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PostPosted: Sun May 07, 2000 1:03 pm 
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I believe that the GAVSD system is certainly useful in many aspects of our daily interactions, but where I nurture doubts is in its application to mind numbing street violence situations.


I believe Van has zeroed-in on what many martial artist might consider to be the flaw in VSD as it seems to be presented here.

Many martial artist believe they are invincible because they know how to 'kiai' or perform a kata in class, only to discover what can be done under no stress, fails them in actual combat. Van's forum has hammered away at the flaws in this thinking and has gotten many teachers to include training drills and techniques to address this issue.

VSD, I would suggest, is also taught in class room or seminar condtions, and does not subject the individuals to the same stress that would be found in real life. The doctors attending a seminar would react differently than s/he would in his office trying to cope with a screaming and potentially violent patient. Whenever two people are engaged in a heated verbal exchange, stress must play an important role in how effective VSD is in the outcome.

I'm curious how or if Suzette addresses this issue in her seminars.



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PostPosted: Tue May 09, 2000 1:33 am 
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Verbal self defense? Are we talking about strategy, tactics, even weapons(words)?

Peyton Quinn writes;

"The ability to control adrenal stress, rather than knowledge or skill at martial technique, is the central determining factor in how a person will really function in an actual attack."

And lets not define "attack" too quickly... Mr. Quinn continues further in the text;

"The typical assailant is a bully at heart and often is only prepared for a victem, not an actual fight where he might be injured. Consequently, he employs the interview, and hence our opportunity to effect successful avoidance strategy by recognizing and handling the interview properly. Doing this demands maintaining some level of relaxation and calm under the visceral stress of stand-up aggression(the woof). If we have no experience with this woofing in our training, we are likely to be critically unprepared for same in an actual encounter."

What is a good "avoidance strategy"? Assuming we have practiced drills similar to the one's Mr. Quinn advocates(with training partners confronting us and "woofing", with possible threat of physical attack.), which has conditioned us to be more relaxed while feeling the effects of an adrenelin dump..... why could'nt we use verbal weapons while still in the inteview stage? Mr. Quinn wrote that after a certain amount of exposure to stand up physical agression he became much more relaxed about these types of incidents. He also noted that the problem with some blackbelts is that they tend to adrenelize too quickly in the training, and overreact.

He also wrote of very physically small women with no prior martial arts training who had given concussions, broken jaws, etc., to fully armored "bulletmen" who "woofed", then attacked them physically. One person even cracked the footbal helmet inside the padding of the bulletman suit! These astonishing results were the effects of the women's channeled adrenelin. I submit this is the best method for dealing with domestic abusers. When push comes to shove.....

As Quinn writes,

"...This is why I simply do not allow people to put hands on me in any sort of a manhandling fashion. If they do this, the fight is on, which means they will find themselves hurt and on the ground in the next instant. If you must fight, this is a good way to start out the battle."

This is not a "macho" thing. Its a survival thing. Women have it too, they are "helmet crackers", as Peyton Quinn has proven.


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PostPosted: Fri May 12, 2000 5:00 am 
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(1)

George Mattison wants to know what I tell doctors in my seminars, given the fact that their experience in classroom conditions is going to be very different from their experience with violence in the actual medical environment.

Most of my work is done with emergency medicine professionals. They face very real, potentially life-threatening violence, in their workplace -- in cities, they face it constantly. Violence isn't an intellectual issue for them, it's real. And in some ways it's worse for them, because -- unlike the average martial artist -- if they use physical tactics to defend themselves, they will almost certainly be sued for malpractice. If they use abusive _verbal_ tactics to defend themselves, they will probably be sued for malpractice. They can call security, sure, and people who are allowed to use force against patients will come running -- but that takes time, and it's time they often don't have. They have to be able to spot potential violence with pinpoint accuracy, _very_ fast, and deal with it until the security professional arrives. Verbal self-defense, for them, to be used in the face of very real impending physical violence, is indispensable.

I tell them that for their VSD skills to be any use to them in the real world, those skills absolutely have to be on automatic. That means they have to _practice_ them, just as they would practice their surgical skills. If they have to stop and think "Now what was that technique Suzette said we could use in this situation?", the technique is useless to them; there's no time for that. They have to know the techniques so well that they don't have to think; fortunately, because the techniques are language-based and linguistic knowledge is already internalized, that's possible. If they're motivated to use what I teach, and willing to practice it for a while until they're entirely comfortable with it, they're ready.[ For those who may not have read other threads, I'll say again here: The situation regarding linguistic knowledge is radically different from the situation regarding knowledge of a physical martial art. The two are not directly comparable. Every normal human being has a flawless competence with his or her native language that serves as a reliable foundation for verbal self-defense; there is no such competence available for the physical martial arts, which must be learned essentially from scratch. You'll find a discussion of this elsewhere in this forum.]

I also tell them that the person who comes into the ER yelling, "I've got a GUN, and I'm going to KILL EVERY DOCTOR IN THIS HOSpital!!!!" is almost never the person who is dangerous. Back that person into a corner, humiliate that person, make that person lose face -- do that, and you can force him or her to actual violence, sure. But if you don't make that mistake, such people aren't dangerous. I tell them the real danger is the person who comes in with entirely neutral body language, walks up to someone non-threateningly, and says -- quietly, without obscenities -- "I have a gun, and I'm going to kill every doctor in this hospital." That's a Leveler, and that person is deadly. Everybody down. And I remind the doctors that if they're not paying attention to body language and tone of voice they won't be able to distinguish between these two individuals; they have to listen, and they have to observe. They can't just process the words.

(2)

There is a question that keeps getting asked, and that I've been deliberately ignoring: the one asking for personal accounts of confrontations in which verbal skills have been enough to deal with potential physical violence. I'm uncomfortable providing such accounts. To me, saying "somebody did this, and then I did this, and I won," with details, is called bragging. I find it unseemly. I do understand that accounts like that can be useful for teaching, and I have tried -- unsuccessfully -- to think of some that I would feel comfortable presenting here. I'm sorry; it's just....unseemly. I will say just one thing, just this one time: People _don't_ confront me, either verbally or physically. They look at me, I look back, and they don't confront me. It doesn't happen once in a hundred times. Sometimes I have to get their attention because they're out of control, and that sometimes means letting them get their hands on me physically; then I look at them, and they look back, and they don't confront me. (Even saying that much is unseemly. Never again.)

However, there's no reason why I can't tell you a few things about some of my trainers and other people using my techniques. That's not unseemly. Here's just one that seems to me to be relevant:

I had a trainer who worked in a mental institution for violent psychotics (many suffering also from the effects of longtime severe drug abuse). Standard procedure there, when it was necessary to give a patient an injection, was to send six staff members to do it. _Six_. My trainer, using only VSD techniques, was able to give injections all by himself. This was pretty startling; he soon found himself demonstrating on the other side of a two-way mirror, so that others on the staff could learn to do the same. And they did learn, those who cared to do so.

Suzette


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PostPosted: Fri May 12, 2000 5:07 am 
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Sensei Mattson,

It's in the timing. VSD/Verbal Judo/ACT etc may very well help prevent the violence, but if the violence is happening it is far too late to talk.

This year at IST we did a confrontational simulation class. It was based on the Vermont Verbal program, the purpose of the simulatiuons was to use the skills to talk the threat down, but the threat was in a Hitman suit and could go bad. Strangely enough, the biggest adrenalin producer was not the threat but working in front of an audience. My sensei told me that the first belt test and the mokuroku test were where he could see how much technique someone could employ if they were attacked. Performance pressure under fear of being ashamed. Interesting, hmmm?

Rory


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PostPosted: Sat May 13, 2000 12:24 am 
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This is getting very interesting. If what Suzette is saying is true, we don't really need to know how to fight at all.(except in the "everybody down" situation - the extreme?)

That confuses me, after all these years of trying to figure out how to fight. Of course not needing to know how to fight does not diminish the many other benefits of our martial arts training..... I am just wondering if we tend to concentrate on the wrong goals. Suzette seems to be suggesting it is in the eyes, the demeanor, body language, and verbal language, and if you pull all that off - you will not be attacked.(by everyone except those "extreme" examples)

Others such as Peyton Quinn have sugested the same thing, and yet he "had" to fight quite a few times.

Of course, some of us would translate the "everybody down" situation to be "everybody without 'stopping power'(whatever we interpret that to be) down.

The incidents aluded to that are "unseemly" interest me very much. I wish Suzette would "brag", but I won't beg. How about incidents where folks failed to thwart violence with the vsd technique. (My meaning is that the individual failed to use the technique properly, or in a timely manner - not that the technique failed.) This would be educational, and certainly not bragging.

The example given was a good one, but lacked specifics of the interactions between the injector and injectee.


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PostPosted: Sat May 13, 2000 1:07 am 
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Billy,
Suzette is right about demeanor. If you have raised dogs and can manipulate your own body language from "alpha male" to "puppy" to "not your species, just passing through" fighting will be very rare.
One of my FTO's many years ago said "If you can't go into alone, a tank jammed with forty people, and drag two fighters out by yourself you can't do this job." Wally was trying to say that body language and verbal skills had to be backed up by a huge amount of nerve.

What I'm trying to say is that even with the edge of humanity 90% of the uses of force don't happen but it takes confidence just to go in there. If nothing else, training in combatives may be the thing that gives you that confidence.

Rory


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PostPosted: Fri May 19, 2000 12:26 am 
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Rory,

Thanks for the response. Your training officer sounds like a guy who developed alot of "nerve" in his experiences.

The problem that we are all circling in on here is how to distinguish between the 90% and the dreaded 10%. How can you tell? More importantly, how can you operate rationaly (and respond verbaly at all - never mind correcty) when in real fear for your life?

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


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PostPosted: Sat May 20, 2000 1:09 am 
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Billy,

This needs some thought. There's a books worth of material in that question. Here are some thoughts.

Be aware that there are two forms of interpersonal violence- most incidents are about territory or dominance (and territory can be subtle and psychological. Fighting for self-image is a form of territory defence.)
Other incidents are predator/prey- you are a living source of what the predator wants (this may also involve dominance, especially in severe sex crimes). The difference is that in the predator/prey relationship you are already completely dehumanized in the eyes of the predator.

Advice #1: You can not talk a predator down! Any attempt at communication will just be seen as a wounded rabbit squeeling- you will be seen as easier prey, less likely to fight.

Corollary to #1: If the threat attacks without warning, attempts to restrain you (tie-up, handcuffs, car trunk, locked room etc.) or attempts to move you to a location of his choice, the threat is a predator. You can't talk your way out.

Avoidable violence is more common. Territoriality ("You lookin at ma woman?" "That's my seat.") and dominance(The stare, the body contact, the aggressive question.)

Advice #2: Most people have to work themselves up to attack. This working up follows a pattern- eye contact, belligerent challenge, arm waving then a finger pointing or shove against the chest then a swing.

What is the exact moment that this will escalate to an attack?

Advice #3: You know these guys are going to swing when they swing.
Realizing this tip is useless, here are some things to watch for.
Voice: Rate, pitch and volume increase.
Movement: Gross body movement- arms swinging, pacing. If they are dropping things or can't sign their name (for instance- there are forms to fill out at booking) Adrenalin has hit hard and the edge is very close.
Coloring: I stole this from Marc McYoung. He says there's a shudder when the adrenalin hits the system. I haven't seen that. I have seen the second of hesitation when the body switches to adrenalized metabolism. I can also confirm his charcterizations of big, red and loud (faces flushes, tries to intimidate by towering and leaning forward) small, white and quiet (goes pale, quiets down, tries to withdrawal into self- this subject is very afraid. If triggered will lash and try to run. And flat. (No emotion, usually pale, eyes unfocus into thousand-yard stare.) Very dangerous. Experienced with the adrenalin condition and able to think.

Hope this helps a little.

Rory


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PostPosted: Sat May 27, 2000 1:25 pm 
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Rory,

Good good post.

{Also, I especially respect your line "I stole this from Marc". I am not being facetious, but serious. Most do not mention the source of inspiration!)

Tony Blauer


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PostPosted: Sun May 28, 2000 1:02 am 
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Rory,

Again, thanks for the response. I agree with Coach Blauer this one was awesome!

Some very practical advice, and just what I was searching for!

The gross body movement you describe is one I have seen myself which I have often heard described as "the prison warm-up", where the attacker swings his arms back and forth stretching the back and chest muscles not unlike southern Chinese white crane style movements, or the opening to Uechi-ryu's Sanchin kata. Often the victem interprets this as mere physical gesture meant to reinforce a "point" the attacker is trying to make verbally. (big mistake)

I have never heard about "coloring"....... very interesting. I will have to pick up one of "the animal's" books.

So, in terms of verbal self defense I guess the consensus is we can use it on all but the most evil of attackers - the predator. And so I guess we should spend time learning verbal self defense, and equal time learning to identify the real predators.

"And flat. (No emotion, usually pale, eyes unfocus into thousand-yard stare.) Very dangerous. Experienced with the adrenalin condition and able to think."

Interesting. This is what we seek as martial artists, I think. And if we can think under adrenalin it means we should be able to control our actions to some degree. If we can control our responses we should be able to use verbal techniques, physical posturing, eye contact, facial expression, and violence if need be. In theory, anyway.

Thanks again Rory, I'm very glad you are "on board" here.

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


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