Natural Reactions/Body Flinch

Posted: June 17, 2013 in Uncategorized
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So I had an interesting experience on Saturday night that had gotten me thinking as usual. My wife and I met up with some friends in the evening at a restaurant for some pizza and wine at a quiet little bar in a historic part of town that is in a good area. When I say my wife and I it really means I drank wine since she is 7 months pregnant at this time. So knowing we were meeting friends and I was more than likely going to have a glass of wine, I left the firearm at home. Ohio law states that it is legal to carry in a place that sells alcohol as long as you are not drinking. It was a good night with lots of laughs but every night has to come to an end. Our friends went the opposite direction to their car as we went our way. The street was very dim and we had quite a walk to our vehicle so we were talking about the night and our plans for tomorrow when suddenly from the tree we were walking under is a shout “HEY WATCH OUT FOR THE TREE!” and a person leans out of the tree toward us. What happened in the split seconds following was the topic I wanted to touch on today.

We humans are extremely advanced creatures that have made great discoveries, sent people to space, and continue to solve scientific mysteries, but we are still a primal animal with primal instincts. No matter how advanced we are we still resort back to those natural instincts regularly. When we are startled it is our bodies natural reaction to lower the center of gravity while at the same time shielding the face or head. It instinctual to protect our eyes, throat area, and most importantly the main computer sloshing around inside our head. Think about a time when you have been surprised or startled, what did you do? It might have just taken a split second but your shoulders came up while you lowered your center of gravity by bending your knees, but as soon as you realized it was just your little brother jumping out from around the corner and there was no mortal threat the reaction stopped and you sprang into action of kicking his ass.

Rob Pincus teaches around this concept in his Combat Focused Shooting and his Counter Ambush book. Here is a short video breaking down what happens to give you a better visual example.

Back to the dark quiet sidewalk where we left off in our story, my wife screamed and jumped off to the side. I felt my shoulders go up, my left hand come up about chest high but I did something that surprised me. My left knee bent and I stepped offline and turned towards the threat. Last week we covered training and it is no secret that I spend  a bit of time on the range with my buddies running drills and different scenarios. The time it took me to recover from the initial flinch to action was very minimal. Understanding the responses your body is naturally going to revert back to no matter how much training you have had is also a big help. Training cannot beat instinct it can only minimize it. You will always flinch but it is how quickly you recover from the flinch is where the training comes into he equation.

In the video we saw the student take roughly 3 seconds to flinch, recover, and react to the threat with a draw. Last night I realized incorporating your body’s natural reaction into your draws and other training is important. Instead of starting your drill with a hand beside your gun, how about we start with them up high where they would be in a flinch situation or incorporating a stepping of the X? Just a thought.

Before my wife was done screaming I had flinched, stepped off the X and had my CRKT M-21sf halfway out of my pocket. The high school aged kid hanging out in the tree with his buddy probably thought it was a funny prank and most likely got some good laughs out of startling people at 12:30 at night while people made their way to their cars. Heck, they might have even got some videos because I am still pretty certain that the one was videoing with is cell phone. That would have made great evidence for a jury when they pushed the prank a little too far and caught a case of lead poisoning or a face full of mace from a terrified passerby or a startled gun carrying citizen.

What do you think? Will this be something you try to focus on in the future? Let me know on the Facebook page or over on Shooters Legion.

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