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Self Defense/Adrenaline and my personal experience with it


QUESTION: You seem to be the go-to expert when it comes to the subject of the adrenaline rush,here's a discussion I had with Mr.Macyoung:

Could you explain why the adrenaline affected me this way? I don't know what I look like when I'm fighting but people often tell me that my face looks ugly,scary and demonic when I'm fighting.(not that I'm complaining,I personally think this is a good deterrent against my opponents)

Although the particular incident I mentioned here was the first time I had experienced getting flashbacks during a fight. why is this? I've heard of a few theories about this such as the reason people get flashbacks during extreme situations is because your subconscious/brain is trying to dig through your past memories in an attempt to find a solution to the current problem...or that the reason you get unrelated/random thoughts during an extreme situation is because your body has gone into autopilot and putting your conscious mind in the backseat. I have no idea if these theories are true.

Although I didn't go into detail about it in my discussion with Marc,the flashbacks I was getting was all the research I had been doing long before I got into the fight. the one I flashback I remember the most is Ken Shamrock vs Patrick Smith fight in the early UFC events,even though I was mounted on top of my opponent and not inside the guard position like in that fight...weird.

I've gotten into my fair share of fights in my youth,the fight I spoke of with Marc was my very last one and honestly,I felt that it gave me a happy ending and a sense of closure(even if I went a little too far there,maybe these are just my emotions speaking)after dealing with bullies and assholes for nearly my entire life as a elementary/high school student. I now live the most peaceful life I've ever had now in college and I hope this will continue for the rest of my life. Still,I do plan to give martial arts a shot,mainly because its an activity that could give me physical skills and physical fitness/health(Killing 2 or more birds with one stone)
I plan to go train gracie combatives at a gracie academy that is within my reach when I have the free time. I'm aware that going to the ground in a street fight is risky but I know you agree that learning basic grappling skills is essential(that's the great thing about gracie combatives,it will concentrate on teaching the basics. unlike many sport bjj schools that have no structured learning curriculum)
I also plan to continue training in boxing(only had a month's worth of training before life got in the way)one day too when I get the chance.

What's your opinion about Mixed Martial Arts/MMA? Obviously like boxing,its not the same thing as a street fight but do you think this kind of training is just as valuable,if not moreso,than boxing for people with the intention of learning how to fight?

I hope this message isn't too long,I hope someday in the future I would have both the free time and money to give RMCAT a shot. maybe it will emulate the adrenal experience of my last fight,and learn how to function better under the experience.

ANSWER: Your's is a story I have heard many times "Lazurus'. In your note to Mark you show you understand the adrenal effects 1-Tunnel vision, 2- loss of fine motor skills,auditory exclusion, tachi Psyche (slow motion effect). UNder the adrenal dump memories are formed differently than non adrenal events. This is the basis of all PTSD.

A 'cue' that is sound,smell, words ,music that was present when the adrenal memory was formed can automatically put you back in that mental state of anxiety and fight or flight. I have written books on this so go to and read what I say on this subject there.

You are on the right path in that you know who you are your limitations and your inner strength (having experienced it). Do read what I say on my website about the adrenal reactions,ptsd etc. By the way you are right most TKD or Karate people can't fight their way out of a wet paper bag.

MMA is not new, it was even around 50 years ago when I was 16 and studied MA. Bruce Lee was the first big advocate of mixing and learning different approaches and styles.

But understand nothing that occurs in a prize ring is a 'real fight', nor can you draw conclusions about what a real fight is like or what might 'work' in a real fight from a prize ring match. It can show you the role spirit and heart play though in victory.

What you experienced with the bully chair take down is much closer to as real fight than what you will ever see in prize ring. That experience showed you some of the reality of that. It is impossible almost for someone who has never been in real fight but only ring stuff or martial arts tournaments to grasp this critical idea.But you have real start on that understanding now. Actually not muich technique is seen in real fights.

Never allow anyone to get you in a fight by words. If you do you arer allowing them to control you. Remember the line I wrote in Roadhouse (a ridiculous movie really) the guys insult Pat Sawazy in the bar and he smiles and says "opinions will vary". He thus deflated the insulter and showed him he could not control him by words.

Again your on the right path Lazarus. Pleas read my wortk on this subject at  I am retiring now from this work. If you are overweight it is critical that you regain a decent weight without too much fat. You cna't understand what this is like and why its important until you lose weight. It effects one's self image and it is that personal self image that all our actions flow either good or bad, either the one's that serve us or do not. Feel free to email me at Let go of the adolescent view of fighting and it being 'manly'. A confidnet man, a man with true skill and experience is at peace with himself and can't be goaded into a fight.

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QUESTION: Its been years since that fight,and I still think of that event almost every waking moment. I don't think its PTSD in my case,because its not a bad memory but I definitely understand what you're saying. Violence has heavy psychological effects on a person,I know because I have first hand experience. Thankfully however,the years of peace I have been experiencing up till now has mellowed me and it has made me a much happier person overall.

I checked your website,one that caught my interest is the DVD where you talk about real criminals and the other one about defending against the blade. I plan to buy and check them out in the future. Marc's own DVD's about knife survival are also of particular interest.

I'm just curious,but how well do MMA fighters and boxers do under your program on their first run? Do they end up flailing as well under the rush despite their full contact ring experiences?

Its a shame that you're retiring,I suppose this means the RMCAT training will no longer be available. I understand however,you've already helped so many people and you deserve to rest. What other adrenal courses would you personally recommend? all I know about is Bill Kipp's FAST program.

The reason the martial arts is still of interest to me is because it could help me get into good shape,lose fat,AND teach me important physical skills. wish me luck in my training with the gracie academy. I've been obsessing about getting this kind of training for so long,at least I'll finally get a taste soon.

If there's any good to how I've lived my life in the past,its that I at least have some live-fire experience,however limited it may be. I've learned a lot from them. but more importantly,that learning good social skills and street smarts is the best way to live your life safely and happily.

When people think of PTSD they think of military combat vets. But in reality the condition exist on long continuum  and is not limited to combat.My book Freedom From Fear gets into this. You remebr the incidnet so vividly because it was a high adrenal moment and you discovered your survival instincts.

When your foot hits the brake before you have any self-aware thought to do  is the same adrenal mechanism. Your previous driving experience included your seeing a cue (an accident about to occur) that flushed you with adrenaline and you hit the brake. Now that physical reaction is hard wired into and by passes the consious mind which would slow down the response. This is how your self-defense must be "no thought' or Mushien.

Some MMA guys and boxers do flail at RMCAT but they quickly overcome it.

Bill Kipp has retired recently as well, but his FAST cnters ate still in operation. Bill Kipp and I worked together for decades really.

I am happy to hear that you have found a peaceful life Lazarus.

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Peyton Quinn


I can answer questions on actual self-defense for today’s world and contrast the very critical difference between ‘martial arts training’ and actual comprehensive self-defense training. In particular, I have 24 years of experience training people to deal effectively and employ productively the adrenal stress reaction, which is the only thing one can really count on in a true self-defense emergency. I also worked as ‘bouncer” and “cooler” in the seventies and my knowledge is not theoretical but experiential. While my primary experience is in “hand to hand” fighting and training people in this skill, In addition I was employed by a major industry player to conduct terminal ballistic tests on all handgun calibers of all manufacturers and their bullet designs to determine their effectiveness in ‘stopping power”. I have no axes to grind in this field and I just call it as I see it from actual experience and over eight hundred shooting cases I researched in conjunction with my contract to evaluate terminal ballistics (stopping power of handgun loads and calibers)


Black Belt Magazine called my RMCAT program “The best short term self-defense program existent”. This was unprecedented in their 40 years of publishing their magazine and this followed their year long study of “reality based self-defense programs”. My program is based on adrenal stress conditioning thorough scenario based training and fight scenarios using specially armored assailants that allows absolute full contact to head and groin areas. I have been instructing this training with my staff for 22 years at present. I am a member of the Black Belt Hall of Fame and was named “Self-Defense Instructor of the Year in 2008 by Black Belt Magazine. I have advanced rank in Wado Ryu Karate, Judo, Aikido and Wing Chung Gung Fu. I also have experience in other martial arts, but I recognize that martial arts training is not true and comprehensive self-defense training for today’s world. I have instructed firearms training for self-defense for over 20 years and I once ran a liquor store where I was forced to employ firearms for my own survival. I have degrees in mathematics, Psychology and Education from my studies at The university of Colorado and the University of Texas. I have very strong knowledge of terminal ballistics of handguns from my employment in this field to determine the stopping power of handgun loads from both ballistic gelatin tests and actual case studies of shootings. I continue to instruct firearms for self-defense through scenario based training as I have for many years now.

I have written serval books, the most relevant on the topic of self-defense and martial art being “ A Bouncer’s Guide to Barroom Brawling’ many feel this book changed the Martial Arts industry, and Real Fighting : Adrenal Stress Conditioning Through Scenario Based Training. This last book was named one of the best books ever written on self-defense by Black Belt Magazine along with Mushashi’s “Book of Five Rings” and Bruce Lee’s Tao of Jeet Kung Do”. My articles have appeared in Black Belt Magazine, Inside Knug Fu, and The National Association of Professional Martial Artist (NAPMA) where I have a monthly column called “Reality Check”. I have other publications dealing with the effect od the adrenal reaction on learning and memory among these “Freedom From Fear: Taking back control of Your life and Dissolving Depression”. I also have written on the relationship between the adrenal complex and the biochemistry of PTSD.

Bachelor of Science: Psychology Bachelor of Arts: Mathematics Certified Secondary School Education: Mathematics Black Belts in Karate, Judo Fukishidoan rank (Shodan level Black Belt) in Aikido Graduate of Lethal Force Institute

Awards and Honors
Black Belt Hall of Fame Member Self-Defense Instructor of the Year 2008 My book “Real Fighting: Adrenal Stress Conditioning Through Scenario Based Training “ was named one of the five best books ever written on self-defense and martial arts by Black Belt Magazine. In 1973 my software program’ Software development of the Sheldon Domain” a pattern recognition algorithm was awarded 2nd place by the IEEE society

Past/Present Clients
IBM,Philco Ford, Wells Fargo and several security related firms.

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