I am here to walk out my info-graphic on the “Three Types of Freezes”, which describes the model that I’ve been currently using to explain the freeze.
Now as we all know, “fight, flight, or freeze” seems to be the industry standard term right now. (There’s two other things that happen when it comes to inter-human communication; we won’t get into that here). When we’re talking about “the freeze”, this is something that happens to every human being when they run into a situation that they have zero response for.
As you can see on the info-graphic above, we’ve been running a three-freeze model. Level 1 of the freeze is what we call the detection freeze; level 2 of the freeze is what we call the shocked freeze; and level 3 of the freeze is what we call the discriminatory freeze. Most of the work we have been doing here has been with the discriminatory freeze – the third level of the freeze – because that’s the thing that has not been discussed in a lot of current literature. All the literature up to this point has involved a two-freeze model.
As most of know, I have a book that’s coming out based on my talks and all the stuff that I do on Randy King Live. I’m going to walk the info-graphic out even further in the book, but understanding that the reason why a lot of people don’t talk about the discriminatory freeze (AKA the “no good options” freeze) is because most of thepeople in the industry that are writing the books on this have an extremely high level of training. So, at no point would a discriminatory freeze even occur to them; with it being the deepest level, the “no good options” freeze – their training already superseded that. The craziest thing you need to understand about this is, we’ll go into it a little bit deeper, but the only thing that comes out in a fight or a high stress situation is habit and ritual. So if you don’t have a preloaded habit or ritual for what is happening to you, you are going to encounter one of the various levels of the freeze … and if there’s absolutely no response you’re going to hit that deepest level.
Lets break this down. The stimulus happens, your body doesn’t know what’s going on … if it’s a counter-ambush situation, your operant conditioning might take over first. (If you don’t understand the seven aspects of self defense, read Rory Miller’s book Facing Violence; it goes through all of them). If you don’t have any operant conditioning, then your body is going to go into a freeze, because that is what switches your body into being able to fight. It is your brain switching over from regular talking mode into battle mode. We talk about this a lot – my favorite saying is “the best time to hit a man is when he is talking”, because people, when they are talking, are not concentrating on what you are doing, they are concentrating on what they are going to say next. This is a great breakdown for the freeze. Another great breakdown from my friend Kasey Keckeisen is that “the brain cannot go where the body has never been”.
Lets start at the top – the detection freeze.
The detection freeze very simply is, something happened, your brain needs a minute to figure it out. There is not ongoing stimulus, it is just something quick, like a car backfired and you freeze, and then you have the ability to go forward. I talk about this all the time in my seminars – my daughter went through a detection freeze once when she dropped a cookie jar in our house, she got freaked out that I was gonna get mad and she froze. That is a detection freeze – did the big animal see me (I am the big animal in this story), did he see me? Am I OK? These happen all the time, they are very very quick. When a situation goes weird, say, somebody tells an off-color joke – all that stuff is basically a freeze cycle. For a detection freeze it is very small, some people do not even register this type as a freeze at all.
The second level of freeze that most literature is covering – again because of the people writing the literature in the self-defense world – is what we deem the shocked freeze.
Now the shocked freeze very simply is, something happened, and it was bigger or badder than you thought it was going to be. If you have ever been in a street fight, the first time you were punched for real, it probably surpassed any punch you had in training, so it is going to take your brain a minute to figure out what is going on and then try to get back into the game. If there are multiple stimuli coming in and you have no response, you might stay in the shocked freeze for longer. There are ways to break out of it, training will obviously shorten that shocked freeze, and if you have seen similar things beforehand your freeze cycle becomes shorter. It never ever really goes away, from what we have seen, the brain always goes into it. In a shocked freeze, at that point in time, your body is coming up with no new options, so you have zero problem-solving ability in this. Your brain just has to get to it and cycle on through. This is why sucker punches are so valuable in an aggressive assault. A lot of people do not understand that when a sucker punch comes in, that is shooting your brain into an OODA loop, and you are going into a freeze. Your body freezes first before it goes into either fight or flight.
We have been saying that with the shocked freeze, actions that affect the world seem to break it. That is very anecdotal – we do not have any actual evidence on that except for the stories we have heard. This happened to me as well, as I tell during my knife story – two things happened, I screamed and threw the person when I went deep into the freeze. This caused me to research this stuff even more.
The last freeze on the model that we have is called the discriminatory freeze, AKA the “no good options”freeze.
Editors note: This will be part 2 in January giving you something really cool to read in the new year.