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In my line of work, you go through a lot of training and conditioning. It helps you do your job better. In my case, I wanted to be the best, so that means I went though a lot of it.
A major component of this conditioning is to make you ignore pain. If you don't feel pain, it makes you not fear it either. It means even if someone stabbed you or shot you, you would just keep going after them like it didn't even phase you. You become unstoppable. Yeah, there would be physical injury, but the pain wouldn't make you recoil away from them involuntarily and you would persist until they were neutralized.
This conditioning is so extensive that you would even ignore the symptoms of shock. You would keep going until you literally collapsed from organ failure due to blood loss, and even the amount of time it took for that to happen is likely to be extended by the extreme adrenaline release on top of sheer willpower.
The best way I can describe how this conditioning works is something like full spectrum systematic desensitization. It's kind of like exposure therapy that they do in psychology for phobias, only in this case it's for physical pain.
Sharp pain, dull pain, electroshock, extremes of hot and cold. Everything. Once you get past that stuff there's a way of stimulating the pain receptors directly over the entire body simultaneously with technology. Then you just keep cranking it up higher gradually. You have to do it incrementally so the mind doesn't dissociate. You don't "black out" and are completely aware of everything happening to you. The more you do it, the less sensitive you become to pain and the physical aversion reflex starts to diminish.
Eventually a peak is reached, and you no longer so much as flinch when getting stabbed with needles anywhere on the body. Even involuntary biological reactions become drastically reduced, including redness, inflammation, and other signs of physical injury. It's like the body adapts to what's being done to it. It almost looks superhuman to people on the outside who have no idea about this kind of thing.
That's just the physical aspect of it. In the beginning when you're starting out with the low-tech hot and cold extremes and things like that, they also augment the conditioning with psychological motivators. Positive and negative. Positive examples would be money, power, and women. Whatever you desire.
I remember one of the cold extreme exercises. I was in a bathtub of regular cold water from the tap. It starts out easy like that. Then the next session ramps it up by adding ice to it. The next session after that takes it further, only in addition to the ice, they start adding something like butane or liquid nitrogen to make it even colder. One time it was so cold they had to use a claw hammer to chip me out of the ice so I could get out. It was kind of funny that they had to do that, but I just wanted out by that point and the session's time frame was already overextended.
Each exercise increases the amount of time submerged in the cold until minutes become hours, then literally all day and overnight. I remember a couple of times they left to go out to eat, or went to bed and came back in the morning to let me out. It was grueling.
While this is happening they would be giving gentle affection and enthusiastic encouragement as the time increased. As the duration rose and the temperatures dropped, they would start to say things like "Just hold on a little longer. I'll give you a big pile of cash." or "If you make it all the way, I'll give you a bunch of gold bars. Those are worth a loooot of money!" There was always some Tender and Loving afterCare at the end to bring me back to normal, and even that was a motivator sometimes.
Negative motivation examples would be something like "If you don't hold this hot piece of metal without letting go, we'll kill your whole family and make you watch." The threats got much worse, but we'll just leave it at that. I don't want to even think about it. You get the idea. The point is a full spectrum utilization of motivation was used.
It seemed to work though, and the results were nothing short of staggering. That hot piece of steel was a section of rebar that had been heated up with a blow torch. They heated it until it was red hot and I saw one guy hold it until it completely stopped glowing and was cold enough for them to touch without it hurting them. When they had him let go, they checked the palm of his hand and there was no sign of injury, just some soot. They cleaned it off and there wasn't any blisters or anything. Not even any redness.
That kind of thing should completely destroy tissue, but to this day there's no marks, scarring, or any other signs it ever happened to him. He was acting like it was no big deal at the time and thought they were faking how hot it was, but you can't really fake a blowtorch when it ignites things right in front of you and the rebar is so hot it catches a piece of paper on fire when you touch them together.
Oh, by the way, kids. Don't try this at home. Seriously.
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