I'm certain that everyone reading this thread (and especially those who have been following the other threads on this VSD forum) understands that there is a difference between life-or-death confrontations, and confrontations that may be annoying, even distressing, even violent, but are not life-threatening. For the majority of people in this country, the potentially lethal confrontations are rare, while the others are far too common; obviously that may not be true for individuals in occupations that regularly involve them in physically violent situations. Even in law enforcement, however, it's worth remembering that far more law enforcement professionals die of heart attacks than of physical violence, and that a major cause of heart attacks is chronic exposure to hostile language.
If I were facing life-threatening violence myself, on the street or anywhere else, I would rely on my verbal self-defense skills, no matter how inadequate they might appear to physical martial artists -- because I _have_ no physical self-defense skills, and I couldn't possibly flee fast enough to avoid a conflict. There are hundreds of thousands of people for whom that is true, some of whom may visit this website and read the material in the VSD Forum, even if they don't choose to post to it. In my opinion, their chances of avoiding injury are better if they know how to use language to deal with dangerous encounters; that way, at least they have _some_ defense available to them. Without VSD information, they are all too likely to say things that make matters worse and guarantee trouble.
Now I'd like to address the question of whether VSD systems can be characterized as "fight-by-the-numbers" systems, by analogy with paint-by-the-numbers art materials. (I'll leave Neurolinguistic Programming and Jungian MA out of this; they're not my field of expertise.) A fight-by-the-numbers method would not _be_ a system; it would be a list. It would give you lists of things to say in particular situations, with no information about the body language that would go with them. As in: " "Ten things to say to violent patients in the ER." "Ten things first responders can say to angry family members." "Ten things law enforcement officers can say to out-of-control bystanders at the scene of an accident." And so on. Lists like that (which I constantly see pinned up on bulletin boards and published in professional journals, as well as in books about verbal abuse), and all alleged rules of the form "When someone says X to you, say Y," are not just inadequate. They are DANGEROUS.
I apologize for shouting at you; it's that important, however. There are a multitude of ways to say every English sentence, each way set to a different tune and accompanied by different postures and gestures and facial expressions, each carrying a different _emotional_ message. Written language doesn't provide enough information about that nonverbal communication to be helpful. Even if someone were to practice the "ten things to say" with a VSD expert, out loud, until they had the tunes and other body language memorized and could recite them exactly the way the expert suggested, the expert can't be with the student in every encounter to provide interpretation for the infinite array of things that may be said _to_ the student.
The Gentle Art of Verbal Self-Defense (GAVSD) is not a list; it is a system. I do provide suggested things to say in various situations, certainly, but the sequences I teach are _patterns_. My students learn the principles upon which the patterns are constructed; they are presented with examples that illustrate the patterns; and they learn how to extrapolate from my examples to the language interactions in which they find themselves. That is not a fight-by-the-numbers method.
There is a basic and inherent difference between all the physical martial arts and any valid VSD system. When you learn a physical martial art, you start from scratch. The stances ,the forms, the moves, all have to be learned. Many are extremely counter-intuitive. Many (perhaps most) require years of dedicated study and practice. VSD systems, however, are based on language -- and language is a radically different kind of knowledge. Every normal child, by about the age of five, has a flawless grammar of his or her native language (composed of terms and principles and rules) stored in his or her longterm memory. [Children are so highly skilled at acquiring the grammars of languages that they can do it with two or more languages at once, even with no lessons of any kind -- something that is impossible for adults.] The GAVSD system doesn't have to start from scratch, because it uses the grammar in longterm memory as the foundation upon which to base verbal self-defense. Every beginning student already has that foundation, which is so completely internalized that it does not have to be either learned or practiced. Furthermore, where language is concerned, that internal mental grammar _is_ intuition. Relying upon it _is_ trusting your intuition; the two things are equivalent.
For this reason -- and _only_ for this reason -- any adequate verbal self-defense system can be taught far more quickly and far more easily than a physical martial art. If that were not true -- if I had not been able to rely upon the fact that every native speaker of English is already equipped with that foundation -- I would never have agreed to moderate this written-language forum for six months. I would have said, "No way. First I have to have every one of those people as students, face to face, for at least a year; _then_ we might try a VSD forum."
The formal statements made in GAVSD (in that brief overview I posted for you, for example, on in my books) are nothing more than devices for indexing the information in your mental grammar so that you can use it deliberately, consciously, and strategically.
If any of this is not clear to you, please ask me about it; I'll be glad to answer any question you may have, to the best of my ability.