Wednesday, January 18, 2017

The Safecracker and the Fighter - the effect of serotonin and dopamine receptors by Badger Johnson

What are the attributes of the -Classic- Safecracker?

  • Sensitive
  • Introspective
  • Internally focused
  • Cautious
  • Careful
  • Meticulous
  • Creative
  • Risk-averse; Safety-minded
  • Lower ego-driven
  • Normal durability

What about the -Classic- Fighter?

  • Insensate
  • High pain tolerance
  • Aggressive
  • Externally Focused
  • Daring
  • Game Plan (not creating, following)
  • Incautious, Risk takers
  • Ego-driven
  • High durability

Certainly you can find excellent fighters who have opposite attributes or tendencies. Fedor would be, on the surface, to have low-arousal, and need less stimulation. But once he goes into action he’s dynamic. Perhaps he has a higher sensitivity to the body’s propranolol analog (the drug soloists take to reduce performance anxiety)

At any rate, studying these elements can give us insight into the genetic bases of performance. Taken as a whole, genetics seems to trump all built up attributes. You only have a few Jesse Owens or Babe Didriksons per multiple generations. How can experience, life-experience rise to the occasion? We can look to elements like determination, consistency, will-to-win and other qualities which are combinations of attributes and desires. We can also analyze why some fighters fail (they have poor response to loss? they have low durability? they are highly ego-driven and thus can’t be trained externally?)


  • The Genetic Determinants of Financial Risk-Taking

    Individuals vary in their willingness to take financial risks. Here we show that variants of two genes that regulate dopamine and serotonin neurotransmission and have been previously linked to emotional behavior, anxiety and addiction (5-HTTLPR and DRD4) are significant determinants of risk taking in investment decisions. We find that the 5-HTTLPR s/s allele carriers take 28% less risk than those carrying the s/l or l/l alleles of the gene. DRD4 7-repeat allele carriers take 25% more risk than individuals without the 7-repeat allele. These findings contribute to the emerging literature on the genetic determinants of economic behavior.

    We now have some research that shows that Risk-takers are those that have high quantities or high sensitivity to a particular molecule. They could have lower levels of it and still have an effect and higher levels of serotonin and not have as much effect. They need more stimulation to get a high.

    Likewise it seems that the Safety-minded are those with a higher amount or high sensitivity to the the opposing type of receptors. They could have lower levels of that molecule and still have an effect, that of calm and carefulness. They need less stimulation to get a high.

    Have a great Friday and a super Weekend!

    ~Badger Johnson
    Aug 5, 2016

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    Tuesday, January 17, 2017

    "Ah, but a man's reach should exceed his grasp, Or what's a heaven for?" by Badger Johnson

    "Ah, but a man's reach should exceed his grasp, Or what's a heaven for?"

    That sounds almost Shakespearean, but it's Robert Browning, English Poet (1812-89)

    One of the greatest things for trainers and coaches in this era is the ability to video record yourself in training. Back in the day we didn't have this, although I had two friends who thought I was something special, haha, and did take a video 8 camera and record me sparring. The odd thing, of course I didn't really recognize myself, seeing from that angle, is that my arms looked -really- long. I mean freakishly long. At 5'9 I had a reach over 73", which is what you can touch on the wall arms out to each side.

    Some of the heavyweight champs had an enormous reach, Ali is listed as 74" in some places and 80" in others. Foreman had a long reach. One of the shortest was Rocky Marciano at 68" and Tyson was only 71", proving that it's not always reach, huh?

    So, the take-away I guess is to always try to find ways to 'reach for the stars' and keep your gaze up, head up, (though, you gotta look where you're going) and despite the aphorism, try to grasp as much as possible - seeing deeply is revealing and challenging. Not everyone is introspective. But everyone can see patterns and frameworks and connections if they work on it.

    One of the longest reaches was the Soviet boxer Valuev listed in some places at 86" (Primo Carnera is also up there at 85"). Search Youtube for a cool fight between Holyfield and Valuev. (that's Valuev in the pic vs maybe David Haye, 2009)

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    Thursday, January 12, 2017

    Some thoughts today by Badger Johnson

    Some thoughts today:

    o Transparency
    Not just methods and means to make things flow, but knowing when not to have too much.

    o Stress testing
    Includes not just running things against levels of resistance, but also breaking things down completely periodically. You have to push your systems until they 'break'.

    o Systems Management - yep, you manage your stuff systematically.

    o Landmarking
    Creating terms is also a way of landmarking. The gunfighter’s ‘Safe Space’ is where the area has been cleared or visualized to be free of threat.

    o Delivery Systems - everything has one. It's the 'how' not the 'what'.

    o Describing methods and means of production (theories and templates). I wish Mr Harris would do a book on these. He shines in that area and I don't know if he's put down on paper how he does this. The BJJ over 40 and other vids show he's done that breakdown. It's his 'method of production'. I'm sure he's a bit reluctant to let these out to the 'public', but he shouldn't be. Ideas are like rain - they fall on everyone but sometimes only a few notice (Guro Dan). One might think Roy is a brilliant instructor. But that's just the by-product. He has the best system of 'seeing deeply' that I've ever seen. Come on Roy Harris, do that book!

    o Multiple opponents, Multiple Venues. - you must have these, otherwise your systems and methods are superficial.

    Don't just read this list, import it and give (self-check) examples of them in your current life and current regime.

    The best description of 'transparency' I give is how the bicycle changed in 1985. Prior to that, you had what they call 'downtube shifters'. You had to take your eyes off the road and reach forward and monkey around with your shifters to change gears. Hard to do if you were approaching a climb or if you hit a sudden terrain change.

    Also they had 'cages' that your feet went into to try and connect you with the drive train better than just pedals. But still your foot moved around and it wasn't a firm connection. A lot of the time your foot would slip forward and you'd have to shimmy it back.

    In 1985 or about they came up with 'brifters' and 'clipless pedals'. Now the shifters were on the handlebars, shifted with a 'click' and were positively engaged. The pedals would clip into cleats in your shoes. The position and firmness was absolute.

    Thus you no longer had to 'think about it' when riding. You clipped in and forgot about foot position. You shifted many times more often and never had to take your eyes off the road.

    True Transparency!

    ~Badger Johnson
    Jul 27, 2016

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    Tuesday, January 10, 2017

    Coaching, self-coaching, talent, experience, genetics, opportunity, motivation. by Badger Johnson

    Coaching, self-coaching, talent, experience, genetics, opportunity, motivation.

    These are some of the important elements which can help bring about ‘performance’.

    I could write a book on coaching, what it is, what it isn’t, and how, ultimately it’s a matter of learning to self-coach.

    You, are the talent. Life experience, genetics, the intangible, the internal. Everything else is the coach, the external, the tangible.

    In the field of MA and SD, usually the people are motivated to go into that are losers, genetically not gifted (they couldn’t do team sports), and probably have been at one time or another bullied. Often they start out in poor health so they get into something like this to bring them up to ‘normal’.

    Problem with this is they often put their ‘eggs’ into the basket of another. A charismatic trainer usually called by an oriental name. While this can work for a while ultimately it can be self-defeating. This type of regime ends up with the person focused on idolizing their trainer and becoming stagnate in their performance beyond a certain level. They are a big fish in a small pond, sometimes deluded or even self-deluded.

    I think we can look in two areas to find good coaches. Team sports (they are dedicated to winning) and Acting (they are dedicated to making money). You don’t find bad coaches, usually, in team sports. They get weeded out. You find very few good coaches in Acting, but you find a lot of scam artists, so beware. Use these as models for what works.

    It’s external which needs to become internalized, functionalized. A coach bring experience and is often not a particularly good ‘performer’ themselves.

    You probably do best by compartmentalizing your coaches. Life coach, financial coach, offensive coach, defensive coach, physical trainer, medical trainer, gopher, personal assistant, training partner.

    These are all types of coaches. The coach brings the experience of having seen it all in a variety of different types of individuals, so, hopefully they know that one size does not fit all. Are you audio, visual, tactile, or some combination of learner? Can you judge your own abilities or do you need external help? Are you your own worst enemy? (Most of us are and don’t know it). Are you able to self-motivate and bring that ‘talent’ out, or do you need hand-holding.

    I’ll stop here, because you can actually go out and google ‘what makes a good coach’ and figure this out on your own. I just thought I’d offer some perspective that you don’t usually find.

    Hope this helps. Go out there young grasshopper and find your passion.

    That is all.

    ~Badger Johnson
    Aug 3, 2016

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    Friday, January 06, 2017

    "I'd Like to Teach the World to Dance" by Badger Johnson

    "I'd Like to Teach the World to Dance"

    But, first, a little background. One of my dreams from a young age was to 'rescue' people, things. I dreamt I was 'Superboy' and I would fly around and find abused kids and defend them or rescue them.

    Now days, I feel that same thing from time-to-time, when I see old war-horses still suffering the loss of comrades, women who had their faces destroyed by acid or fire, people with disabilities.

    I also realize that actually having that kind of superpower is fraught with problems. You can't 'touch' everyone. You'd end up doing nothing else in a world filled with billions who are suffering. And, worst of all you can't know what is in people's hearts. You might heal someone and have them go on, unleashed and take vengeance, or become a dictator. After all, it is often our pain and suffering which makes us 'who we are'. It would be like having the 'Ring of Power', like Galadriel in Lord of the Rings, and she turned it down.

    So, instead, I thought, maybe it's better to teach the world something else, as the title says, to Dance. Dance by themselves, dance with a partner, dance with a group.

    That, my friends, is exactly what the wonderful "instructors" of the Martial Way here, in our little group are doing. One student, one class at a time they are traveling the world and teaching people to dance.

    I would issue two challenges. One, don't just teach the dance of death (I know you aren't by seeing your smiling faces and smiling students). Two, actually take your students out to a dance. Get them to do swing dancing, or jitterbug or something. Actually have 'dancing' as part of your promotional exams. I've often said that a MA who can't dance won't be a very good fighter.

    Sorry about the diatribe, and thanks for reading. Now, go out in the world, or just your backyard and shake your booty, and do it like nobody is watching.

    ~Badger Johnson
    Jul 31, 2016

    Please check out Badger Johnson's other essays:

    NOTE:  My sincerest appreciation for Badger's gracious consent for permission to archive his essay to my site.
    Please leave Comment/Feedback for Badger below.


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