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PostPosted: Sat May 20, 2000 2:01 pm 
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Location: Huntsville, Arkansas, USA
There's been a lot of fretting on the "defuse" thread (and elsewhere) because I'm not perceived as providing enough specific "how to do it" information. I'd like to remedy that. If you'll post specific questions -- old but not yet answered, or new ones -- I'll give them my full attention as soon as I get back next week.

My own perception is that I have posted a great deal of information of exactly the sort you're requesting, but it's clear to me that I'm not doing it in a way that's recognizable. Let's try this again.And I'll see if I can't flag information more obviously.

Thank you for your patience.

Suzette


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PostPosted: Sun May 21, 2000 5:32 am 
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Hi,

Many self defense experts claim that while you are in the throws of a potentialy violent situation(experiencing extreme adrenelin rush) your mind may tend to search for ways to "talk your way out" of the situation. They also say it can be a mistake to allow yourself to attempt an argument, or even attempt to formulate one. At this moment you need to be concentrating on staying alert for physical agression and showing the potential attacker that you are not afraid by using body language, facial expression, possibly WORDS....

The question is, how do you train yourself for a moment like this in terms of verbal response?

In martial arts we train the same relatively simple techniques over and over and over and over and over again, the idea being to create "muscle memory" - so that your physical reactions to agression become reflexive - no thought required.

Can you train your verbal arsenal the same way?? Is that what you do, Suzette? I noticed you did define different types of attackers and commom attacks. I assume you train to defend these common attacks? We have a method like that in Uechi-Ryu called Bunkai. Its verbal bunkai that has my interest focused on this forum, I guess.

------------------
"There ain't no graduation from this kind of education"


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PostPosted: Fri May 26, 2000 8:56 pm 
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Location: northville, mi usa
suzette has requested specific situations to "solve." i will try to oblige - come on you lurkers, give it a try.

situation 1:
i am at the movies and there is only one 'butter station' open to butter my popcorn. there is a woman there, completely determined to butter on every kernel in the bag-especially the bottom ones. she is twisting, turning, and shifting the bag, adding a little here, and a little there.

y: could i just scoot in and get some butter, please?
stranger: no, i'm busy, go use another.
y; i'd like to but this is the only one open.
s: then you can wait.
y: sometimes it seems like you're the only person in the world.
s: sometimes fat people shouldn't put butter on their popcorn, then they wouldn't have to wait.

i hate to admit it but the sheer meanness stopped me dead in my tracks and i was completely silent. that's when she left...
to tell you the truth, i still don't know what i should have done.

situation 2-
i have a situation at home, but to describe it would provide a few too many details for me to be comfortable, so i will give you an analogous situation.

let's say i have a garden in my yard, which for various reasons needs to be kept private, no kids allowed. my husband thinks this is silly, and will let the children use the garden when i am not around. (of course, if it was agarden, it would be silly, so remember, it's just an analogy).

more than once we have discussed this. in the old days, before vsd, he used to argue, then i would do the debating, pleading, fighting thing. now i don't. i have been very clear about this, but still he just smiles, then repeats the behavior when i am not looking.

i am guessing i will have to use a three part message - what would you say, suzette?

yona


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PostPosted: Sat May 27, 2000 12:11 am 
billy,

It seems to me that Suzzette's method is part of the "defuse" part of Tony B's defensive trinity. In my limited experience, there are many times when you can keep a situation from "going red" by talking your way out of it. For example see my anecdote in the "Defuse" thread.

Suzette's techniques, it seems to me, are a skilled way to deal with the "interview" in certain classes of interaction that can potentially lead to physical violence. In my experience a vast majority of situations can be dealt with verbally--and only verbally. The more skilled you are with your verbal defences, the easier it is to defuse the situation. In these situations the chemical cocktail is less of a factor.

When the situation "goes into the red", words no longer work anyway, the "cocktail" becomes more of a factor, and makes it harder to cope verbally.

In case of an ambush the whole idea of verbal self-defence is irrelevant.

Since the physical encounter I wrote about in "defuse" I have never needed to fight. I have, however, had to talk my way out of innumerable potentially dangerous situations, (playing in second rate rock'n'roll bands will put you into a lot of nasty contexts Image )
From the little I have learned in the past few months of Suzette's techniques (one book and posts here on this forum), they would have made it a little easier and me a little more skilled in those situations.

maurice


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maurice richard libby
toronto/moose jaw
ICQ9474685
Ronin at large


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PostPosted: Sat May 27, 2000 5:02 am 
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Maurice,

If you would have just practiced your scales a bit more, maybe you could have ended up playing in better venues... Image

Suzette,

I will speak only for myself (although I suspect others may share the perspective), when I say that I believe that the current confusion stems in part from your characterization, (perhaps inadvertently) of martial artists as 'unbelievers' in the efficacy of verbal strategies of intervention. I would guess that this is due to the particular individuals whom you have previously run across who represent themselves as martial artists. In fact, they may well fit one definition or another of "martial artist," we are a disparate group, many of whom cannot agree on who gets included in the definition...

There certainly are individuals who will malign verbal interventions as never successful, wimpy, or whatever. In my opinion they are eliminating what may well be the best (or even only) strategy in a given instance for successfully surviving what could become a violent encounter. However, I do in fact believe that there are situations that will inevitably become violent, regardless of the efforts of the intended victim to avoid them. The best example of these involve the 'predators' described by Rory [BTW, thanks, Rory for the knowledgeable post on the other thread - excellent advice!]. It would seem, Suzette, that there is no place in your conceptualization of conflict for the sometime necessity of physical intervention, and I am curious about that. Do you believe that a point does not exist beyond which VSD is no longer efficacious, or must be coupled with physical methodology?

Also, you seem to have not yet answered Canna Sensei’s question from earlier in the previous thread. Essentially, he asked about the efficacy of VSD in the face of “mind numbing street violence situations.” You responded by: 1) questioning the accuracy of the perception of that impending violence and 2) suggesting that one’s perception of such impending violence is warped by one’s desire to do violence to another (i.e. “I just knew he was going to hurt me so I hurt him first”). I would ask that you do at some point address the very valid concerns that Canna Sensei raises…

I believe part of the problem may lie in our definitions of violence. I would certainly agree that violence comes in many forms, and do not feel that creating a ‘hierarchy of abuse’ (i.e. “my pain is worse than your pain”) is particularly helpful. However, statements like “Verbal abuse can be just as life-threatening as a loaded gun” in the FAQ on your web site make it difficult for me to take seriously the rest of the information presented there. You point out your frustration with having to repeat yourself, and wonder if people have perhaps not read your previous posts? Fair enough – guilty as charged. However, if you are truly curious about why you feel like you are in a ‘different ball game’ from some others on the forum, and want to remedy that, I strongly suggest you sample a number of different threads on Canna Sensei’s ‘Realities’ forum.

greg


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PostPosted: Wed May 31, 2000 7:56 pm 
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(1) -- "Where, Suzette, do you get your odd ideas about martial artists?"

Several posts have gone up wanting to know where I got the idea that the martial arts culture leans toward macho, where I got the idea that martial artists don't believe in verbal self-defense, and where I got the idea that martial artists are surprised by the idea that fighting isn't the best way to go. I've already apologized for using the word "macho," which I didn't intend to be derogatory but which apparently is perceived as offensive on this forum; once again, I am sorry about that and will refrain from it in future. Now let's see if I can clear the other two items away. I based those two ideas on data gathered from careful reading of your posts. For example....

Billy B writes "If what Suzette is saying is true, we don't really need to know how to fight at all (except in the 'everybody down' situations -- the extreme). That confuses me, after all these years of trying to figure out how to fight."

To me, this post -- and other, similar ones -- have seemed to indicate _surprise_ at the idea that fighting is to be avoided. That surprised me (based on my reading of classic martial arts literature) and I responded to that effect, creating much confusion. Let me say again: For almost everyone, knowing how to fight is very important. You need to know how. You need to know how so well that your skills are essentially on automatic and thus are available to you even through the chemical cocktail, adrenalin rush, and so on. That's the point of the endless study and practice. Knowing that your fighting skills are available to you on those occasions when you do need them is what gives you the confidence to hold back and try to defuse. It's not that you don't need to know how to fight, but that you also need to know ways to keep fighting to a minimum honorably.

[And yes, to Billy B's "In martial arts we train the same relatively simple techniques over and over and over...again, the idea being to create 'muscle memory' -- so that your physical reactions to aggression become reflexive -- no thought required. Can you train your verbal arsenal the same way? Is that what you do, Suzette?" Yes. That is exactly right. You practice endlessly, so that when you really do have to fight back you won't have to stop and search your memory but will respond without hesitation.]

I got the idea that martial artists tend not to be very impressed by the idea of using verbal self-defense from reading any number of posted remarks to the effect that "when there is real danger -- when there is a predator -- when the situation is life-threatening -- when physical violence has already begun -- you can't talk your way out of it." I disagree -- but I have the utmost respect for those who believe that I am wrong. I may well be wrong. I most assuredly can't prove that I'm right. I can only tell you that it is my firm conviction that in many cases physical violence can be stopped by verbal self-defense. However, there are things we _can_ agree on; for example, we can agree that the more the physical violence has escalated, the less likely it is that VSD will be useful.


(2) -- Allegedly false statement on my VSD website

Greg writes: "Statements like 'Verbal abuse can be just as life-threatening as a loaded gun' in the FAQ on your web site make it difficult for me to take seriously the rest of the information presented there.' "

This isn't a controversial matter at all. The difference between the threat posed by a loaded gun and the threat posed by verbal abuse is only in the speed with which the effects take place. A single shot from a loaded gun can kill instantly. Verbal abuse is just as lethal, but it kills more slowly. Let's just take heart attacks, for one clear example. People exposed to chronic verbal abuse are four to seven times more likely to have heart attacks than other people (depending on which research study you're using for the statistics). And unlike a gunshot, which is dangerous only to the targeted victim and to bystanders caught in the line of fire, verbal abuse is equally dangerous to the person dishing it out. Most people dishing out verbal abuse exhibit a large array of physical effects: their heart rate goes up, their breathing rate increases, their blood pressure skyrockets, and their hormones and neurotransmitters undergo radical changes. This is physically dangerous; when it happens often, it is life-threatening. I don't feel in any way hesitant about the statement to which Greg objects, although I am not surprised by the objection. We are a culture that teaches children that "Sticks and stones will break your bones, but words will never hurt you." That's false. Chronic verbal abuse is the major risk factor for almost every disease and disorder known to humankind. The statistics to support that claim are to be found not in tabloid newspapers but in the medical and scientific journals. People exposed to chronic verbal abuse get sick oftener, are injured oftener, take longer to recover (and suffer more complications during recovery, and die younger.

I agree with Greg, however, that finding what appears to be one blatantly false claim in someone's work should cause you to be dubious about the validity of that work. That is a valid principle. I don't know what other statements on my website provoke that reaction; if you will identify them, I'll respond.


(3) -- Am I claiming that physical intervention is _never_ needed?

Greg writes: "It would seem, Suzette, that there is no place in your conceptualization of conflict for the sometime necessity of physical intervention, and I am curious about that. Do you believe that a point does not exist beyond which VSD is no longer efficacious, or must be coupled with physical methodology?"

I'm not qualified to answer this question. Because I have been a radical pacifist all my life -- someone who believes that any recourse to violence on my part is a moral failure -- using physical self-defense isn't an option for me. I don't expect other people to share my beliefs, any more than I would if I were one of the extreme vegetarians who feels that it's immoral to wear leather shoes. I hope that's clear. IN NO WAY [she says solemnly, looking you right in the eye], do I mean to criticize others or to suggest that they should agree with me about this. For me -- because I do not feel that violence is ever justified -- it's not an option; I don't expect that to apply as any sort of general rule. [Note: If we can skip the questions about Hitler, and "What if somebody tried to rape a child in your presence?", and so on. I'll be grateful. They consume enormous amounts of time and typing-space, to no particular purpose. I am not a saint; there undoubtedly are extreme situations in which I would fail to live up to my principles; that would make it no less a failure on my part.]

My _unqualified answer_, therefore, is: For amost everyone, I do believe that there exist points beyond which physical violence is the correct choice. We might differ about where to draw that line, however.


(4) -- Logistics note

June is my last month as moderator on this forum. I'll try to do as much posting as possible during June, although I have to be on the road a good deal. You might want to be thinking about whether you want to continue the forum after June 30th; if so, it's time to start looking for a new moderator.

Suzette


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PostPosted: Wed May 31, 2000 9:45 pm 
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Yona,

Situation #1: Don't sweat it... let small-minded and inconsiderate people be small-minded and inconsiderate. You tried, they were a jerk, don't let their inablility to be a decent human-being in this situation reflect on your value as a person.

Situation #2: IMNSHO, It's time to tell Mr. Nosey and the kids to keep the hell out! If it's a room or space that has a door, put a lock on it and keep the only key. If it's not, since you've tried the "discuss this like rational adults" bit, read them the riot act. I know that others here will disagree, but personal space is personal space. If someone, especially someone who's close to you, is invading your personal space and refuses to be considerate, it's time to reinforce how important it is for you to have your request respected.


Suzette,

Your answer in #3 of your last post helps me tremendously. I have a friend who also believes that violence is never justified. This person is a trained martial artist, owns and shoots firearms, and claims to also be a realist. yet, they also maintain that the use of violence no matter what is never justified. I see the exact same attitude in your post as this person espouses. They also claim that any use of violence means that one is a moral failure while also claiming that they don't make moral judgements on other's use of violence. I'm glad to see another person with this same mindset. Hopefully I can gain a better understanding. Having used verbal discussion to diffuse situations in the past, I am not one to resort to violence as the primary measure. However, IMNSHO, saying that any resort to violence is a moral failure and following that with the contention that there is no corresponding criticism of others (which implies by structure, "others who have used violence"), seems to go beyond contradictory.

I'm close with this other person and truly want to understand. You also said that there exists points beyond which physical violence is the correct choice. This is almost an exact word-for-word statement from the other person I know who's said the same things. How can you reconcile that statement (even if there is a difference on where the line is drawn) with the fact that you would then, by your own stated beliefs be a moral failure? Part of my problem with this is that, for me, I will never do something, ever that I do not feel is morally justified because that would betray my very soul and the foundations of my beliefs. For me, assaulting someone is unjustified violence (whether verbal or physical), yet self-defense is a justified use of force to protect oneself and one's loved ones from the unjustified violence of others. Can you understand the distinction I'm making? My friend still maintains that even in self-defense, violence begets violence and that it is never justified and therefore incumbant on each of us to end the violence when it reaches us. That's all well and good in a vaccuum, but violence does exist in the real world (tm) and sometimes it rears it's ugly head into our lives as much as we do to try and avoid it. Sooooo, this postition has got me really confused. Image

Maurice,

Contrary to the main discussions on these forums, I've found that VSD isn't so much talking as it is listening... In the situations where it's worked for me, I spent most of the time listening and validating the other person. When they stop talking, they can start thinking about getting physical. So in those situations, I've always asked a question when the person stopped talking, just to keep them talking, but also to gain more data and give them a chance to "talk themselves down".


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 01, 2000 12:24 am 
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Panther and Suzette,

I have, in the past, been a "combative pacifist". Like Panther's friend I trained extensively and refused it... not on morale grounds but on tactical grounds. My exception was 'time'. My philosophy: "There is always a better solution than Violence. There isn't always time to figure out what that solution is."

So I saw any use of violence as a tactical failure. This held up very well for a long time, and then I entered corrections.

There are certain subcultures in our society that can not go to jail without fighting. It is a very real part of their definition of manhood that no matter how many times they have gone through the process, they always fight. Always.

I watched a partner talk a guy down (he had already fought and lost with the arresting officers). We calmed him down, booked him, got him firstaid for a cut above the eye, washed his pepper spray off and established good rapport.

Then he gave a sigh and said, "Well, I guess it's time you boys ****ed me up." And he started swinging.

I asked the inmate later why it went bad (trying to find and correct my tactical failure.) He said "Sorry 'bout that. I liked you boys, you were both real nice to me. But I had to fight ya. I wouldn't be a man if I didn't."

Trying to talk this man out of fighting would be the equivalent of talking a rabbi into hosting a pork barbecue for his Temple- a blatant violation of his cultural mores in full view of his peers.

Rory


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 01, 2000 1:33 pm 
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Very briefly.... I'm sorry I wasn't clear.

What I'm saying is that -- for someone whose deep conviction is that violence is never justified --he use of violence is a moral failure. Because such people are human, they may not always be able to live up to their convictions; that's understandable, but a moral failure.

However, suppose someone doesn't hold such convictions, but believes that there are times when violence _is_ justified. Then there is no moral failure when that person uses violence, so long as they never do it without justification.

I have no way of knowing whether my own belief is right or wrong; that goes with being human. For me to say that someone else is morally wrong for violating a position I hold but cannot prove would be arrogant, narrowminded, and indefensible. I am obligated to try to live up to my own beliefs, but other people certainly are not.

Does that help at all to resolve the seeming contradiction? I hope so...

Suzette


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 01, 2000 4:00 pm 
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Rory,

Good points. I'm pretty close, but I guess I view VSD as the first thing to try, but once the other person decides the confrontation will become physical, I've got better things to think about than talking.

Suzette,

Your response is nearly exactly the same response I got from my friend! I'm almost in shock at how close to the same they are. It is still confusing to me how one could live with themselves if they take an action that makes them see themselves as a moral failure?!? Image If I believed that violence was never, ever, ever justified or justifiable, and therefore any use of violence on my part would make me a "moral failure"... (those are the exact same words my friend used... wow...) then I wouldn't use violence period. IMO, the use of violence while adhering to that strict belief would damn my very soul, so the two (again, imo) are completely mutually exclusive.

Since I happen to believe that there is and can be a difference in whether violence is justified or not, then for a self-defense scenerio, I have no qualms about responding to physical violence with whatever it takes to keep me and my loved ones safe. I certainly would not start the confrontation nor would I make any sort of physical act my first response, but if a societally-challenged, coke-impaired, ahem...
person decided that he wanted to remove my most beloved wife from the face of this earth just to feed some mental jollies... Sorry, but anything that I have to do to dissuade this individual will be done... anything! Image

My friend claims to be a realist and would agree to the self-defense... the disagreement is on whether that self-defense is justified. Since my friend (and you) don't believe that any violence is justified ever, you (and my friend) would not (imho) be able to morally and ethically defend yourself, your loved ones or even come to the aid of my wife if she were the one in imminent danger of death or grave bodily harm. And that just furthers my confusion, as I feel that leaving others to the whim and will of those monsters disguised as humans that do exist in this world is completely morally and ethically vacant. Any claim that violence is and can never be justified (imnsho) can only lead to that conclusion.

I want to reconcile my percieved discrepancy, but the paradox leads me down a path to a mental short-circuit... any help would be appreciated.

be good to each other...


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 02, 2000 2:54 am 
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Suzette - I know that it's off topic, but I want to express the sense of sorrow I felt upon learning that you're leaving our forums at the end of the month.

I've enjoyed "lurking" on your forum and reading your posts. Best wishes for success in your future endeavors, sincerely, Steve

------------------
D. Steven White
swhite@umassd.edu


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 02, 2000 7:31 am 
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Suzette,

I want to echo Steve. You have been a gentle, articulate and persuasive voice in what must have seemed an antagonistic environment. I will miss you.
Rory


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 02, 2000 10:08 am 
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Hi Suzette. Sorry you are leaving.I heard that there was a big commotion going on over here, and I see it is a question of comaparative morals.

Well, I understand that different people feel diffeently about different things.

I m'self, feel that the use of force is justified under conditions of self defense and defense of others, our society and any society woud soo breakdown absent law enforcement based on this principle and our countries would soon be invaded if we unilaterally disarmed.

Mennonites are pacifists, they come from Switzerland, a nice neutral country that requires every citizen, man and woman, do Two years in its Army.

What I find as a martialartist is that the techniques you earn as a beginner are very violent, then as you progress in skill, you may have options of using less volent control techniques- or not.I've used a variety of verbal self defense techniques with some success, but sometimes they didn't work.Probably I did them wrong.:-)

Also body language self defense, avoidance self defense, running away self deense, but sometimes nothing worked but that one had to use that physical technique.

I found that a well executed block aganst attacking limbs often had a most discouraging effect on attakers and ended confrontation.

See, I always try touse the minimum necessary amount of defensive action, including every possible mehod short of actual violence.But, as Rory mentions, sometimes the bear is coming for you, no matter what, and then, it is time to deal.

But this is my opinion only.I understand you have a nother.

And others feel very strongly that in no case should violence be forgone if necessary.

While I tend to agree with the latter opinion, nevertheless I do appreciate the suggestions about verbal self defense.

Gejumin


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 02, 2000 1:42 pm 
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Suzette:

I am very sorry that you will be leaving. It has been an honor to have you here.


student


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 02, 2000 3:58 pm 
I, feel sorrow that you are leaving the forums. Your thoughts, feelings, and words have been valuable to us all.

I wish you would reconsider and remain with us as a moderator.

------------------
Allen, Home: http://www.ury2k.com/ mirror: http://home.ici.net/~uechi/


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