Lt. Col. Grossman writes,
Under stress, the body tends to tune out all senses but one to avoid sensory overload and confusion.(Grossman, Dave, Lt. Col. ON COMBAT. 2008. Warrior Science Publications. Pg. 61.)
Have you ever experienced that before? I feel it is similar to that of being in "the zone" (as I have heard it called before). The director shows it in the film "For Love of the Game" when the pitcher was on the mound. As a young gymnast I used to become so focused on my beam exercise (especially) that everything else would get "tuned out" in that moment. The experiences about which Lt. Col. Grossman writes though are so much more incredible than my example! How the body was created to protect itself is beyond words.
Don't Just Stand There, Do Something!
In his book THE TAO OF BRUCE LEE, author Davis Miller tells about his experience of being bullied in school and how he responded. In addition to receiving verbal assaults, things got violent when a classmate challenged him to a fight and (what he thought were thousands of) spectators attended. He describes "faces, full with a mean kind of joy." Further he writes,
I lowered myself into the deep, strong, bent-legged horse-stance I'd practiced for what seemed endless hours in karate class...and chambered both fists in the inverted hachiji-dachi position on the waist...exactly the way Sensei had taught....
[Alvin] pushed his open left palm into my nose, pulled it back. I kept both fits at my sides. He slapped me across the mouth, and again. I tried to deflect the second blow with the rising, looping, outside ageuke block I'd been taught in class. It was too stiff and too slow. Alvin jabbed, closed fisted, and hooked off it. The punches didn't hurt, only numbed my face. I kept both fists chambered at the waist. Alvin slid two more jabs into my chin; my head twice slammed the back of my shoulders....
Alvin tackled me at the waist; I fell jarringly onto my shoulder, then rolled down the hill. He followed, jumping onto my chest, pinning my arms, and punching both sides of my face. I felt the first shot bounce my head off the grass to the left, the second one to the right, before I managed to yank my arms free and grab his wrists, which I held, white-knuckled, until somebody screamed, "Teacher."
What could have been done in this situation? Davis Miller had been attending a karate class but that particular one did not train him properly to defend himself. Not to mention his heart was probably pounding which, according to Lt. Col. Grossman, would have caused "vasoconstriction", making "fine" and "complex motor skills deteriorate".
How to Handle Destructive Individuals
It is my opinion, the more serious the bullying, the more important it is to have a plan of action...especially when/if it gets to a life or death status. Keep your mobile phone readily available. Practice dialing 9-1-1 so it becomes muscle memory. If there is a bully in your home and you feel your healthy and safety is at risk, licensed counselor, national speaker, and author, Leslie Vernick, suggests leaving a packed bag in the garage incase a "time out" at a hotel (away from the bully) is in order. She also suggests the five steps in dealing with a "toxic, destructive" person in her paper "How to Handle Toxic and Critical People".
Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, "Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord." To the contrary, "if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head." Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. (Romans 12:9-21 ESV)