When performing an isometric exercise, you are pitting flexors against extensors. As an exercise, that is acceptable, but as a movement, it is counterproductive. You have two opposing forces at work that slow your response and drains energy from the work being done.
Muscles have two functions: Contract and relax. That is all they do... they pull, they relax.
The work they do is determined by the angles and placement of the muscle and tendons. To hold something with your hand, we activate a group of “flexors”. These cause the fingers to close around the object. To release the object, we relax the flexors and activate the “extensors”, which pull the fingers open.
For example: Your biceps activate, and your triceps relax when you do a curl. When you uncurl your arm, the biceps relax, and the triceps activate. (see diagram in course)
All joints in the body work the same way.
To work efficiently, muscle groups need to be contracted and relaxed in a specific order and with proper timing. If the triceps are still contracting while the biceps are contracting to bend the arm, the movement is slowed, and energy weakened.
In compound movements involving multiple joints and/or parts of the body, timing becomes more critical and more complicated. This is where training and repetition is essential. You need to analyze where the movements originate and determine how to activate and relax the muscle groups along the critical pathways, at the proper time, to optimize the speed and energy delivery at the final point.
Identification - Decision - Reaction
Before any voluntary movement is initiated, three things must happen:
1). You must identify a need to make something happen. (e.g. A threat)
2). You need to decide how to react.
3). Make the proper muscles react. (Movement begins)
How long does it take to cycle through this process?
Identification: can take anywhere to 0.1 m/s to a few hours if you are not very observant.
Decision: can take from 0.3 m/s to several seconds
Reaction: (Brain to muscle) takes from 0.3m/s to 0.1m/s ~ Example: Blinking = 0.1 m/s
While all these can take less than a second in the case of someone trained in defensive tactics, it still leaves you at a disadvantage if your opponent initiates the action. While you have all three steps to go through, your opponent has already identified you as the target, and made the decision to attack you. They are now two important steps ahead of you.
You must wait for them to show an overt action before your IDR process can begin.
How to mitigate these issues:
1st: By vigilance and Situational Awareness. Be aware of your environment, your opponent’s demeanor,
range, ability, and motivation.
2nd: By training to improve your reflexes, skills, and knowledge. Train to make your defensive techniques a matter of reflex, rather than a process. Most defensive techniques work on a variety of attacks and angles.
3rd: Train yourself to eliminate unnecessary movement and learn to only use the muscles necessary to respond. Use a non-aggressive stance that allows you to protect vital areas without appearing aggressive which can help de-escalate the situation and avoiding the need to physically get involved with the subject.
4th: Learn how to verbally de-escalate a situation to have the subject opt for voluntary compliance, rather than a physical response.
5th: Be prepared to act first, reversing the advantage to your favor. The subject must go through the same process that you do.
Disarming and Control Techniques
Strikes come from a variety of angles. In the DTACT system, we break down the angles and defenses against them into blocks, parries, and captures.
A Block directly opposes the attack.
A Parry redirects or passes the attack.
A Capture traps the attack.
We simplify our responses by using the “A B C’s”
In any confrontation, verbal or physical, we initially:
Avoid the confrontation if possible, using de-escalation techniques.
Be prepared. Understand the situation prior to engaging with the subject(s).
Call for backup; either additional units or 911
In a physical altercation we use different “A B C’s”:
Avoid - Move out of the way of the incoming strike
Block – Stop, trap, or redirect the incoming strike.
Counter - As quickly as possible, counterattack or control.
By avoiding the strike, the block becomes less imperative, so that even if the block misses, the strike will miss you. The avoidance can also be used to change your angle and move towards your attacker rather than away from them. That movement allows a range adjustment and sets up your counterattack or control techniques.
For more Information:
Larry Sloan ~ 515-975-7553