Emotional Acclimatization: This is something I’ve heard a few times at Shihan Richard’s seminars. This is not new and it refers to 'overcoming emotional infringements arising from a stressful event which is important for vital activity' (straight from the text book). Martial artists and other people with life experiences will fully understand this. To give a couple of examples, the experienced doorman is far less emotional, than the average person, when dealing with confrontations, and an experienced prize fighter doesn't become overly concerned of being hit because of adaptation to the pain.
It’s quite common to feel the stress when first competing in tournaments. In my early days of competition I eventually learned to adapt to this type of environment; there would be days where I would turn up to a tournament, after a night shift, and would have a nap until somebody would come and wake me up when it was my turn to fight. You also learn to take pain; after a couple of full contact fights I never really got worried about getting hit.
What’s equally important is emotionally adapting to real life self defence situations. If you have to defend yourself for the very first time, expect emotions to escalate, which are likely to cause an unprecedented adrenal dump, resulting in considerable decrease in gross motor skills. It won’t matter how many techniques you know because these will be difficult to recall if you're not emotionally acclimatized. Those who disagree should think of a time where they may have over-reacted in a silly traffic incident with another motorist; this is why normal people can end up in road rages because they become too emotional and don’t know what they're doing at the time.
We can usually choose our own environments which minimises the chances of getting into trouble but there are those who have no choice through necessity in their work, like I have! It got to the stage, if I got into a fight, my attitude was 'I might as well enjoy it since there was nothing I can do about it at the time, but do, whatever it took me, to do the job; that was my way of overcoming fear.
Emotional acclimatization does not come in pill form, however, there is a remedy. Remember, how painful was that first shin kick to your leg? After a few of them, it’s not too bad. You learn to adapt to the pain with repetition. I am not suggesting self harm so please don't try and get the better half of a baseball bat. What students need to do is experience emotions under controlled conditions so acclimitization can go to work. It's OK to be man-handled by your Instructor (for the right reasons) or take a few good hits, at least you won't freak out if it ever happens to you in a real situation. This is much needed in the reality based component of the martial arts but the student must want this type of training and understand the way it should be administered.
By the way, don't stress out all over this. Just keep in mind something which may appear bad might actually be good for you.