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You think you have fear under control until something new or unexpected in your life comes along and for what ever reason it can cause  periods of low level anxiety that eats away at you without you really noticing it, or perhaps you’re in some sort of denial of what's really going on, before you know it things within you feel a lot worse.

I've had a pretty stressful couple of weeks, so was glad to get down to Tempsford to train By chance Rob said he was going to go over some old ground and wanted to cover aspects of fear management, and the work covered that day helped me to understand where I went wrong during the last week or so, pointing me in the right direction, to spot the early signs of stress creeping on.

Fear is something we create ourselves and can manifest itself in a number of different ways, but for me usually starts in the mind as a thought, creating uncertainty about something or other and then it starts to work into the bodies systems, finally working its way down the body showing itself more visibly, trapping itself in different areas depending upon the situation I’m facing. At the moment my stress or fear has trapped itself in the stomach knotting my muscles causing a lot of discomfort… so why does this happen to me when placed under higher than normal anxious / stressful situations? I have a pretty good idea why, I tend to place excessive pressure on my self in all things, to do the best I can both in work and in play, knowing perfectly well it really isn't necessary.

So Rob was going to show the class this week how the use of breathing can be a useful tool to not only introduce fear, so that we are able to recognise it and then cope with it, but as a method of reducing fear and anxiety as well. Although fear is a good thing, as it helps us recognise danger, the down side is that too much and we fail to operate efficiently, or in some cases will shut us down altogether. Rob explained briefly about the five levels or areas where fear can manifest itself and true enough I’ve probably experienced most of these at some point and these as I pointed out earlier start in the mind then works its way down.

Head – Thoughts and  imagination, anticipation of events, an endless movie reel of what might happen, but rarely does

Heart and Lungs – Rapid breathing, panic attacks, fast heart rate, palpitations

Stomach – Griping, churning pains or discomfort, knotting of muscles

Bowels – The need to use the toilet

Knees – Legs like jelly

Rob showed how we can take simple exercises like the press up, sit up and squat and just apply a breath hold to create simple low level fear and then went on to show how the use of breath can help us to cope with it, using breathing methods to restore yourself back to a normal state. Rob demonstrated this by holding his breath while doing press ups then when he’d reached a point where he really needed to breath, changed over to sit ups and used breathing to restore; it’s interesting to see how its possible to use another exercise straight after a breath hold exercise to restore yourself and how you can work like this for a longer period than you might think.

Having recently been diagnosed as having osteoarthritis of the hip and sacroiliac joint and all the pain that goes with it, I’ve been struggling with the idea of getting back to falling and rolling, and was very apprehensive about getting back down to the floor, as the previous weeks take downs were pretty painful. At the moment the pain is still there but less so, I needed some help over this barrier, Mark helped me out here by forcing me to roll during a knife flow drill, I had to relax and deal with it, which pushed me over that fear barrier and as I was relaxed, also kept the pain level down substantially. Now that the first one is out of the way and the the fear has subsided quite a bit, I can now move on.. Unfortunately I have to modify the way I do things now, but that's life I guess, things are always constantly changing as time goes by, although the “flow motion” is still a little sticky at the moment, with some perseverance hopefully I’ll get it back soon enough...


by Steve Wildash