“I’m very perturbed about that” was a relatively common saying when I was growing up. Today, when you say it, it elicits reminiscent smiles from those old enough to remember and confused scrunchy faces from most 20-somethings. But did you know that perturbation is vital for effective self-defense firearms training? Recovering your balance, realigning your muzzle after being bumped/struck, re-focusing after scanning your environment, re-aiming after glancing at the ground to avoid trip hazards, stabilizing vision when shifting focus between potential threats, and recoil management are all responses to perturbation. How quickly we’re able to restabilize our balance, our vision, and our aim after being perturbed are some of the biggest differences between sterile range training and resilient self-defense training. And it’s a huge difference between training to poke holes in paper vs. training to stop a lethal threat.
From a training efficiency perspective, perturbation will help you build skill quicker than sterile training. How’s that? Well, one of the key areas of the brain for high stress performance is the cerebellum. One of the big things that the cerebellum does is error correction…or recovery from perturbation. Put another way, if your practice isn’t challenging enough that you’re being perturbed and having to correct errors, there’s very little activation or skill building in the cerebellum. Too much challenge, though, and training changes from building skill to creating emotional memories of the training. The key is to keep the majority of your training 4% outside of your comfort zone. [full article]