over the most common techniques to the most common types of resistance encountered, with the mission to find the best suitable combat system based on limited budget, time spent on training and complexity of the training program, yet to try to get the best addressing goals and as if its based to civilians or law enforcement the system must also stand at defense at court (as the part of post conflict) if need be. The training must be based on research as a focus on examining performance under stress. Kapap practitioners discovered that when one’s fine and complex motor skills are being trained constantly in a specific way, they affect immediately the performance of the Gross motor skills that are used naturally by our body in a combat (stressful) situation, thus enhancing the overall performance and ability to overcome any threat situation with increased probability to survive.