Bannon Institute of Combat Neuroscience
Integrating Medical, Martial and Media Arts
                     Brain Fighting

Shut Down The Brain and The Body Will Follow


Brain Fightingis the concept discovered by GM Bannon and is the product of 28 years of research relative to the anatomical, psychological, physiological and biochemical functions of the human brain during the stress of mortal combat. The general concept is referred to by the Bannon Institute as Combat Neuroscience®


This concept was originally observed during intense research of PTSD management while trying to discover exactly what takes place in the mind of a soldier or law enforcement officer after they have been involved in a shooting or other stressful, traumatic event. The objective was to find curative and management protocols to help these individuals transition back to some semblance of a normal life; post trauma. A very interesting discovery took place during his research.


The hypothesis was developed that if certain stimulation can cause PTSD in the brain as a natural byproduct of trauma - this same byproduct can be created in the brain of an attacker through various methods. In very simplistic words - If we know what turns the brain on; we can also learn what shuts the brain off.

A twofold benefit came out of this research:

  1. If I know what shuts the brain down during combat stress ("Fog of War") or medically referred to as "tachypsychia" - I can train and condition in a way as to prevent it from occurring within myself during a hostile confrontation. This is where it can also be explained why memorized martial arts techniques seem to fail or go out the window during combat. Tachypsychia cannot be completely prevented but its severity can be drastically minimized through proper training and reconditioning.
  2. It can be taught how to force this phenomenon into the brain of an attacker causing his brain to "overload," and "blow a fuse" so to speak, immediately causing the body to fail in its attack posture, therefore terminating the attack. 

Reticular Activation System (RAS) - in an extremely simplistic explanation, is a system within the brain that is designed to facilitate learning, assist memory recall, manage the arousal / reactionary balance, and can "delete" or re-prioritize memorized information to a lower level of importance and accessibility if it is not used or recalled frequently. This would include memorized martial art kata forms, techniques or gun handling skills. The old saying, "if you don't use it - you will lose it" comes into play here. In the tactical world  - this is where the term "perishable skills" comes from. Basically, if we don't practice it - we forget it and it wont be there when we need it the most.

But why do we never forget to flinch when startled? Why do our eyelids not forget to flicker when an object approaches the eye? Or our heart rate increase when frightened? The answer to these questions are extremely important to surviving a violent confrontation.

Basically, some people train for (30) years in the martial arts only to forget much of what they learned and memorized within (3) seconds of an unexpected and spontaneous attack. This phenomenon is referred to in Neuropsychology as a "Limbic Brain Shift" or a "Positive Feedback Loop." Simply put - the brain's neural pathway is completely redirected from the Frontal Cortex to a very small part of the brain referred to as the Amygdale within 0.12 seconds.

There is however an area of the brain that is theoretically located between these two areas that is the focus of our Brain Fighting System.  

This is the part of the brain that is present in every mammal that does not sucumb to fear and neither shuts down nor flees from a threat. It stays and brutally fights and protects at all costs. It is where extreme valor and "courage above and beyond the call of duty" come from.

It was during GM Bannon's research that he found a way to circumvent this fear based Flight or Freeze option and rewire "so to speak" the neural pathway in the brain to become empowered by the fear to stay and Fight. We call this part of the brain - The Protective Mind. 

The way we have trained - is the way we will fight !!! 

The Protective Mind has no other option but to fight, defend, and protect at all costs.

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