This is a short introduction to NSP training and the nervous system
NSP Training is a practical system developed from the Russian martial art Systema. Systema is a hand to hand fighting system developed to help soldiers deal with extreme pressure and stress of war. NSP training uses some of the same ideas and principles as Systema, but the main focus is not learning to fight (all thou we could use fighting exercises), but to develop as a person, improve performance at work or in competition and deal with the pressure, stress and anxiety of the modern lifestyle.
Understanding and how to practically deal with the nervous system is in my experience as personal trainer, mentor, life and career coach the most effective way to create change and develop as a human, that is why I have created NSP training to help my clients. The system is based on scientific knowledge about the nervous system and how you train soldiers and athletes in the most effective way, to be able to use their training under pressure in real life.
The understanding on how training can actually lead to improved performance under pressure as an athlete, is the key to develop athletes to the highest level and it is the same issue with personal development. Training and learning new things related to personal development can be very interesting and feels enlightening, but actual change and the ability to deal with real life is often mis-understood in the preparation, making a lot of tools to personal development an interesting endeavour that might create change, but could be very inefficient as they rarely deal with the fact that training and real life is very different.
When looking at the nervous system we learn to integrate body, mind and psychic in the training creating the most effective environment to train for real life. In fact our most important saying is:
“If you can’t use the training straight away in your daily life, we do not waist time doing it!”
So what is the nervous system?
The nervous system is the body’s electrical circuit that controls everything in the body. If we turn off the nervous system, we are nothing but meat and bones, just like a computer is just metal with no power. Think about nerves as wires conducting electricity. These wires are located everywhere in the body and turns on the different functions that a certain area has, like the brain has to think or the muscle has to tense up, when we move.
The nervous system is divided into 4 parts controlling different functions in the body.
- Central Nervous System (CNS) – The brain and spine – controlling thoughts, memory and the translation of the peripheral nervous system.
The peripheral nervous system
- Motoric Nervous System – Motor neurons coming from the spine (CNS) to the muscles – controlling movement
- Sensory Nervous System – Sensory neurons coming from CNS to tissue in need of the 5 senses – Controlling the senses our primary way to perceive the world
- Autonomic Nervous System – Neurons coming from CNS to organs and muscles – Controlling bodily functions that keep us alive
The autonomic nervous system – the one system that rules them all
As the most important function of the nervous system is to keep us alive, the autonomic nervous system is always active and scanning our surroundings to figure out if we are in more or less danger, turning on the sympathetic NS if we have to survive or the parasympathetic NS if we are safe. These two systems are always active even when we sleep. It is rarely that it is only one of the systems that are active, meaning that we are in full on survival mode or a complete relaxation, it is mostly a balance between them. This balance create a more realistic and finetuned response to the surroundings.
For some people this balance is unhealthy, meaning that there are either too much or too little activation in one or both of the systems. Often it is the sympathetic nervous system that is active way too much and in the wrong circumstances, meaning that the nervous system is scanning the surroundings finding dangers that are not really dangers, creating and unwanted behaviour in the individual that are not proportional to the actual situation.
What is nervous system programming?
The way that the nervous system learns to recognize dangers is through the programming of triggers. When we meet the world; meaning everything around us (for humans we also have a huge inner world, our thoughts and psychic) the nervous system activates to create a future response to what we meet. So next time we are in that situation we can react quickly without too much thinking. The trigger of this reaction could be anything that turns on any part of the nervous system. Usually we talk about sounds, physical contact, visual images things that turns on the sensory nervous system, but sometimes it is hard to recognize where the sensory input comes from, and it could seem like just a thought in the central nervous system (the brain) that can start this response.
Most triggers is a combination of many different small triggers, where it is hard to figure out the exact trigger of a certain behaviour.
This programming of the nervous system works on so many levels, again the autonomic nervous system is always active and the autonomic nervous system activates through the triggers that are programmed in to the nervous system, creating what we see on the surface as behaviour. This is where we start to wonder who we are as humans…
Why do we do, what we do?
What is NSP training? (NSP = Nervous system programming)
NSP training mimics the process in the nervous system of programming triggers, to help people create behavioural changes. By understanding that it is all about what happens in the nervous system in the exact moment when we meet the potential trigger, let’s say a sound, that determines our behaviour in the future. Soo by controlling the 4 parts of the nervous system while adding on triggers, we can reprogram the nervous system to create new behaviour.
The nervous system only learns from repetition, where we meet a certain trigger and through the right activation of the nervous system, we create new triggers that turns on the response we want. So we practice the tools and adding on pressure, that it is why it is called training.
The nervous system works in concert
When programming the nervous system it is important to understand that the autonomic nervous system works together with all the other parts, all the time. So if the sympathetic response is turned on by a trigger, the motoric nervous system will prepare for survival by tensing up, the senses will focus in on the danger, creating tunnel vision for instance and the thinking and emotional part of the brain will shut down to stop unnecessary activation in the nervous system that does not help in survival.
This means that the programming process (training) always has to include tools to regulate all 4 parts of the nervous system at the same time.