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5| Elite Performance and Learning Expert Dr. Joseph Trachtman

5| Elite Performance and Learning Expert Dr. Joseph Trachtman
Half the City

 
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Dr. Joseph Trachtman sits at the cross between optometry and experimental psychology.

He has over 40 years’ experience in the area of elite performance through visual training, having worked with the likes of NASA, the US Olympic Shooting Team, the Pittsburgh Pirates, the New England Patriots, the Boston Bruins, and jet fighter pilots, as well as those with autism, PTSD, and TBI.
As President of the Elite Performance and Learning Center, he has pioneered elite performance and has developed zone-inducing technology, including the Zone-Trac AR.

Show Notes

Elite Performance and Learning Center 

Zone-Trac AR

Follow Dr. Trachtman on LinkedIn

Theme music by: Ruel Morales

Brian Schoenborn 
0:02 

Hello, hello. Hey everyone. Our guest today has over 40
years’ experience in the area of elite performance through visual training,
having worked with the likes of NASA, the US Olympic shooting team, the
Pittsburgh Pirates, New England Patriots, Boston Bruins, and jet fighter
pilots, as well as those with autism, PTSD and traumatic brain injury. As
President of the elite performance and learning center, is pioneered the area
and has developed a zone-inducing technology. Give it up for my friend, Dr.
Joseph Trachtman.

 

Brian Schoenborn 
0:36 

My name is Brian Schoenborn. I’m an explorer of people,
places and culture. In my travels, spanning over 20 countries across four
continents, I’ve had the pleasure of engaging in authentic conversations with
amazingly interesting people. These are their stories, on location and
unfiltered presented by 8B Media. This is Half the City.

 

Brian Schoenborn 
1:02 

What’s up, buddy? How you doing?

 

Dr. Joseph Trachtman 
1:04 

I’m fine. Thank you, Brian.

 

Brian Schoenborn 
1:05 

Good, good, good. So let’s let’s just dive right into it. I
mean, you’ve got a pretty interesting background, right? I mean, not only be
under 40 years of experience and stuff, but you know, when you’re dealing with
elite performance, you know, typically I would think of somebody that has a
pretty, you know, strong sports background. But for those of you listening at
home, you can’t see the fine doctor here. You don’t really strike me as as a
jock. Right? So for those listening, we’re in Seattle, Dr. Trachtman’s what,
five-one?

 

Brian Schoenborn 
1:42 

Maybe not that short. But you’re probably about like
5’4″, 5’6″ something like that?

 

Dr. Joseph Trachtman 
1:47 

I used to be five-seven and due to aging, I shrunk a little
bit. More about 5’6″.

 

Brian Schoenborn 
1:52 

5’6″, maybe a buck-20 soaking wet. But not but not a
large man.

 

Dr. Joseph Trachtman 
1:59 

When I was performing, I was about 135.

 

Brian Schoenborn 
2:03 

135? When you were performing. Performing performing?

 

Dr. Joseph Trachtman 
2:08 

College athletics was 137 pound wrestler in college.

 

Brian Schoenborn 
2:14 

Wow.

 

Dr. Joseph Trachtman 
2:15 

I was the team pole vaulter.

 

Brian Schoenborn 
2:17 

So you wrestled and track and field in college.

 

Dr. Joseph Trachtman 
2:20 

Yes.

 

Brian Schoenborn 
2:21 

That’s amazing. Like, again, like you don’t strike me as the
type that competed the those levels.

 

Dr. Joseph Trachtman 
2:29 

I longed jump. And I sprinted, and I was on the college
record-setting 440 relay team. Back then we used yards and not meters.

 

Brian Schoenborn 
2:43 

So how did you? I mean, how did you get into college sports?
I mean, remember, we’re talking offline, you’re mentioning something about my
god junior high school, things along those lines.

 

Dr. Joseph Trachtman 
2:55 

They didn’t have junior high when I was in school. We had
dinosaurs, things like that.

 

Brian Schoenborn 
3:04 

Dinosaurs!

 

Dr. Joseph Trachtman 
3:05 

We didn’t have junior high schools. I’ve been thinking about
how I got into the concept of elite performance. And I remember when I was in
Little League when I was 11 years old, I likee to steal bases because I was, I
was very fast. And in Little League you can’t steal, you can’t move from the
base until the ball goes past the batter.

 

Brian Schoenborn 
3:36 

Right.

 

Dr. Joseph Trachtman 
3:36 

Whereas in in other leagues like when I played the Babae
Ruth League, and post American Legion and professionally, you could leave
anytime you want. You’re taking the chance.

 

Brian Schoenborn 
3:48 

Right.

 

Dr. Joseph Trachtman 
3:48 

But Little League, only once the ball passes the batter. So
I remember vividly, and this was a long time ago, over 60, 60 years ago. I
remember being on first base and blocking everything out of my mind and waiting
for the ball to go past the batter. And as soon as that would happen I would
run as fast as I could to second base, and most of the time I was successful. I
could steal third base not all the time or as much the time as second days but
quite often, and I think I even stole home once or twice.

 

Brian Schoenborn 
4:28 

Wow. That’s impressive, you know, because I mean stealing
second is one thing, right? Where they gotta throw the ball all the way across
the diamond, but like going from second to third and that’s a short, that’s a
much shorter distance, right? Or stealing home for that matter.

 

Dr. Joseph Trachtman 
4:41 

In Little League it’s 60 feet.

 

Brian Schoenborn 
4:42 

Right.

 

Dr. Joseph Trachtman 
4:44 

And the throw is also 60 feet from the catcher to the third
baseman.

 

Brian Schoenborn 
4:51 

Stealing home like how like, so how do you I mean, you’ve
done that a couple of times, but like how did you was your…do you remember
what you…this is Little League and a long time ago but like…

 

Dr. Joseph Trachtman 
5:00 

I would, you know, be on third base and I would watch the
ball very carefully and as soon as it went past the batter, I would start to
come off the base. And if I saw the catcher fumbling or being uncomfortable, I
would take off very fast.

 

Brian Schoenborn 
5:19 

That’s so cool like you know that’s kind of like, that’s the
stuff you see in movies, right? Like the feel-good movies, or you know, like
The Sandlot or something like that where the you know, the kid takes that
chance and it’s you know, he gets it, he scores home and it’s like you know
crowd goes wild, right? Because it’s so rare. Nice. So that kind of got your
got your start into I mean, if you’re, if you’re drowning everything else out.
Like what you know what kind of like what were you experiencing? What were
those first inklings when you were that age?

 

Dr. Joseph Trachtman 
5:47 

I didn’t think much about it then. When I was pole vaulting
in college, so beginning of my sophomore year, I went to the track coach and I
said, I want to pole vault. So he looked at me and had the same attitude that
you just said, “Trachtman, you don’t look like what you could even get
across the street, okay.”

 

Dr. Joseph Trachtman 
6:11 

I said, “I’d like to pole vault.” So he said,
“Well, you don’t have the upper body strength.” I said, “Well,
that’s strange that you mentioned that, because the wrestling coach, who was
world renowned was on the Olympic Committee and one of the top refs in the in
the whole the whole world. He made me the 137-pound wrestler and I only at that
time I weigh 133 pounds. So apparently, he thinks I have upper body strength,
or else he would have put me down to 123 pounds.”

 

Brian Schoenborn 
6:51 

Right?

 

Dr. Joseph Trachtman 
6:52 

So I said, “Just give me some tests to do. And see I’m
not gonna argue with you. If you say no, no, but you know, give me
chance.”

 

Dr. Joseph Trachtman 
7:01 

So he says, “All right. Go downstairs and suit up and
come up to the gym.” So I go downstairs and put on my gym stuff upstairs.
He said, “Okay, climb up the ropes, do this do that stuff,.”

 

Dr. Joseph Trachtman 
7:14 

I did everything very easily. And he said, “Okay, go
downstairs, take a shower, change clothes and come to my office.” So I did
that, come to his office. And so this was September 1964. And I remember
walking into his office, he was sitting behind one of those institutional
greysteel desks that had a center drawer. It had another drawer to the right
and on the bottom right had a drawer that would hold file folders.

 

Brian Schoenborn 
7:46 

Right.

 

Dr. Joseph Trachtman 
7:48 

So I walk in, he reaches into the file folder drawer takes
out a manila folder. He hands it to me, reaches into the center drawer of his
desk, takes out a set of keys, gives me the keys in the folder. And he says,
“Okay, you can be the pole vaulter.”

 

Dr. Joseph Trachtman 
8:03 

I said, “Okay, thank you.”

 

Brian Schoenborn 
8:07 

So what were the keys for?

 

Dr. Joseph Trachtman 
8:08 

The keys were for where the stanchions and the cross piece
for the pole vaults and the poles.

 

Brian Schoenborn  8:18
 

So you can get out and practice whenever you wanted.

 

Dr. Joseph Trachtman 
8:20 

Yes. And in those days the pole didn’t bend.

 

Brian Schoenborn 
8:25 

Yeah, that’s right. So it took even more strength to like
get up and over, I would imagine.

 

Dr. Joseph Trachtman 
8:31 

So when I left his office, and that walked a little away, I
opened up the folder and what was it? It was an article from Sports Illustrated
of someone pole vaulting. It was in time sequence. And that’s how I learned how
to pole vault. The track host never said one word to me after that about pole
vaulting.

 

Brian Schoenborn 
8:56 

So you didn’t pole vault before you read this article?

 

Dr. Joseph Trachtman 
8:58 

No.

 

Brian Schoenborn 
8:59 

You just, you just woke up one day and said, “I want to
be a pole vaulter.”

 

Dr. Joseph Trachtman 
9:03 

I had wanted to in high school. And then in high school, I
was a little shorter and a little skinnier. So the track coach, he just brushed
it off. And he also brushed off in, in my sophomore year that I was a sprinter.
And then in my senior year, I was the number two in the hundred yard dash and I
would do the anchor on the 880 yard relay. Each one ran 220 yards. So I was the
anchor man and usually the fastest one is the anchor man.

 

Brian Schoenborn 
9:37 

Yep.

 

Dr. Joseph Trachtman 
9:38 

But even known knowing that he just had this attitude. Some
smart little Jewish guy thinks he could pole vault. Give me a break.

 

Brian Schoenborn 
9:50 

Don’t judge a book by its cover, right?

 

Dr. Joseph Trachtman 
9:52 

So, I wanted to pole vault because I just thought it was
fun. I didn’t think that I was, to be a champion or to just do it better than
anyone else who’s doing it on the team. And this, it just looked like it was
fun. So I would before the wrestling season, which began in October or
November, I would go out onto the track where the pole vault pit was, I would
practice pole vaulting. And when I did it, everything occurred in slow motion.
You have to remember, I was very relaxed, there was no competitive baggage
along with it. It was just something to do for fun. And I just remember that,
you run as fast as you can plant the pole in this little hole in the ground,
wait for the pole to go straight up vertically, do a handstand on top of the
pole, push the pole away, go up over the bar, and land in the pit of sawdust
and sand.

 

Dr. Joseph Trachtman 
10:54 

We didn’t have foam then. It was sawdust and sand. So you
had to know how to fall, and from wrestling I knew how to fall, so there was
not a problem. Every once in a while when I was doing my studies, I would get
the same feeling of the pole vaulting.

 

Dr. Joseph Trachtman 
11:15 

And when I would do that, I would have photographic memory
and I could speed read. And so after a while my studies became like a joke that
I could go into an exam, and I would have all the notes photographed in my
mind. And sometimes I would take a blank paper or asked the professor for blank
paper, and I would just make an outline of the notes that were photographed in
my mind. Then I would eat a chocolate bar, I would take a five to 10 minute
rest, then just to get me completely relaxed in the zone and I will take the
test and get an A.

 

Brian Schoenborn 
12:00 

You’re talking about other sports stuff is like getting into
the zone. Right?

 

Dr. Joseph Trachtman 
12:03 

Yes.

 

Brian Schoenborn 
12:04 

Um, it sounds like the same thing with the studies and the
testing. You know, I, I love being in the zone. Like, that’s my, I don’t, I
don’t know exactly how to say. I mean, obviously, I think I think most people
that perform at a high level, you know, I think to get into the zone, right,
like, that’s where, that’s the sweet spot, right?

 

Dr. Joseph Trachtman 
12:27 

Yes.

 

Brian Schoenborn 
12:27 

That’s the sweet spot where, you know, you’re doing
something that you love doing, you do it really well. And when you’re doing it,
it’s almost like nothing else matters. Kind of like, um, remember the movie A
Beautiful Mind? Russell Crowe, you know, when he’s like looking at the
chalkboard and all these, you know, all these symbols and stuff are just like
floating around, like, kind of like that, right? I mean, that’s how it feels to
me anyways.

 

Dr. Joseph Trachtman 
12:54 

When you’re in the zone, it, we can explain it this way. In
our Western culture, most of our information is in the center of our visual field:
computer screens, TV.

 

Brian Schoenborn  13:11 

Right. It’s very, very point A to point B.

 

Dr. Joseph Trachtman 
13:15 

Yes.

 

Brian Schoenborn 
13:16 

Direct line of sight.

 

Dr. Joseph Trachtman 
13:17 

Very few tasks are involved in the periphery.

 

Brian Schoenborn 
13:21 

Uh huh.

 

Dr. Joseph Trachtman 
13:23 

In the vision system in the brain, there’s two separate
channels for information processing. There’s central processing and peripheral
processing, which are analogous to analytical, which is center and emotional,
which is peripheral. So as we know, that we have analytical intelligence, but
we also have emotional intelligence.

 

Brian Schoenborn 
13:47 

Right.

 

Dr. Joseph Trachtman 
13:48 

When you’re in the zone using both, and using both doesn’t
detract from either one. In fact it’s additive. So for example, you can think
of being just central or being just peripheral as a straight line, like you
said from A to B. Now, some people have the ability to switch from center to
periphery or periphery to center. So we used computer terminology for that same
flip flop, flip flop from one method of processing to another.

 

Brian Schoenborn 
14:31 

Yep.

 

Dr. Joseph Trachtman 
14:32 

Then there are other people who can…so the flip flop is
like a two-dimensional plane, like a piece of paper is basically a two-dimensional
plane. It has a thickness but it’s negligible. People who are parallel
processing, it’s like a sphere. If you can imagine in your mind, the difference
between a line, a plane, and a sphere. The sphere has tremendously more volume
than the other two. In fact, the line doesn’t even have volume.

 

Brian Schoenborn 
15:08 

Right.

 

Dr. Joseph Trachtman 
15:09 

And this is what happens without processing. So when we’re
parallel processing, when we’re in the zone, we’re able to do to do all these
things. And the point you made is very good. I’ve had when I was in New York, I
had patients who were Broadway performers, and they call it in the moment.

 

Brian Schoenborn 
15:27 

Sure.

 

Dr. Joseph Trachtman 
15:27 

And they said that the great stage performers, and the
example one of the patients gave was Sir Laurence Oliver. Just being in in in
the same theater when he was performing, you could feel it, you can feel that
that energy. You know, you can call it charisma or people call other things,
but that’s it. When you’re in the zone, the brainwaves change, and the
brainwave is called the alpha wave that gets very big. This is the Zen state.

 

Brian Schoenborn 
16:02 

Yep.

 

Dr. Joseph Trachtman 
16:03 

And this is optimizes body function and produces lots of
good body chemicals. And one of those is beta endorphin, which makes us feel
good.

 

Brian Schoenborn 
16:15 

So a lot of that’s sciency jargon, which admit, I mean,
admittedly, I don’t know shit about. But it’s fine. You know, I think the way
that you explained it, you know, it’s like Laurence Olivier and like other
actors, you know, like, or professional athletes, like we’re going to get into
in a minute. But yeah, it’s one of those things where it’s like, when you’re in
the zone, or in the moment or in the flow or whatever you want to call it, it’s
almost like everything else slows down. It’s like in slow motion, right? Like
you’re just seeing everything.

 

Dr. Joseph Trachtman 
16:45 

That’s that’s how the athletes would describe it.

 

Brian Schoenborn 
16:48 

Yeah.

 

Dr. Joseph Trachtman 
16:48 

Particularly baseball players so they could see the rotation
of the seams of the baseball and it’s leaving the pitcher’s hand, so they know
whether it will be a two-seam or four-seam fastball or breaking ball.

 

Brian Schoenborn 
17:02 

…which is crazy to think about because that ball goes so
fast. Right? And I mean, you’re talking 80 to 100 miles an hour, 90 feet away
or however, however far it is, I forget in baseball.

 

Dr. Joseph Trachtman 
17:12 

60 feet, six inches.

 

Brian Schoenborn 
17:14 

60, oh right, that’s right. So it’s, you know, it’s like a
split second, right?

 

Dr. Joseph Trachtman 
17:20 

About three tenths of a second. Well, about, depending how
fast…less than six tenths of a second?

 

Brian Schoenborn 
17:27 

Yeah.

 

Dr. Joseph Trachtman 
17:28 

Could be faster, but not any more than that.

 

Brian Schoenborn 
17:31 

Right. I mean, and I say like, you know, it’s it’s often
been said that hitting a baseball is, at the major league level, is like one of
the hardest things to do in sports. Because you know, you’re right, because
you’ve got like that fraction of a second, not only to understand how fast the
ball is going, but the curvature, right, and what type of pitches have, you
know, how it’s going to how it’s going to wavers as it moves…

 

Dr. Joseph Trachtman 
17:51 

It’s not coming straight towards you.

 

Brian Schoenborn 
17:55 

Even if it’s a fastball, it’s coming like down right?

 

Dr. Joseph Trachtman 
17:58 

Roger Withrow, who was the world champion in the air rifle
when I was training him, he could see the bullet going through the paper
target.

 

Brian Schoenborn 
18:06 

Wow.

 

Dr. Joseph Trachtman 
18:06 

Now you could say that you know he’s full of baloney, but…

 

Brian Schoenborn 
18:10 

It sounds like bullshit to me.

 

Dr. Joseph Trachtman 
18:12 

My answer is he has the gold medal and you don’t.

 

Brian Schoenborn 
18:15 

Exactly, exactly so whatever he says, I mean, there’s
credibility there.

 

Dr. Joseph Trachtman 
18:19 

Now and I was training the Navy pilots in Pensacola land on
the aircraft carriers. They said that you can’t do that unless you see in slow
motion. There’s just too many things happening all at once. For example, a plane’s
going hundreds of miles an hour.

 

Brian Schoenborn 
18:36 

Yep.

 

Dr. Joseph Trachtman 
18:37 

The aircraft carrier’s probably going 60, 70 miles an hour.
And it’s rocking left and, left and right or…

 

Brian Schoenborn 
18:44 

Right, because it’s on the water.

 

Dr. Joseph Trachtman 
18:45 

Port and starboard, we have to keep our language correct.
And it’s fore and aft. So it’s doing all these things. And you have to land
this, and you only get one shot at the hook.

 

Brian Schoenborn 
18:56  

Right.

 

Dr. Joseph Trachtman 
18:56 

And they said oh, they call it streaming where they can see
everything on the control panel, and they can see everything on the deck,
everything. And it just is, like you said just in zone and just happens.

 

Brian Schoenborn 
19:11 

I want to dive into all that stuff like there’s a lot to
unpack there. First, I’d like to kind of pull it back a little bit and kind of
understand how you got there, how you got to that point. You know, you’re doing
sports in college, right? You realize you’re recognizing that you’re getting
into this like flow state, maybe you’re not sure exactly what it was or
whatever. But how did you go from Joe Trachtman, you know, wrestler, track and
field athlete in college to expert in the field of elite performance?

 

Dr. Joseph Trachtman 
19:44 

I have to give myself a plug because you mentioned I also
played a lot of baseball. And when I was a senior in high school, I was playing
in an outside league. And there was a paper in New York City then called the
Journal American, which since went out of print. They would have an annual
scholarship for combination baseball player-scholar. And I came in second and
all the city, like the whole New York City.

 

Brian Schoenborn 
20:13 

Nice, a dual threat.

 

Dr. Joseph Trachtman 
20:15 

You know, so I played, I also played baseball. So how did I
get into it? So, after undergraduate school, I went to optometry college. And
after optometry college, I went into the army.

 

Brian Schoenborn 
20:27 

That was, I think that was during Vietnam, right? If I
recall?

 

Dr. Joseph Trachtman 
20:30 

Yes.

 

Brian Schoenborn 
20:30 

So you’re so you’re an optometrist?

 

Dr. Joseph Trachtman 
20:32 

I was an optometrist.

 

Brian Schoenborn 
20:33 

In the army. In the Vietnam era.

 

Dr. Joseph Trachtman 
20:35 

Actually my title was Chief Optometry Officer, US Kirk Army
Hospital, Aberdeen Proving Ground.

 

Brian Schoenborn 
20:41  

At the Aberdeen Proving Ground. Just for the listeners, can
you explain a little bit about what the Aberdeen Proving Ground is or was?

 

Dr. Joseph Trachtman 
20:49 

Aberdeen Proving Ground at that time, I don’t know now, at
that time, was the center for ordinance. So they had the ordinance school.

 

Brian Schoenborn 
21:00 

Which is like explosives and bombs and things like that.

 

Dr. Joseph Trachtman 
21:02 

Yes. And also, it was the headquarters for the Test and
Evaluation command. The acronym TECOM. In the military, they love acronyms.

 

Brian Schoenborn 
21:16 

Indeed.

 

Dr. Joseph Trachtman 
21:17 

When you first get your orders, you’re trying to read
that…

 

Brian Schoenborn 
21:21 

You’re like, “Where am I going? What is this?”
Yeah.

 

Dr. Joseph Trachtman 
21:27 

My brother was in the Navy Reserve. I got my orders. I had
him come over and read them, and he says, “What is all this stuff?”
and he was laughing.

 

Dr. Joseph Trachtman 
21:41 

So, so TECOM is where they would test all the advanced
weapons. So at that time, 1970, they were testing the laser tank.

 

Brian Schoenborn 
21:52 

Laser tank?

 

Dr. Joseph Trachtman 
21:53 

They used a laser rangefinder find, to pinpoint targets.

 

Brian Schoenborn 
21:58 

Okay.

 

Dr. Joseph Trachtman 
21:59 

And you know, 50 years ago, that was a novel.

 

Brian Schoenborn 
22:04 

Technology’s changed a little bit since then.

 

Dr. Joseph Trachtman 
22:06 

So Aberdeen, at that time, a population of 40,000…

 

Brian Schoenborn  22:12 

….and you’re coming from Brooklyn.

 

Dr. Joseph Trachtman 
22:13 

I’m coming from Brooklyn, there’s probably 40,000 people on
my street. So my clinic was open from eight to 4:30. And then by 5:30, they
pulled the sidewalks in, and I’m sitting there in my apartment, twiddling my
thumbs saying, “Now what am I gonna do to eight o’clock in the
morning?”

 

Brian Schoenborn 
22:30 

Right?

 

Dr. Joseph Trachtman 
22:31 

So, fortunately, I got accepted the Johns Hopkins
University, graduate program, masters program. And during that program, I
started to learn about biofeedback. And so I thought biofeedback would be a
very interesting application of vision training. And so when I was discharged
and came back to New York, I wanted to pursue a PhD in experimental psychology.

 

Brian Schoenborn 
23:04 

Real quick. I mean, I want to back up a second, can you
explain the concept behind biofeedback? Like, what is that?

 

Dr. Joseph Trachtman 
23:11 

Yes.

 

Brian Schoenborn 
23:12 

And then how that fits into vision training you’re talking
about?

 

Dr. Joseph Trachtman 
23:16 

Biofeedback, it can be defined as becoming aware of a body
function or process that you’re not normally aware of. For example, if you want
to do biofeedback of finger temperature, which is very helpful for people who
have migraine headaches, you would use a sensor that’s not sensitive, just to a
10th of a degree, like a regular thermometer that you would use like 98.6 or
100.2, whatever, it will be sensitive to 1000th or even 1 10thousandth of a
degree. So a very, very small change can measure very small change in your
temperature, and then produce a very big sound or light display corresponding
to that very small change.

 

Brian Schoenborn 
24:02 

Huh, ok.

 

Dr. Joseph Trachtman 
24:04 

With that kind of feedback, you can learn how to control
your temperature, heart rate, body temperature, all these different things. So,
so the muscles inside the eye that focus…

 

Brian Schoenborn 
24:18 

Being an optometrist you’re saying, “Okay, this concept
here, can this also be applied?”

 

Dr. Joseph Trachtman 
24:24 

 Well, I had, I had
done an internship and residency in vision training.

 

Brian Schoenborn 
24:27 

Yep, ok.

 

Dr. Joseph Trachtman 
24:28 

So that that was my specialty. And so I was really
interested in how to improve people’s vision naturally, and you can do it in
vision training. It would take a long time, we would get good results, but
sometimes it would take a very long time and a lot of patients would drop out
before they could get good success.

 

Brian Schoenborn 
24:50 

You can actually improve your eyesight without, you know,
just needing his glasses or LASIK surgery or something like that.

 

Dr. Joseph Trachtman 
24:56 

Yes, exactly. And you can do it for when you need glasses.
Or you have a lazy eye, or when your eye turns, whatever vision problem there
is we can do vision training for. Now they call it vision therapy then we
called it vision training.

 

Brian Schoenborn 
25:13 

So, so getting into the biofeedback, right? And you’re
saying, hey, how can I apply this, so towards vision training?

 

Dr. Joseph Trachtman 
25:19 

As I was pursuing this, I came across a NASA article, where
a NASA scientist called, named Robert Randall, who trained some NASA pilots to
improve their vision. So I took his report to my dissertation committee. And,
to get a PhD is very formal. You have to have a committee, you have a chairman
head, You have to have a written proposal and very formal.

 

Brian Schoenborn 
25:49 

A lot of hoops to jump through.

 

Dr. Joseph Trachtman 
25:51 

And your proposal has to be substantial. It usually is
something novel, a replication of something that there has been some controversy
about. So I brought to their attention something novel, being able to take
people who wear glasses, and give them the biofeedback training to see if that
would be helpful. So the NASA research was done with astronauts who, you know,
were almost Superman.

 

Brian Schoenborn 
26:22 

Well yeah, they’re like the top of the top of the top right?

 

Dr. Joseph Trachtman 
26:24 

Exactly. And so training they’re vision, you know, may not
relate to the general population. So that, that was my dissertation. So, after
that, finished that 1978. And then in the early 1980s, a patient came to me and
he said, I want to be in New York City fireman. But I said to him, his name’s
Robert, and it was in Omni Magazine in 1985. They wrote up his story.

 

Dr. Joseph Trachtman 
27:00 

He can only see the big E at the 10 feet.

 

Brian Schoenborn 
27:08 

So when you say the big E you’re talking about, like the
vision chart?

 

Dr. Joseph Trachtman 
27:10 

Yeah. The big E, that’s about 10 inches.

 

Brian Schoenborn 
27:13 

Like the biggest thing at the top.

 

Brian Schoenborn 
27:15 

Right, so you go through and you read the different letters,
or whatever.

 

Dr. Joseph Trachtman 
27:15 

Right.

 

Dr. Joseph Trachtman 
27:17 

So that’s what you can see without your glasses, so you have
to be able to see 20/30 which is about an inch and a half, without your glasses
to pass the fireman’s test.

 

Brian Schoenborn 
27:19 

So he’s basically like blind, right? I mean, almost legally
blind.

 

Dr. Joseph Trachtman 
27:30 

Legally blind means that with glasses, you can’t see.

 

Brian Schoenborn 
27:32 

Oh, okay.

 

Dr. Joseph Trachtman 
27:33 

This is without his glasses with the glasses, he could see
20/20 you know, smaller, but those glasses that all, but the fire department
regulation was you had to see 20/30 or maybe 20/40 a much smaller letter, one
10th of the size of what he could see. And I said that I don’t think that’s
possible. So he said, “No, I really need to do this. I don’t like doing
any other work, I want to be a fireman.”

 

Dr. Joseph Trachtman 
28:02 

So I said, “Okay, let me assemble my dissertation
apparatus that had put away in boxes.” Figuring that, you know, once it’s
over, it’s over. And so it took me about a month or so to do it. Gave him about
15 or 17 training sessions. And he actually passed.

 

Brian Schoenborn 
28:18 

Wow.

 

Dr. Joseph Trachtman 
28:19 

He actually passed. He subsequently retired from FDNY.

 

Brian Schoenborn 
28:23 

Yeah, so so you’re able to take the, so the apparatus,
right? So this was a machine that you put together?

 

Dr. Joseph Trachtman 
28:30 

It was a desktop unit that had two components: it had a chin
rest, if one has gone to the eye doctor when he looks at your eyes with a
microscope, measures your eyes otherwise, sometimes you have to put your head
in a chin and head rest where your chin goes in a cup and your forehead goes up
against the bar to hold the head steady.

 

Brian Schoenborn 
28:51 

Yeah, got it.

 

Dr. Joseph Trachtman 
28:52 

So that that was one part, and that had the optical system
that would measure how your eye is focusing and then that was connected to a
electronic box that had all the electronics in it. Back then we had integrated
circuits and, and resistors and capacitors and the power supply. So it had to
be separate…

 

Brian Schoenborn 
29:13 

Big, big machines back then.

 

Dr. Joseph Trachtman 
29:15 

Right. No tubes, but it still had a lot of bulk to it. And a
LED display and buttons and knobs control, and an oscilloscope which is like a
TV screen that would show the image that was being projected on the eye. So we
could line up and see how people were doing. And so that that was the first
instrument.

 

Brian Schoenborn 
29:37 

So did you, before you applied this with the firefighter,
did you test it out or use it?

 

Dr. Joseph Trachtman 
29:46 

No, it was my dissertation research.

 

Brian Schoenborn 
29:48 

Oh, okay.

 

Dr. Joseph Trachtman 
29:49 

So I only did it for the just subjects in the dissertation.
I hadn’t done it with anybody else. He was the first one, so after this success
with him, we started to train more people who are near sighted because they
said we have a method to do this. And then people would bring children, their
children in who were nearsighted or becoming nearsighted, or they were
farsighted. People over the age of 40 start to have problems reading up close,
so they would say, “Does it work for that?”

 

Dr. Joseph Trachtman  30:21 

And I said, “I don’t know. Let’s try it.” So it
worked for that then someone bring a child in that had the lazy eye, it worked
for that. Someone came in with an eye turns in or out, we did that. There’s
another condition called nystagmus where the eyes oscillate back and forth,
left to right. And it worked for that. So it worked for all these different
different things.

 

Dr. Joseph Trachtman 
30:44 

And, and that’s when eventually got to the Pittsburgh
Pirates and the Olympic Shooting Team because they wanted to improve their
vision.

 

Brian Schoenborn 
30:52 

So tell me a bit about the Pirates work, like, what did you,
what did you do with them and like…?

 

Dr. Joseph Trachtman 
30:57 

The first I went down to Sarasota when they were doing spring
training, in 1988 and the general manager of the Pirates then was Syd Thrift.

 

Brian Schoenborn 
31:09 

So ’88 was the year with Barry Bonds, Bobby Bonilla.

 

Dr. Joseph Trachtman 
31:13 

Yeah, and Andy van Slyke.

 

Brian Schoenborn 
31:15 

There was, was the, was that their World Series run?

 

Dr. Joseph Trachtman 
31:18 

No, they almost…lost the pennant to the Mets.

 

Brian Schoenborn 
31:21 

Oh, that’s right.

 

Dr. Joseph Trachtman 
31:22 

But they they were very it was a very close contest and then
they would have gone to the World Series.

 

Brian Schoenborn 
31:27 

Yep. So did you, you wound up working with the Pirates
throughout the season or?

 

Dr. Joseph Trachtman 
31:31 

Right, so what we did is, you know, I trained a number of
the athletes, baseball players. And their vision improved so much that we
usually do the testing at 20 feet. But at 20 feet, they could see the bottom
line of everything. So we had to move it back to 30 feet. And they still could
see the bottom line. It just threw everything, just blew them out of the water.

 

Brian Schoenborn 
31:53 

Yeah.

 

Dr. Joseph Trachtman 
31:54 

So what we did is we, I trained one of the graduate students
at the University of Pittsburgh in the psychology department, and how did I
entice him to do that? I said, “I need someone to give training to the baseball
players. And if you want to do it, you go to every home game for free.”

 

Brian Schoenborn 
32:14 

Nice. And that’s a, you know, it’s a little bit of a perk.

 

Dr. Joseph Trachtman 
32:17 

So I trained him, so he would give the players ,whoever wanted
it, you know, professional athletes, you can’t force them to do anything, they
just…but most of them, you know, come in and do a little tune up before the
game. And then I would fly in about every month and just to check up on
everything. And it worked out very, very well the, the players really liked it.
Syd Thrift liked it so much that in his book, The Game According to Syd, chapter
five is all about me.

 

Brian Schoenborn 
32:46 

Nice, you got a full dedicated chapter. Yeah that’s sweet.
And that’s because again, like ’88, like Pirates were like beast mode that
year, right? Like.

 

Dr. Joseph Trachtman 
32:55 

Yes, Bobby Bonilla was Triple Crown.

 

Brian Schoenborn 
32:58 

Did he win the Triple Crown?

 

Dr. Joseph Trachtman 
33:00 

He had it for a while.

 

Brian Schoenborn 
33:03 

Yeah, right. Like that was like his big like, that was his
breakout year. He was good. He was good before that, but like that was his
year.

 

Dr. Joseph Trachtman 
33:11 

Yes.

 

Brian Schoenborn 
33:12 

Um, were you, were you working with him that year?

 

Dr. Joseph Trachtman 
33:16 

Yes.

 

Brian Schoenborn 
33:17 

Oh nice, so, I’m so you probably…I’m gonna take a look
really quick. I’m gonna see if I can see some. I wanna see some stat lines.

 

Dr. Joseph Trachtman 
33:22 

Actually I had a very good relationship with him. He lived
in the Bronx. So number one, he was from New York City. But his father lived in
Brooklyn. So anybody who lived in Brooklyn was cool. And so we got along very,
very well and and it helped him quite a bit. It helped Bob Walk, one of the
pitchers, and another one of the pitchers. Forget his last name. First name is
Jim. They had a whole article in GQ about about him, how it helped the pitcher
so much to really get focused in what they were doing. With so much crowd
noise, not be distracted.

 

Brian Schoenborn 
34:06 

So that’s when was that when you started realizing,
“Hey, it’s more than just improving eyesight, but it’s also like, diving
into the zone?”

 

Dr. Joseph Trachtman 
34:16 

So right after that, I started to measure brainwaves while
we were doing the training. And that’s when I discovered that when the muscles
in the eye relaxed an optimal amount, the brainwaves change to what we
mentioned before the alpha state. This is zen meditative state.

 

Brian Schoenborn 
34:37 

Right.

 

Dr. Joseph Trachtman 
34:38 

And that was novel, have a patent on it. Previous to that in
the literature, and it’s still in, in books now, that when you eyes are closed,
the alpha wave is big, but when you open your eyes to alpha get smaller.

 

Brian Schoenborn 
34:55 

Okay, so what does that mean?

 

Dr. Joseph Trachtman 
34:56 

That means that we were able to train people to go into
alpha with their eyes open. And that was the novelty.

 

Brian Schoenborn  35:02 

Nice.

 

Dr. Joseph Trachtman 
35:04 

Before people didn’t think that they could do it. In the
60s, college students were doing alpha training to get the buzz out of it. If
they were on other stuff, they got an extra buzz, but when they would open their
eyes it would go away. So they stopped doing it. When the players would tell me
that they got into this altered state, I wanted to measure their brainwaves,
and having a PhD in experimental psychology, I was very familiar with those
kinds of things. So so, you know, measuring their brainwaves. People might ask
what’s I back to doing measuring brainwaves?

 

Brian Schoenborn 
35:40 

Right? No, that’s what I’m saying. Like, there’s an
interesting cross between the doctor of optometry and the…

 

Dr. Joseph Trachtman 
35:46 

…experimental side of psychology. In experimental
psychology, one of the sub-specialties is vision.

 

Brian Schoenborn 
35:53 

God, that’s really cool. I mean, you know, like I said, I
can’t say it enough. Like I’m I love being in the zone. Like, that’s my, that’s
my favorite place to be. If I could do it all day every day, that’d be, like,
ideal.

 

Dr. Joseph Trachtman 
36:05 

One of the most rewarding things of the training now is the
increase in the diagnosis of autistic spectrum disorder. I have quite a number
of young children like seven to nine. Their parents bring them into the office
because they’ve been diagnosed as being on the spectrum. This, that, and the
other thing, and within 10 visits, 10 training visits with the training device,
teach them how to concentrate. And then usually by the sixth or seventh
session, they’re going to the library, they’re going to their parents bookshelf
and taking out books to read. Whereas before getting them to read it was like,
the worst thing in the world.

 

Brian Schoenborn 
36:50 

Yeah. No, I hear that my, my nephew’s on the spectrum. I
don’t think he’s like, super deep on the spectrum right? He’s not like it’s not
like Rain Man autistic. But he definitely shows signs. And I could see where
some of that concentration stuff or, you know, being able to like pick up a
book and like read and just, you know, go and chill, I think that’d have huge
positive impacts on him and other people like him.

 

Dr. Joseph Trachtman 
37:22 

If any of you listeners are interested, I give myself
another plug.

 

Brian Schoenborn 
37:25 

Sure.

 

Dr. Joseph Trachtman 
37:26 

And also a big shout out to Brian because he did the filming
that if you go to my YouTube channel, you’ll see that is a one-hour video understanding
autism.

 

Brian Schoenborn 
37:39 

What’s your YouTube channel?

 

Dr. Joseph Trachtman 
37:40 

Joseph Trachtman.

 

Brian Schoenborn 
37:41  

Joseph Trachtman Yep, you’ll see the spelling of that when
you look at the podcast episode.

 

Brian Schoenborn 
37:47 

That’s cool. So you worked at the Pirates during the big
run, Bobby Bonilla’s breakout year, right? I mean, it’s really because of that
and the next three, uh you know, during during that run In the late 80s, early
90s, when they were like a threat every year, right, it was kind of because of
that, that he wound going to the Mets and got that deal where he’s still
getting paid.

 

Dr. Joseph Trachtman 
38:10 

Right.

 

Brian Schoenborn 
38:10 

He’s still getting paid. He hasn’t played for like 20 years.
That’s gotta be the greatest deal in history.

 

Dr. Joseph Trachtman 
38:17 

As you asked me before, I don’t get a percentage of that.

 

Brian Schoenborn 
38:22 

That’s too bad, you should have worked out. But so you know,
so you’ve done the work with the autistic kids. You’ve done stuff with the
Pirates.

 

Dr. Joseph Trachtman 
38:32 

To get back to the shooters.

 

Brian Schoenborn 
38:34  

Yeah. And that’s what I want to talk about. The US Olympic
Shooting Team,

 

Dr. Joseph Trachtman 
38:34 

…and so 1992 the silver medalist, Buddy Firth…I had
given him training, and then the National Women’s Champion, and competed well
into the 90s after that, she also figured it out. And this is funny. So we gave
her training in the morning and she was having trouble figuring it out and was
getting a little angry about it. Because, you know, people at the champion
level don’t enjoy not being successful.

 

Brian Schoenborn 
39:10 

Of course.

 

Dr. Joseph Trachtman 
39:11 

And so she came back in the afternoon and she really nailed
it. And then shortly after that, she broke all her records. And then in the,
you know, 93, 94, 95, she continued in just one kept winning more awards, and
setting records.

 

Brian Schoenborn 
39:29 

That’s awesome. You know, like, I was a pretty good shooter
back in the Marines. I was a rifle expert, almost a perfect score, that sort of
thing. And so I sit there and I think about when you’re shooting, like, for me
during my time it was the M16, right? So the I think I see M4 now. But either
way, you’ve got to qualify once a year in the range. And when I when I was
doing qualifications, you know, you’ve got you’ve got to qualify three or four
different ways, right?

 

Brian Schoenborn 
39:55 

One’s standing, one’s kneeling, one’s sitting and one’s
prone or laying down. So they’ve all got their own different challenges. But
you know, really the secret to shooting straight and shooting true. One is the
breathing, right? Slow, measured breath. Two is relaxing as much as possible.
Right? That’s relaxing your breathing. It’s relaxing your body. It’s also
relaxing your eye. So you can keep that straight and focused. And relaxing your
mind too. Absolutely can’t be thinking about anything else.

 

Dr. Joseph Trachtman 
39:56 

No, when you relax the mind, everything else goes.
Everything else goes into a relaxed state.

 

Brian Schoenborn 
40:42 

Like being a being in the zone like that. I mean, that’s,
that’s about as optimal as you possibly can have for keeping that aim straight
and true. Right? So I could see totally how that works out for the Olympic team
and how that worked out for her.

 

Dr. Joseph Trachtman 
40:56 

Sure.

 

Brian Schoenborn 
40:56 

For sure. I know you mentioned you also did some stuff with
the with the Patriots and the Bruins and things like that.

 

Dr. Joseph Trachtman 
41:02 

Yes.

 

Brian Schoenborn 
41:04 

Can you kind of dive into that a little bit?

 

Dr. Joseph Trachtman 
41:06 

With the Patriots, a player I worked with was an offensive
tackle. At that time, he was about six foot 3, 6’4″, weighed 260. Now he’d
be running back or safety. Back then, you know, that was that was pretty big.

 

Brian Schoenborn 
41:27 

Yep.

 

Dr. Joseph Trachtman 
41:28 

And what he liked most about it was that if he could get off
the line, the slightest fraction of a second faster than the guy on the other
side that made all the difference in the world.

 

Brian Schoenborn 
41:42 

Absolutely.

 

Dr. Joseph Trachtman 
41:43 

Didn’t make how how big and strong you are, but if you got the
jump on the other guy that would that that was the big benefit and that’s what
he enjoyed the most about it. The hockey player the Boston Bruin that I worked
with most was Kenny Linseman.

 

Brian Schoenborn 
42:00 

He was with the Bruins, right?

 

Dr. Joseph Trachtman 
42:02 

Yeah. And he was noted for his speed on on ice. So he
actually told me that he had a challenged this the Olympic speed skater Eric, I
don’t remember his last name now. But you know, this guy was the gold medalist
in the in this speedskating. It didn’t happen but that’s how, you know how fast
he was. And he just loved it because she said I could. It’s opened up his
periphery tremendously. And then he could see where everybody on the ice was.
His passing was better. And his goal shots were better. He just, he just loved
it.

 

Brian Schoenborn 
42:45 

You see more of the field. That’s kind of what I think about
when I hear like, you know, NFL commentators talk about the great quarterbacks,
for example. And you know, usually the one, the great quarterbacks they see the
entire field, right? And, you know, maybe they’re maybe they’re Looking to the
right, but they can see that the receiver on the left is opening up or is going
to open up. So they can anticipate that,

 

Dr. Joseph Trachtman  43:06 

…you know, it’s they see everything all at once.

 

Brian Schoenborn 
43:09 

Yeah, for sure.

 

Dr. Joseph Trachtman 
43:11 

So I’ve spoken to quarterbacks about this. And and once they
step back into the pocket, that’s when the whole field opens up for them if
they’re in the zone, and then they can see who’s open, who’s not open in the in
the smallest fraction of a second. And that’s how they can do it. If you’re in
a normal vision mode, you don’t understand how you can do it. Also, hockey if
you’re watching hockey on a small TV screen, you can’t follow it. It’s just too
fast.

 

Brian Schoenborn 
43:45 

So you did all this work. So I’ll say you discovered this,
you know, you discovered this zone-inducing concept through biofeedback you
know, the cross between optometry and experimental psychology. Whic led to a
lot of work with NASA, Pirates, the Pittsburgh Pirates, Bobby Bonilla.

 

Brian Schoenborn 
44:09 

You know, players with the Patriots and the Bruins and
autistic kids, things like that. I heard you mentioned something earlier about
jet fighter pilots as well. Could you dive into that a little bit more a
little?

 

Dr. Joseph Trachtman 
44:18 

Yes. I think the best way to explain it is with the story.
So around 1988 I met an Israeli, someone who had been an Israeli pilot. And he
was, I think, the number three or number five of the aces. So he was, you know,
top and I gave him the training. And usually, people want to know, you know how
to do it. And because it’s an experience, like riding a bicycle, you really
can’t tell people. You just play with the sound.

 

Brian Schoenborn 
44:50 

Yeah.

 

Dr. Joseph Trachtman 
44:52 

And we will explain more about it to give a demo. So if we
do a one time and my See sort of getting it. And then the second time he really
nailed it. And this is back with a big smile on his face. And he says,
“Ah, now I know.” So I said, “What do you know? Tell me.”

 

Dr. Joseph Trachtman 
45:11 

He said, “When we were being trained, they told us a
few things. One was that when you’re in combat, (and he had obviously been in
combat, she didn’t have the risk of being an ace.) Although your electronics
are going to tell you exactly where the enemy plane is. They still want you to
make visual contact. But when you’re looking at uniformly blue sky, it’s hard
to focus the eyes because you’re looking up close at the control panel. And now
you have to get your eyes to look far away but there’s nothing out there to
see. So your eyes don’t know what to do.”

 

Dr. Joseph Trachtman 
45:54 

So he said, “They taught us to look at it, the wing and
and just get the feeling of focusing from the control panel to the tip of the
wing. And just practice that and get to understand that feeling, that
experience.” He said, “Once I remembered that, and I applied it to
what I was doing here with the training that made the sound go the highest. And
then then after that, it just made that exercise with the wing so much more
powerful because now I can do it anytime I want.” And honestly, and I
don’t think there’s more to say about for pilots, jet fighter pilots,

 

Brian Schoenborn 
46:37 

Well, because the thing is even with, you know, jet fighter
pilots, like you have to be elite athletes as well.

 

Dr. Joseph Trachtman 
46:41 

Yes.

 

Brian Schoenborn  46:41 

Right? And I think you were talking earlier about like, you
know, landing on an aircraft carrier, that sort of thing like, that’s, I mean,
just just for some perspective. Just think about this for a second people.
aircraft carriers are how long?

 

Dr. Joseph Trachtman 
46:56 

Three football fields.

 

Dr. Joseph Trachtman 
46:57 

From that height? The size of the aircraft carrier be like
an ant. If you’re top of a tall building.

 

Brian Schoenborn 
46:57 

Three football fields, we’re talking 300 yards long. And
when you’re flying in your jet, you know, you’re probably 10, 30, 50,000 feet
in the air, something like that. Super high anyways. Right? So like, if you’ve
ever been on the top of a building, on a skyscraper, and you look down and you
look at like a car, or you know how small or, like, people like ants or
whatever…

 

Brian Schoenborn 
47:29 

Yeah, you know, you’ve got to have, I mean, you’ve got the,
you know, you’ve got the electronic equipment, right, but you’ve got to have
that visual, you gotta, you get that pinpoint on that end, on this giant ocean.
So kind of like looking at the sky where everything’s blue…

 

Dr. Joseph Trachtman 
47:43 

…and you’re flying, you know, 1000, 1500 miles an hour,
maybe faster, you know, the speeds are classified, but they’re going, you know,
three, four times faster than…

 

Brian Schoenborn 
47:56 

…you’re talking Mach three stuff like that, you know?

 

Dr. Joseph Trachtman 
47:59 

You know, it’s not 500 miles an hour, like on your
commercial jet. Three, four times faster.

 

Brian Schoenborn 
48:09 

So you’re flying super fast. The vision is, I mean, it’s all
blue or whatever. So like you were just saying it’s like hard to like, for your
eyes to understand what to look at. And you find this little ant, this dot, in
the middle of the ocean, and somehow you’ve got to get down there and you’ve
got one shot to get that hook.

 

Dr. Joseph Trachtman 
48:26 

Right.

 

Brian Schoenborn 
48:26 

I mean, that’s, that takes incredible takes incredible
skill. Not just from the physical sense, but from the visual sense.

 

Dr. Joseph Trachtman 
48:34 

Absolutely. I was on a panel discussion about sports vision.
And there was some naysayers. There’s always naysayers,

 

Brian Schoenborn 
48:43 

…of course. They’re haters man.

 

Dr. Joseph Trachtman 
48:45 

…and saying that you know, you can’t train you can’t train
athletes to have better vision. It won’t make their performance any better. So
I had anticipated this, so I had brought with me a stack of documents, mostly
from research then at Pensacola on Navy jet fighter pilot training. Stack about
more than a foot high. And I put them on the table next to the microphone. And
when it came my time to speak, this is what I said. I said, “I think we
would all agree that jet fighter pilots are elite athletes and performers.”
And you know, some people were a little hesitant, but eventually everyone
agreed.

 

Brian Schoenborn 
49:29 

Well, I mean, if you don’t understand what it takes to be a
pilot, jet fighter pilot, like, you know, it might not just click, you know?

 

Dr. Joseph Trachtman 
49:37 

Everybody was I doctor so they had a basic idea. And then I
said, “Well, now the question is whether training improves their
performance. And I said here, “See all these papers here is all documents
from Navy training, said so there’s no question that you can train elite
performance.”

 

Brian Schoenborn 
50:00 

Awesome. God, there’s so much cool stuff wrapped in there
and that and your career man, like, you know, you’re talking about, again, all
of the like the cream of the crop stuff, that sort of thing. The autism stuff,
something I’m really interested in, personally because, you know, I’m affected
by it as well. I know you do some stuff related to like PTSD, too, right?

 

Dr. Joseph Trachtman 
50:23 

Yes.

 

Brian Schoenborn 
50:24 

And, you know, as you know, and listeners, I mean, as you
get to know me, you know, you know that I’ve lived with PTSD from my military
days for about 18 years from you know, around the 911 times. You’ve got your zone-trac,
right, which is a much smaller device now than that desktop model that you were
talking about. This is more like a pair of glasses, almost.

 

Dr. Joseph Trachtman 
50:47 

Yes.

 

Brian Schoenborn 
50:48 

Almost. It’s a prototype. You use the zone-trac to, to train
those eyes, right?

 

Dr. Joseph Trachtman 
50:55 

Yes.

 

Brian Schoenborn 
50:55 

Biofeedback device. You know, all the elite performance and
autism and PTSD. So how does it, how did you come across that it helps people
with PTSD? And like how, like, how does that like how does that work?

 

Dr. Joseph Trachtman 
51:10 

So as you mentioned before, I was on active duty during the
Vietnam War. And I saw at least 10,000 military people during my tour. And many
of them had come back from Vietnam.

 

Unknown Speaker 
51:25 

Sure.

 

Dr. Joseph Trachtman 
51:26 

And they didn’t call it PTSD then right, but they all had
some, something.

 

Brian Schoenborn 
51:31 

Back then they call it like fog of war or like combat
fatigue.

 

Dr. Joseph Trachtman 
51:36 

Yeah, there’s all different things.

 

Brian Schoenborn 
51:38 

…shell shock.

 

Dr. Joseph Trachtman 
51:39 

Yes. And, and because of that, their experience combined
with whatever Agent Orange was doing to them. Many of them came back,
unfortunately, addicted to the drugs or alcohol.

 

Brian Schoenborn 
51:57 

Right.

 

Dr. Joseph Trachtman 
52:00 

Not blaming them, they’re all good people, but this is what
they were exposed to. Very traumatic incidents, experience. The whole rules of
engagement and the whole philosophy about the war and the system.

 

Brian Schoenborn  52:16 

It was a shitshow, you know, it was a mess.

 

Dr. Joseph Trachtman 
52:21 

I had experience with before this. I didn’t know what to do
with it then because nobody was really talking about it. In I can’t remember,
maybe five, six years ago, I was looking for something on the internet related
to my research, and I came across a program called Homecoming for Veterans. And
it’s a program where you do a biofeedback to veterans who have PTSD. So I
registered for the program, you know, they check your credentials and do all
this other stuff and everything was fine. And, and so when a veteran calls me,
this is what I tell them.

 

Dr. Joseph Trachtman 
53:11 

I said, “I’ll give you 10 weekly sessions at no charge.
Because I’m a veteran, I have great compassion for other veterans who’ve had
bad experiences.” So this is what we do. They come in, I give them a
regular eye exam to make sure that their eyes are healthy and general health
and they’re not on medications that will interfere with the training. And then
I introduce them to the training and after two or three sessions, they start to
have the relaxation feeling from it, the in-the-zone feeling and then I then the
next visit I say, “Okay, now before we start the training today, I want
you to recall the PTSD incident and get that in your mind with that emotion.
And then open your eyes and do the training and substitute the relaxation
feeling to the bad emotion.”

 

Brian Schoenborn 
54:01 

Hmm, interesting.

 

Dr. Joseph Trachtman 
54:04 

And doing that repetitively, they’re able to do it
voluntarily. And sometimes they can even do with involuntarily once that, that
dark knight starts coming into your head, the white knight will just push it
away without even trying to do anything.

 

Brian Schoenborn 
54:21 

Oh, that’s awesome. I mean, there’s so many veterans out
there that PTSD obviously, but there’s also so many people in general, like
civilians and other things where, you know, that that could really benefit from
stuff like that, you know, there’s a lot of I know, a lot of PTSD-affected
veterans, and they go to the VA and stuff like that, and the VA just loads them
up with drugs, right? And they just turned into these zombies and nothing
really helps.

 

Dr. Joseph Trachtman 
54:47 

Remember last week, one of the veterans who was at our
gathering had a service dog. And so I asked him, you know, when I see someone
with a service dog, I think that they’re blind.

 

Brian Schoenborn 
55:00 

Yep.

 

Dr. Joseph Trachtman 
55:01 

So you know, eye doctor, I’m curious. I said what’s your eye
problem? Oh, I don’t have an eye problem. This is where my PTSD. So when I went
to the VA, they loaded me up with drugs. I couldn’t stand it. I couldn’t,
couldn’t take them. And so the they gave me the service dog. And as soon as I
start to get agitated, the dog senses it and comes over and, and calms me down.
And when I mentioned this to my wife, she said, that’s great. But wouldn’t be
better if he didn’t need a dog, if you could just do it. Do it on his own. And
I said, “Yeah, just getting the word out.”

 

Brian Schoenborn 
55:39 

Yeah. Interesting.

 

Dr. Joseph Trachtman 
55:42 

I’ve sent some of my research on that to senators and congressmen.
And other than getting a somewhat nice letter from at that time, the chairman
of the House Committee on Veterans Affairs, thanking me for my work. None of
them have followed up.

 

Brian Schoenborn 
56:03 

Isn’t that funny>? That’s the irony. The irony…

 

Dr. Joseph Trachtman 
56:06 

It’s tragic.

 

Brian Schoenborn 
56:07 

Well, yeah, of course. But that’s I’m saying like the irony
of it you know, with these with these big drug lobbies and stuff like that, you
know, for whatever reason, you got all these kids 1819 years old, whatever,
guys and girls and, you know, put their life on the line for the country. You
know, they went and served and they didn’t even come back whole, you know, if
they came back at all, but the ones that came back didn’t, a lot of them didn’t
come back whole. And what is the VA want to do? They wanna say, “Oh, yeah,
we support veterans”, that sort of thing. We’re just gonna load them up
with drugs, turn them into zombies and hope everything’s good.

 

Brian Schoenborn  56:43 

You know, like, you could sit there and say, “Hey, you
know, guess what? You don’t need those drugs.” You know, like, I mean,
I’ve, like I said, I’ve lived with PTSD for 18 years. I went through the whole
i was i was loaded up with drugs early on, but I was like, fuck all that. Like
I don’t, I didn’t want to be a zombie, right? So it’s I’ve lived without,
without prescription medication almost the entire time that I’ve been on it, or
that I’ve been affected by it.

 

Brian Schoenborn 
57:16 

And I’ve learned to manage it. Right? And a lot of it has to
do with, like, meditation and getting in that Zen sort of thing. But that means
a lot of quiet time, closing my eyes, that kind of thing, right, like you were
talking about.

 

Dr. Joseph Trachtman 
57:33  

It takes a long time, and a tremendous commitment.

 

Brian Schoenborn 
57:37 

Yeah. I’d love to be able to do with my eyes open I think I
can sometimes but I know I’ve done some work with the with with your with your zone-trac
a bit. And I love it. And that’s part of the reason why I want to talk to you
today. I do see you have it here.

 

Dr. Joseph Trachtman 
57:54 

Yes.

 

Brian Schoenborn 
57:55 

Do you mind if I give it a shot? Give it a whirl?

 

Dr. Joseph Trachtman 
57:58 

Absolutely.

 

Brian Schoenborn 
57:59 

All right.

 

Dr. Joseph Trachtman 
58:00 

Get it set up.

 

Brian Schoenborn 
58:02 

Sweet. So for you guys listening, you’re probably going to
turn down the volume a little bit. It’s a high pitched frequency. And basically
it’s like so, so this is a is a prototype. Right? He’s working on funding for
this.

 

Brian Schoenborn 
58:29 

So you hear that you hear that pitch?

 

Brian Schoenborn 
58:32 

Basically this looks like kind of like a set of glasses
almost like almost like the 3d glasses with the squares. Right? Not Not Not
blue and red, but like, you know, flat square panels, a couple of lights in
front of it. And then you’ve got the rest of the device which I’m holding with
two hands. And basically, how do we do this?

 

Dr. Joseph Trachtman 
58:53 

Bring it up to your eyes, about two fingers. And you blink
your eye and you should get a warbling Then you know, your eyes lined up. And
then once your eyes lined up, you just want to make the sound go higher in
pitch. And just like learning how to ride a bicycle, you only learn from the
experience. There’s nothing I could tell you.

 

Brian Schoenborn 
59:13 

Right.

 

Dr. Joseph Trachtman 
59:14 

Or show you.

 

Brian Schoenborn 
59:17 

So we do both eyes, or do we do one eye at a time?

 

Dr. Joseph Trachtman 
59:19 

You do one eye at a time because the eyes actually can focus
independent of each other.

 

Brian Schoenborn 
59:23 

Cool.

 

Dr. Joseph Trachtman 
59:24 

We have to train each eye separately.

 

Brian Schoenborn 
59:26 

Which one which am i doing first?

 

Dr. Joseph Trachtman 
59:27 

Should be the right eye.

 

Brian Schoenborn 
59:28 

The right, okay.

 

Dr. Joseph Trachtman 
59:30 

If I push the correct button.

 

Brian Schoenborn 
59:32 

And I keep both eyes open, right?

 

Dr. Joseph Trachtman 
59:33 

Yes.

 

Brian Schoenborn 
59:35 

All right, cool. Here goes. All right. You hear that? That’s
the sound I’m looking for, right?

 

Dr. Joseph Trachtman 
59:46 

Yes.

 

Brian Schoenborn 
59:48 

Oh, yeah. So like I’m looking at this and I’m almost looking
through it.

 

Dr. Joseph Trachtman 
59:53 

You’re seeing the whole room.

 

Brian Schoenborn 
59:54 

I can even I can see my elbows. I mean, I’m leaning forward
with my elbows on my knees. I can see my elbows, and I can, I can see your shoes,
Joe. I can even see the far corner of the room, where the L-shaped couch ends.
Yeah.

 

Brian Schoenborn 
1:00:20 

Some people don’t get this. I think it takes a certain
brain.

 

Dr. Joseph Trachtman 
1:00:25 

You can rest now.

 

Brian Schoenborn  1:00:34 

So then we chill for a minute.

 

Dr. Joseph Trachtman 
1:00:37 

Yes.

 

Brian Schoenborn 
1:00:38 

Talk about the grass.

 

Brian Schoenborn 
1:00:41 

Yeah, like I could, I can almost see so so my phone is
plugged in and the exact opposite corner of where I’m at, probably 100…So, so
if my line of sight is a flat line, we’re talking about a circle that’s almost
180 degrees behind me talking like 150, something like that?

 

Dr. Joseph Trachtman 
1:00:58 

180 degrees would be flat.

 

Brian Schoenborn  1:01:01 

Ah, so it’s more than 180. God, I’m an idiot. Yes, we’re
talking beyond 180 degrees here. That’s probably probably closer to 200 or so,
right?

 

Dr. Joseph Trachtman 
1:01:12 

More than 200.

 

Brian Schoenborn 
1:01:14 

Yeah.

 

Dr. Joseph Trachtman 
1:01:14 

360 would be being able to see behind you.

 

Brian Schoenborn 
1:01:17 

Right, of course.

 

Dr. Joseph Trachtman 
1:01:18 

So 180’s way, and then, and then 360 is that way. So halfway
would be 240.

 

Brian Schoenborn 
1:01:28 

Yeah, so that’s probably closer to 240 it’s almost like my
so my vision has just like opened up like it’s almost, kind of like, um, you
know, I mean, in the zone, of course, but also like, for those of you that
don’t understand what it’s like to be in the zone. It’s kind of like you’re
really hyped up on caffeine, but like, relaxed at the same time.

 

Dr. Joseph Trachtman 
1:01:48 

So I tell you another story. So with the desktop model one
of the doctors was in California. One day, he calls me and he says, “I
have a patient here who wants to thank you for, for developing the
device.” And it was called the accomtrac vision trainer, the new one’s
that zone-trac. So I said, “Let me look at my schedule. And I’ll see what
I’m going to be in your area.” And I did and I said, “Okay, I’ll be
out there during this week.” And we made a time.

 

Dr. Joseph Trachtman 
1:02:25 

Now, I don’t believe in any coincidences. but less than two
months ago, this patient called me and I hadn’t seen him for 30 years. He
wanted to thank me again, this is what happened. He had, he had come in for
vision training. And he had been a cocaine addict. And he told me he was able
to break his cocaine addiction by doing the training. Because he was able to,
as you mentioned, he was able to give himself that little bit of high but in a
very controlled way. And not an over-powering way. But in a natural way.

 

Dr. Joseph Trachtman 
1:03:02 

What do I mean natural way? It’s that you’re making good
chemicals and preventing bad chemicals. When you take a drug, any kind of drug,
you’re just going one way you’re producing a chemical that’s making the nervous
system go one way, but it makes the others go out of balance. When you produce
things naturally, and that’s why I like biofeedback so much, you’re making good
chemicals and balancing the other chemicals. And, yes, so he said, “Now, I
finally tracked you down, you know, from Brooklyn to Seattle. (It’s hard to
follow me sometimes.) And I just want to thank you changed my whole life and
everything’s just great.”

 

Brian Schoenborn 
1:03:45 

Yeah, it’s kind of like, I’m like I get that because it’s
kind of like a stimulant. Right?

 

Dr. Joseph Trachtman 
1:03:50 

But it is it stimulates the sympathetic nervous system. And that’s
what cocaine does. That’s what amphetamines means do and that’s what makes the
pupils dilate.

 

Brian Schoenborn 
1:04:06 

It’s like your mind and eyes are on like high alert.

 

Dr. Joseph Trachtman 
1:04:10 

Yes.

 

Brian Schoenborn 
1:04:11 

But your body is still super chill.

 

Dr. Joseph Trachtman 
1:04:13 

Yes.

 

Brian Schoenborn 
1:04:14 

Yeah. Like this is like the best feeling in the world. I
understand why people would get like cocaine created or whatever because, you
know, it’s it’s like that right? I guess. I mean, that’s what he’s saying.
Right?

 

Dr. Joseph Trachtman 
1:04:24 

That’s what I’ve been told.

 

Brian Schoenborn 
1:04:25 

Yeah, yeah. So based on what you’re saying, right?

 

Dr. Joseph Trachtman 
1:04:28 

I don’t have to do the other stuff I get.

 

Brian Schoenborn 
1:04:30 

Exactly, like, you don’t need to do anything.

 

Dr. Joseph Trachtman 
1:04:32 

I have the real thing.

 

Brian Schoenborn 
1:04:33 

Exactly. Try it agian? Left eye?

 

Dr. Joseph Trachtman 
1:04:38 

Yes. Okay, let me just…

 

Brian Schoenborn  1:04:43 

Do one more trial and then…

 

Dr. Joseph Trachtman 
1:04:47 

Okay, blink a few times so they can hear the wobbling sound.

 

Dr. Joseph Trachtman 
1:04:55 

And then you know, he lined up and now he’s going to make it
go very high and go in the zone.

 

Brian Schoenborn 
1:05:15 

There it is. Yeah this is awesome man.

 

Dr. Joseph Trachtman 
1:05:56 

Okay goodness.

 

Brian Schoenborn 
1:05:57 

So remember you said there’s some people that you know that
either get it or they don’t. Like, what, um…

 

Dr. Joseph Trachtman 
1:06:04 

People who are very analytical. And now this is a
generalization. So no one takes particular offense.

 

Brian Schoenborn 
1:06:12 

Right.

 

Dr. Joseph Trachtman 
1:06:12 

But lawyers, accountants, engineers, because they’re very
analytical. Either you can’t do this at all. Or when they do it, it’s done in a
very feeble way, and they just don’t get it or understand it. And, and that’s
unfortunate, as we have spoken, many times, that most people who are in charge
of funding to expand the project are very analytical. And when I ask, when I
give them a demo, they can’t make the sound change.

 

Brian Schoenborn 
1:06:50 

Really?

 

Dr. Joseph Trachtman 
1:06:51 

So they they see no utility at all. Whereas other people
like you and and other veterans in our program, when they do it, after they
finished they’re ready to write me a check. Unfortunately, they don’t have the
money.

 

Brian Schoenborn 
1:07:06 

Yeah. I mean, I would I would write you a check right now
man, I would love to take one of those home with me and just like use it every
day, you know, start my day off right. Because right now like I said, I’m like,
I’m like, let’s go like I’m in.

 

Dr. Joseph Trachtman 
1:07:21 

Your face is flushed.

 

Brian Schoenborn  1:07:23 

Yeah, right?

 

Dr. Joseph Trachtman 
1:07:23 

I can look at your arms and color now.

 

Brian Schoenborn 
1:07:27 

Yeah.

 

Dr. Joseph Trachtman 
1:07:27 

You’re having a relaxation response.

 

Brian Schoenborn 
1:07:29 

I’m ready to go man. Like I like I said, I’m chill, but I’m
like, I’m hyper focused, you know what I mean? Like, you know, I’m sitting here
looking at you, but I’m seeing everything. You know, it’s almost like, like I
can see your face. But then like right around it kind of gets a little blurry
but then everything else is like, clear.

 

Dr. Joseph Trachtman 
1:07:49 

If your audience could see me around my face is a little
blurry because I have a long beard.

 

Brian Schoenborn 
1:07:53 

Well, that’s not a little beard. That’s not a little beard.
that’s a that’s a fully man. That’s an impressive beard. Part of the reason why
I wanted to bring you on here is to talk about that, you know, like, it’s,
it’s, I’ve worked with you with this. I’ve done several sessions. And it’s
done, it’s it’s done wonders for me. And you know, I just…so what are you?
Where are you at right now in terms of like, the business cycle?

 

Dr. Joseph Trachtman 
1:08:29 

So, so right now. We have our business plan. We have
executive summary, we have sales. We have a 40-year history of success in the
business. We have documentation in scientific journals. And now we’re looking
for funding to commercialize the product. So, we want to repackage it and bring
the price point down to maybe 300, 350.

 

Brian Schoenborn  1:09:00 

Yeah.

 

Dr. Joseph Trachtman 
1:09:01 

To make it affordable for more people, and then also to mass
market it, and money to mass market it because there’s millions of people that
can have the quality of their life dramatically improved just by doing the
training every once in a while.

 

Brian Schoenborn 
1:09:19 

Yep.

 

Dr. Joseph Trachtman 
1:09:20 

And it’s a it’s a shame that, you know, you see people
having all kinds of problems, health problems or emotional problems or learning
problems, problems at their job that can be resolved by being in the zone.

 

Brian Schoenborn 
1:09:34 

Yep. Yep. Not only that but it’s just like the best feeling
in the world. You know, anybody who’s done something that requires high
performance, again, whether you’re studying for whether you’re in whether a
university or something studying or whether you’re doing a sports-related thing
or military-related thing or whatever the case may be, if it requires a high
degree of performance and focus, you probably know what it’s like to be in the
zone. And the fact that like, you can…the fact that you figured out how to
like, induce the zone, you know, consciously induce it. Like this is to me
that’s like, it’s game changing. You know, clearly I mean, talk about the
Pirates and stuff, right?

 

Dr. Joseph Trachtman 
1:10:22 

It is. And that’s the problem because it’s, it’s a paradigm
shift. And a lot of people either don’t know about it, or don’t believe that
you can, you can change this. One of the people in our program said to me, I
never know you could change your brain waves.

 

Brian Schoenborn 
1:10:44 

I mean, I wouldn’t know that.

 

Dr. Joseph Trachtman 
1:10:45 

And but you can change it. You can change all kinds of
things. I’ve had patients who’ve had tumors, and once they go into a deep alpha
state the tumors start to disappear. We do it with with imagery but
nevertheless, that’s the way God made the body. That we can heal ourselves in,
in many different ways, many different levels. But we all have that ability. And
it’s just getting that potential to come out into into the real world.

 

Brian Schoenborn 
1:11:20 

What would it to take for you to get over the hump? Like, so
you said you’re looking for funding?

 

Dr. Joseph Trachtman 
1:11:24 

You want me to give you numbers?

 

Brian Schoenborn 
1:11:27 

No, no, no, I’m not looking for that number that but I’m
just trying to. So I mean, you say, we have a hard time getting people to
understand it on the financial side…

 

Dr. Joseph Trachtman  1:11:36 

Looking for an investor or someone who has a company or
someone who would like to license it to help me get to the next stages.

 

Brian Schoenborn 
1:11:48 

Got it. So it seems to me like this would be just when I’m
thinking of like, what do they call it? When I’m thinking of what vertical to
place this in.

 

Dr. Joseph Trachtman 
1:11:58 

Okay, so there’s right Another vertical market dimension.
And that is one of the new hot topics which is augmented reality.

 

Brian Schoenborn 
1:12:08 

Oh sure, AR.

 

Dr. Joseph Trachtman 
1:12:09 

Because people want to get the most out of their sensory
experiences. And if you’re in the zone, you can do that if you’re not in the
zone, no matter how good the technology is, it’s not going to be the same.

 

Brian Schoenborn 
1:12:25 

AR is a great vertical there. Sports, elite performance
stuff. Medical Devices.

 

Dr. Joseph Trachtman 
1:12:32 

Learning. Health. Vision.

 

Brian Schoenborn 
1:12:35 

Yep. So all you angels and VCs out there that are focused in
medical devices, sports, sports performance, AR.

 

Dr. Joseph Trachtman 
1:12:48 

Definitely check into this a little bit more. Where can they
find your information? My website is accommotrac.com. A-C-C-O-M-O-T-R-A-C.COM.

 

Brian Schoenborn 
1:13:05 

Sweet. Alright man, well, I appreciate it. Anything else you
want to talk about? Or let’s

 

Dr. Joseph Trachtman 
1:13:10 

Nope, just thank you for the interview. And once again,
thank you for helping with the videos that are on the YouTube channel.

 

Brian Schoenborn 
1:13:16 

 

Of course man, no sweat. appreciate our conversation today.
Let’s get at it. Joe Trachtman everyone. You’ve been listening to “Half
the City with Brian Schoenborn” presented by 8B Media. Be sure to subscribe
to this podcast, share it with your friends, and leave a solid five-star review
to ensure these stories get spread far and wide. For more information, as well
as the listened to other shows, including “Relentless: a Survivor’s Search
for Passion, Purpose and Inner Peace” and “Beyond Relentless”,
be sure to check out 8bmedia.com. Thank you for listening

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