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#302396 - 11/19/06 12:38 AM Reaction time can be improved
psychohuman Offline
Member

Registered: 10/10/06
Posts: 27
I saw many posts saying that reaction time can't be improved and it's only the muscles that learn to react fatser or something like that. This video shows that it can be improved(it's another fight science video ).
http://www.ifilm.com/ifilmdetail/2763527
I also heard that reaction time like that only lasts for a few weeks if you don't keep training like crazy, is this true or can reaction time like that be maintained for longer?
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#302397 - 11/19/06 01:08 AM Re: Reaction time can be improved [Re: psychohuman]
student_of_life Offline
Veteran

Registered: 10/12/05
Posts: 1032
Loc: Newfoundland, Canada
theres alot that plays into reaction time. i would even say, too much to even make it worth the effort to try and test it.

as far as i know heres the break down....

your reaction time is totally dependent on the visual (light) stimulas and the speed the nerve impulse travels. having a healthy nervous system will only account for fractions of fractions of seconds and in the grand sceme of things, odds are your not good enough to be able to pick these moment of weakness up.

next, being able to react freely. the guy in the clip only had to worry about hitting blinking targets, not about bring hit back. and its that mental blockage that stalls alot of fighters for those fractions of fractions of seconds, making them less likely to react at there bodies full potential.

lastly, concerning self defence as well as sparing, i think its more worth the effort to have the ability to simply read your opponent, learning his weakspots and seeing his movements befor they become threatening. in that way your reaction time is placed where its most effective, at the slowest target. thats a staple leason in all martial arts, maxium effect minimal effort.

obvisouly reaction time is important, and a faster reaction time is advantageous, but it's cultivation will come to be through nearly all training, given as your technique is freed of excess movement, and body shifting places you in unreachable areas, and as learn to have confidance in your self and you can free your mind of stress.

i think of reaction time as a dependant variable, dependant on the things i've mentioned. you can isolate its training if you want but it will improve even by default.

ps. think of playing with a dog, when your about to throw something for him to chase, he's totaly focused on you and he'll almost never run the wrong way, or be faked out. his reaction time is great, and most important free of stress, he just want to have fun.

i hope that helps

yours in life
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#302398 - 11/19/06 02:15 AM Re: Reaction time can be improved [Re: student_of_life]
Benjamin1986 Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 10/17/04
Posts: 611
Loc: Republic of Texas
Reaction time can be improved most by a reduction of "thinking time", when your mind stops actively deducing the correct action and starts truly reacting. Of course, in MA, this can be a very bad thing. One friend of mine has a beautiful parry-four reposte in foil that he does almost automatically (push an attack out past your body and stab them back), but it is so automatic that he is very predictable.

True reaction time isn't really a variable as it is the minimum time for your eyes to refresh and your brain to percieve (~1/5 second). This is a minimum that cannot be avoided because it is the clock cycle of your brain.
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#302399 - 11/19/06 04:17 AM Re: Reaction time can be improved [Re: Benjamin1986]
Leo_E_49 Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 02/24/05
Posts: 4117
Loc: California
I do wonder about this sometimes, because if I concentrate enough, things just seem to slow down. For example, when being thrown, if I concentrate it feels like I'm floating in the air for a great deal longer than I should be. A lot of people I know who've been training MA for extended periods of time report similar experiences when they are in a situation where they have to concentrate. Things seem to go at a slower pace than they normally would, not by much, but by enough to be noticeable.

I think that it's got a lot to do with what your brain is doing between stimulus and response, rather than how fast your brain works. I think that most people just don't use their brains to the maximum speed possible. It's only when the milliseconds count and when moving and making decisions at high speed that you require reaction times that fast and so you gradually learn how to make full use of the time you have when you need it. I don't think it's much to do with how fast the nerve impulses travel through your body, so much as how you perceive what is happening. Our brains filter out so much of what we see to prevent information overload. I'm not sure what the scientific term is but we select what we want to perceive and block out all the rest. I think that reaction times are just about peeling back this filter for our perceptions a little bit and processing specific information with more scrutiny.

Just my unfounded theory.
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#302400 - 11/19/06 09:40 AM Re: Reaction time can be improved [Re: psychohuman]
Saisho Offline
more than just a pretty face

Registered: 06/26/06
Posts: 620
Loc: Dayton, Ohio
Reaction time is a reflex and can be decreased. However, in most cases it is specific to the task. If I sit on a stool and watch for a red light turn on so I can push a button, I will become very quick and reduce my reaction time to almost nothing. I have created a reflex (which does not require the cerebrum of the brain to "think" about anything). Then I get up from my stool and a guy throws a punch at my face and I don't react in time. I did not train for that.

In most cases, the more you train for general attacks, the better reaction time you have. There are people that have tremendous reaction times for everything, but the question becomes... Did they develop it from training or did they genetically have it to begin with? There is a saying that a sprinter is born a sprinter and you can't make someone a sprinter.
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#302401 - 11/19/06 10:06 AM Re: Reaction time can be improved [Re: Saisho]
MikeChaff Offline
Member

Registered: 04/06/05
Posts: 175
Loc: England
I think that ties in very nicely with what student_of_life said about reading your opponent. You can react faster when watching for a light to flash because you know it's going to flash. If you learn to see the opponent coming, you can cut down the reaction time the same way.
It always takes longer to react to surprises.
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#302402 - 11/19/06 02:10 PM Re: Reaction time can be improved [Re: MikeChaff]
TimBlack Offline
Exalted

Registered: 05/10/05
Posts: 1403
Loc: UK, Brighton
Benjamin is correct that reaction time is a constant, it's not variable. What changes is thinking time, and this is decreased by constant subjection to certain stimulus, with a certain response. Hence why drilling and sparring are so important increasing the apparent reaction speed of a martial artist.
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#302403 - 11/19/06 07:24 PM Re: Reaction time can be improved [Re: TimBlack]
Saisho Offline
more than just a pretty face

Registered: 06/26/06
Posts: 620
Loc: Dayton, Ohio
Quote:

Benjamin is correct that reaction time is a constant, it's not variable. What changes is thinking time,




Reaction time is the time from when a stimulus is presented to the time the reaction is initiated. Regardless of what process is decreased in that chain of events, the result is a reduction of reaction time. Reaction time can not be constant because it is clear that the time it takes for someone to react (even to a light coming on) can be decreased.

That being said, I agree with
Quote:

decreased by constant subjection to certain stimulus, with a certain response. Hence why drilling and sparring are so important increasing the apparent reaction speed of a martial artist.


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#302404 - 11/19/06 09:30 PM Re: Reaction time can be improved [Re: Saisho]
MattJ Offline
Free Rhinoplasty!
Prolific

Registered: 11/25/04
Posts: 15634
Loc: York PA. USA
I think Benjamin and Tim are referring to to the neural stimulus time, which would be fairly constant. I don't think that the brain receives certain input from the senses any slower than others ie; the face you recognize and the face you don't recognize both arrive at the brain in the same amount of time. The decrease would occur (I am assuming) in the "recognition and course of action" stage (thinking) in the brain.
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#302405 - 11/19/06 10:13 PM Re: Reaction time can be improved [Re: psychohuman]
Ed_Morris Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 11/04/05
Posts: 6772
reaction and reflex time is more or less a constant. it's what we do AS a reaction that becomes the trainable and improvable thing. In the first fraction of a second we detect incoming danger...do we freeze, cover-up or evade?

what's the best way to train for reflex action (not reflex speed) ?

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