Visual Stamina

Visual stamina involves the ability to quickly focus on an object. It also involves the ability to concentrate intensely on that object for a prolonged period of time. The development of your visual stamina will enable you to experience the sensation of “speed-retardation.” This is when the fastest punch or kick appears to be moving in slow motion.

Understand this: A punch or kick is as fast as it appears to the person viewing it. To the untrained eye, a movement may appear to be very fast. On the other hand, that same movement may appear quite slow to the trained eyes of an advanced combat speed student.

You have probably already experienced the “speed-retardation” phenomenon. It usually occurs during an extremely stressful situation, and it can happen in seconds. First, the adrenaline rush kicks in. Then your eyes bulge, and your heart will begin to beat faster. You might get butterflies in your stomach. In this particular state of mind, humans are capable of lifting cars, absorbing great punishment, enduring extended rounds of intense combat, and a host of other seemingly “amazing” physical feats.

When we examine the adrenaline rush a little closer, we find that the key difference resulting from this state, as compared to a relaxed state, is intense concentration. During the adrenaline rush, you are absolutely and totally focused on the task at hand. Your body automatically pushes your concentration powers into overdrive. This eliminates every mental distraction and allows you to make maximum use of your physical capabilities.

You should not wait until you experience a real-life combat situation to start making use of the adrenaline rush as a training tool. Instead, you must learn to consciously release the adrenaline rush by improving your ability to focus and concentrate.

There are two steps to mastering the adrenaline rush. Step one is to develop the ability to release it. Step two is to develop the often-overlooked ability to control it.

As a serious combat speed student, your goal is to reach the point where you can cut the adrenaline rush on and off at will. This is an essential skill for competition and self-defense. Combat sport participants and enthusiasts often refer to this intense state of concentration and physical climax as a moment of “killer instinct” when you are going for the winning strike, combination, throw, or submission.

I believe the control and use of the adrenaline rush is, in fact, the same inner power that is known in martial arts circles as Ki or Chi.

To instantly turn your Ki on, try this: Open your eyes as wide as you can. Begin taking slow and deep breaths. Now relax and concentrate on the energy flowing through your body. Try to really feel the energy. It’s just the oxygen that you’re breathing in. It is oxygen that fuels the adrenal response.

Next, speed up your breathing as fast as you can, still breathing very deeply. Conjure up feelings of extreme fear or anger by using past experiences or unpleasant images. This causes electricity to surge through the brain and begins the adrenaline rush.

To instantly cut your Ki off, try this: Close your eyes. Slow your deep breathing. Relax your mind and body. Conjure up a feeling of peace and happiness. This will stop the adrenaline rush.

Ever notice how wide open a so-called maniac’s eyes are when he or she flies into a rage? Well, emerging victorious from a violent attack on the streets might require you to become a maniac yourself.

In self-defense, there is only one rule to concern yourself with—there are no rules!

If necessary, you must develop the ability to switch instantly from a calm and rational human being into an unstoppable fighter who is determined to legally incapacitate a ferocious attacker at any and all costs! The thought of inflicting pain on a human may be brutal and uncomfortable, but it could save the lives of you and your family members. Having control of your Ki allows you to instantly cut off the adrenaline flow and avoid inflicting unnecessary harm or injury on your attacker or opponent.

The loser of a physical fight is the one whose adrenaline flow has been shut off. And, by now you should realize that the development of focus and concentration is critical to your success as a fighter. The truth is that effective fighting is more about controlling your mind and emotions than controlling your body.

Great truths are long-lasting. Very few concepts are truly original. Some people just dig a little deeper into the cause and effect, which allows them to see something previously undiscovered. Everything on earth is discovered as new. Nothing is ever invented as new. It was always there in its raw form. Someone has simply discovered its presence and made use of it, by discovering its capabilities and unique applications. Use this truth as motivation for continuous self-improvement.

The following drills will increase your ability to recognize and track fast movements. You will also learn to concentrate for increasingly longer periods of time. It is this stamina of the mind that really determines your level of physical stamina.

Few people push their bodies to the limit because their minds give out first. In truth, your mind can be trained to concentrate for such long periods of time that your body will collapse from exhaustion. Again, it is a matter of focus and concentration.

Record Read

For this drill you will need a turntable record player. They are rarely used these days except by DJ’s, but you can ask friends or relatives if they have an older turntable. Pawn shops are another potential source for inexpensive record players. If not, you can locate and purchase a new record player online. Club DJs are another good source to find out where you can purchase a turntable record player because some of them still use 12-inch LPs. Also, you will need a few 12-inch LPs, which you can borrow or purchase online (search for “vinyl records”).

I know that using a turntable as a speed training tool may seem a little odd at first, but it’s worth getting one to take advantage of this excellent drill. Practice reading the label of a record while it is spinning on the turntable. To start, try the drill at 33 rpm (revolutions per minute). Later, you can increase the speed to 45 rpm and then 78 rpm to really challenge your ability to track and distinguish fast moving targets.

Try to read the song titles and any information on the label. Vary the records to avoid knowing what the label reads beforehand. You will only hamper your progress if you do not drill realistically. Practicing this a few minutes at a time will greatly increase your ability to track fast-moving hands, feet, and heads.

Number Flash

Take a large piece of paper and write down 20 four-digit numbers in a vertical column. Now take a card or another piece of paper large enough to cover about five numbers at a time. Cover the first few numbers. Quickly slide the card down far enough to see the first number only. Leave the card down just long enough to get a glimpse of that first number, then quickly slide the card back up to cover the number again.

You should now immediately call out the number you saw. Check to see if you were right by sliding the card down again, revealing the first number. The object is to quickly see and distinguish the number. After the first number, you can continue down the column, trying to snatch, glance, and remember each individual number before calling it out.

If you find that you are consistently off, try the drill using three-digit numbers. You can also remove the card more slowly, giving you more time to recognize the number. Do whatever it takes to give your eyes the proper challenge. Do not make it too easy.

Occasionally, you should write down new numbers to make certain you are not guessing based on memory. Later, as your recognition skills improve, you can graduate to five, six, and even seven-digit numbers. This will keep your eyes consistently challenged and improving.