The Reptilian Brain and How to Enter It
By Athos Antoniades
Using the 'Brain Stem', or 'Reptilian Brain', is key to becoming a natural fighter. In this article, we describe the Reptilian Brain and the methods used to enter it.
The Reptilian brain is our survival brain. Humans have three brains inside their heads. The Reptilian brain was the first brain that living creatures ever had. Reptiles, such as snakes and crocodiles still only have this brain. Then there is the paleo-mammalian brain, which all the other animals have in addition to the Reptile brain. We, as humans, also have the neo-mammalian, or human brain. Humans have all three brains.
Humans on the other hand are not natural fighters when in their logical mind, and all the techniques they learn will not make them into such. If you use techniques in a fight, you will lose. In order to become natural fighters, humans must fight like a wild animal, and they can only do this when they have entered their Reptile brain. Once the Reptile brain has come into play, everything around you seems to move in slow motion, and you are to all intents and purposes like a wild animal. Training seriously in both external and internal Martial Arts will enable us to instinctively enter this mode if we encounter a dangerous situation.
There are certain adjustments of the body which we can use to actually get into this brain and fight like a wild animal. This is our survival brain and it will only be fully enacted in life or death situations, when our survival is in question.
Methods of entering our Reptilian brain:
The first thing we must do is drop our tongue down to the lower palate, pull our chin in gently, slowly exhale as we sink our weight and go into a state of what the Chinese refer to as 'sung' (relaxed, loose heavy but alert), as we concentrate on our brain stem at the back of the head. There must be absolutely no tension in your mind or body.
You are now raring to go – God help any potential attacker. Then follow any of the following methods to fully enact the Reptilian brain.
By mimicking the stance animals take during fights, we can access this state of mind.
1. THE 'C' BACK
By mimicking the stance animal take during fights, we can access this state of mind.
Have you noticed what all animals do just before they are about to attack whether it be a tiger, lion, dog, domestic cat or even a chicken? They all curve their back into a 'C' shape.
This stance will take us into the Reptilian brain. Arching the back causes our Yang energy to rise up the back to the Gall Bladder 20 points situated at the base of the skull. Activating these points would effectively enact the Reptile brain. You will feel the sensation of the Chi energy rising up the backbone to the neck and activate the Gall Bladder 20 points and therefore the Reptile Brain. As we round the shoulders and hollow our chest the eyes change becoming a little glazed. You are now in the attacking mode, no longer a human but a wild animal ready for a fight. The fierce look in the eyes would deter any likely attackers.
2. CONCAVE PALM
Stretching and spreading the fingers whilst simultaneously concaving the palm is another means of activating the Reptile brain. Doing this causes the Chi to move up the back, thus enabling us to gain the extreme Yang energy necessary to turn us into a wild animal ready for a fight.
Position of the hands is also important.
3. THE EARS AND EYES
Focus your Qi on your eyes and ears.
Another method used by animals to access the Reptile brain is to lower and flatten their ears. Most humans cannot move their ears internally so as to access their Reptilian brain. We can instead use a compromise. Pull the chin in and back slightly using the neck for assistance and stretch your mouth, as if smiling, without opening the mouth. This will have the effect of moving your ears slightly and you will enter the Reptilian brain. The eyes should also be widened, they will glaze and everything will appear to move in slow motion.
4. EAGLE VISION
In the Reptilian state of Mind, we do not use focus vision, whereby we would be focusing on our attackers individual weapons, making us oblivious, to what the other parts of his body are doing. When in Reptile mode, we instinctively go into Eagle Vision, whereby our mind and vision are literally locked on the space which is occupied by our attacker, as if our energies become linked, as he moves his space moves causing us to move accordingly. An eagle can zoom down from a great height and grab a small mouse which is constantly moving, a perfect example of Eagle Vision.
Reptilian Brain in Kenpo Taiji
In the Kenpo Taiji System as well as the Yang Lu-Chan Tai-chi form, which is the original Yang style form, many chi kung exercises and training methods are incorporated into the system which enable the student to enter the Reptilian brain and fight like a wild animal should the situation warrant it.
The Reptilian brain is also the doorway to the subconscious, therefore entering it will also take us into the ‘Zen’ state of ‘NO MIND’ or ‘WU WEI’ in Chinese.
The subconscious will then take over and direct the logical mind and body and we are said to ‘Have mastered self’. 'CIRCLE STANDING CHI KUNG' is an excellent Chi Kung exercise used to gain ‘Internal Stillness’, by centering us, giving us perfect balance, the Reptilian brain and therefore enabling us to enter the subconscious. Internal stillness also leads us to the ‘Here and Now’ and as our awareness is increased, we are fully in the present moment, able to deal with any attack with maximum efficiency.
Similarly the subconscious may be trained to cause extreme Yang energy situated in the kidneys for emergency situations such as, the shock of an attack, to instinctively and directly rise up to GB20, entering the Reptilian brain if the situation warrants it.
This is achieved by consistent and correct practice of a Training method known as “THE POST” which is also taught in the Kenpo Taiji System.
“The Post” gains its name as one of our legs is firmly rooted to the ground like a post whilst moving the body with the mind aspect of sinking everything down, the chi to the Dan-tien and our physical weight down to our centre of gravity point on the feet. We must maintain this central equilibrium throughout.
An additional advantage is that as chi rises from the kidneys on its way up to Gb.20 it activates the adrenal glands which are attached to the kidneys, releasing adrenalin and giving us super strength for a short time. We must therefore ensure that our technique is good enough to deal with any situation in a short space of time. The combination of Adrenalin, the Reptilian brain and Eagle vision, is truly lethal. It is the phenomenon where we sometimes hear of mothers lifting cars off their children and the like.
The Reptilian brain is a purely reflex brain, which will act in accordance with how the other two brains are programmed. The Paleomalian is our body/artistic mind and must be programmed or re-programmed with fighting principles and the way to fight. These will then become a reflex action when we are in Reptile brain mode. The Paleomalian is programmed by using either ABSTRACT TRAINING METHODS which are not understood by the neomallian (logical thinking brain) and therefore filter through to the paleomalian, programming it or re-programming it with moves that will be more useful in a fight. ATM`s are based on the natural movement of chi.
Similarly techniques and training methods based on NATURAL BODY MOVEMENT methods will also programme or re-programme the paleomalian with moves that will be more useful for fighting and that would become our reflex action when in the Reptilian Brain.
Programming the paleomallian in this way by using ABSTRACT TRAINING methods or NATURAL BODY MOVEMENT methods, will change us from being reflexively passive to aggressive, doing whatever it takes to survive at a subconscious reflex level, just like any wild animal.
Incorporated in the Kenpo Taiji System are many training methods used to achieve this.