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Hell J Nucl Med. 2017 Sep-Dec;20 Suppl:162.

The neurophysiological and evolutionary considerations of close combat: A modular approach.

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Chemical and Materials Engineer, NATO Maritime Interdiction Operational Training Center and the Hellenic Armed Forces in Greece.


Close Combat may be identified as a physical confrontation involving armed or unarmed fighting, lethal and/or non-lethal methods, or even simply escape from and/or de-escalation of the confrontation. Our model hypothesizes that distinct areas of the brain are utilized for specific levels of violence, based on evolutionary criteria, and that these levels of violence bring into effect distinct physiological criteria and kinesiology. This model is outlined similar to Paul D. MacLean's triune brain theory, but incorporates distinct processes inherent to the autonomic nervous system (i.e. a "quadrune brain"), and correlates the observed level of violence to a particular response to a specific neural complex associated with very specific reactive kinesiology in the body. Our hypothesis is that the reverse also holds true: specific movements, scenarios and breathing will "activate" corresponding neural centres that in turn correlate to a respective level of violence. Moreover, socio-historic records bear out the premise that specific behavioural violations of social protocols act as "triggers" for assaultive and lethal force involving weapons, and it is very likely that these triggers (and the concomitant decision to engage in assault or lethal force) are processed through neural centres in what McLean has described as his "limbic system." A modular system of close combat is being researched and developed in accord with the above, readily adaptable to the level of violence professional peacekeepers and law enforcement officers may encounter in the course of their duties, but also directly relevant to the self-protection needs of civilians and youth. Distinct modular training regimes have been identified and developed for situations involving escape from a threat, submission of an adversary, and assaultive/lethal force, with the hope of strengthening neural bridges between the four neural complexes postulated in our model, and therefore via these bridges limiting adverse reactions to the psyche from combat stress.


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