Time compression, the time dilation effect, or being able to see the code. These are all metaphorical ways of expressing the phenomenon of those moments where time appears to slow down and your capacity to act (or at least to think) appears to expand.
Time Doesn’t Really Compress
Of course we’re not actually affecting time, but our perception of it. The experience of time compression is a function of a combination of physiological and training factors:
- Nervous System Response
How activated you are and your capacity to control your sympathetic and parasympathetic response. Essentially learning to calm yourself down.
- Capacity to Classify and Recall Movement
Training to see and understand the components of a fight.
- Tactical Conditioning / Automatic Response
Training your automatic responses to stimuli so you don’t need to reflect before you act.
- Ability to Perceive Pre-Movements
Learning to see what the beginning of an attack or defense looks like so you can act quicker and earlier.
- Tactical Control
Using threat and constraint to reduce your opponent’s options and stay at least one step ahead of them.
I explored all five of these points in depth in a recent Masters Club lecture. We’re going to dive into two of them here.
Putting Jargon to Good Use
One of the reasons that a very fast martial encounter can appear slow to an experienced fighter is that they know what they’re seeing. When you can identify and name each movement in a sword fight you give your brain the ability to see and remember what happened. When someone does something that you haven’t seen before (or don’t remember seeing) it will appear to be faster because you are scrambling to simply figure out what’s going on.
Learning to See An Attack Before It Happens
The reason that a batter can hit a fast ball, a tennis player can return a serve, or a fighter can block an extremely fast cut is that they know what the “pre-movements” look like. These are the movements that tell you what’s coming before the ball is released, struck, or the weapon is sent forward.
Watch the Whole Lecture
In the full lecture, available exclusively to DuelloTV subscribers, I cover each of the five points including how to train to reduce your stress and up your combat IQ, how to develop the right kind of speed drills, and how to tactically control your opponents. It’s rich and absolutely worth checking out if you want to increase your ability to be a time lord.