“What’s to Gain from Pain?,” by Krista de Castella

“Have you ever wondered what it’d be like to be impervious to pain? As a martial artist, it’d certainly have its perks. It’s the sort of superhuman power that belongs in comic books. Amazingly for some people it is a reality.

Congenital Insensitivity to Pain with Anhidrosis CIPA is a rare condition in which children are born without the ability to sense pain or extremes in temperature. They are normal in every other sense. They can still feel other sensations and touch from normal body-to-body contact. But these people simply can’t feel pain and never will. They can hurt themselves in all ways imaginable and may not even know it. And while this might all sound great, I’d think twice before wishing for this kind of ‘invincibility’.”

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  1. PCP, aka “Angel Dust”, is a street drug which renders the user largely insensible to pain. as it also leads to demented anti-social behavior it’s a huge law enforcement issue. once upon a time a dozen officers were essentially unable to subdue a large, athletic, male up at Tahoe. he was attempting to force entry to a house by pulling the shingles off the wall. after a protracted struggle including the unsuccessful application of a number of hand-to-hand control techniques cumulative exhaustion & injury allowed taking the individual into custody.

  2. Pain is the body’s way of saying stop or slow down. If you continue to ignore it over time you will eventually pay the price. I have seen many aikidoka ignore their pain inducing ways like knee banging during suwariwaza to their later detriment. There is a story of a famous surgeon visiting India who was observing a leper turn a key in a door. The disease had damaged his nerves so badly that the leper had no idea how much pressure to apply to get the key to work without damaging his fingers. The surgeon then figured out that this was the mechanism whereby lepers lost their fingers and went on to devise reconstructive surgical procedures specifically for lepers.

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