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PostPosted: Mon Jun 24, 2002 3:16 pm 
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Joined: Fri Feb 18, 2000 6:01 am
Posts: 1051
Location: Brockton, MA, USA
As I was leaving my dojo on Friday night, I heard a man outside laugh to himself as he was reading the sign I have on one of my windows. The sign states that we teach Verbal Self-Defense and Physical Self-Defense.

I heard him say Verbal Self-defense to himself as he chuckled.

I walked out the door at this point. Because I had an instructor inside that was going to lock up when he left, I just closed the door and walked to my car which was in the front parking spot. He saw me exit with my bag and must have assumed that I was a student. He offered no questions to me about what it entailed so I got into my car.

Then another man walked up and joined him.
The other man had a phone in his hand. When he put the phone away, the amused man pointed to the sign and said "look at this...Verbal Self-defense." Upon reading this the other man laughed and they both walked off toward the Chinese Restraunt.

I wonder what they thought we were teaching?

Does anyone seriously give Verbal Self-defense a second thought? Does anyone who is not a martial artist even think of verbal self-defense?

I assume many adults dont even consider that this method of defense even exists. I assume that if they knew that it exists they believe it will not work.

No wonder that it is hard to make people understand that fighting is not the only way to defend yourself.


PostPosted: Mon Jun 24, 2002 6:11 pm 
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Joined: Wed Feb 14, 2001 6:01 am
Posts: 1830
If I hadn't heard of it before, I would say verbal self defense sounds like swearing profusely at the bad guys in an attempt to scare them off as they beat you. I probably would have laughed at the sign too, not thinking it could mean "diplomacy".

And then "diplomacy" can sometimes involve a blow to your ego-- not the stereotypical Steve Seagul view of a martial artist.

PostPosted: Tue Jun 25, 2002 5:00 am 

Joined: Thu Sep 16, 1999 6:01 am
Posts: 538
Location: Charlottesville,VA,USA
I think your ability to simply walk past the guy without comment was a pretty good illustration of avoidance. It must have been tempting to engage him in some sort of discussion. Not rising to the bait (whether intentionally set or not) is probably the best overall tactic for "self defense."


"I learn by going where I have to go." - Theodore Roethke

PostPosted: Wed Jun 26, 2002 4:34 pm 
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Joined: Wed May 09, 2001 6:01 am
Posts: 986
Location: Chicago, IL USA
Len Testa-Sensei,

Whenever I mention VSD to someone outside the martial arts or law enforcement/military, I get looked at like I have grown a second head.

It would seem that many people do not consider diplomacy and other VSD techniques as "self-defense." They seem to presuppose that self defense means physically fighting, in my experience.

Back when I was a kid (in the Jurassic period), people talked about boxing as "the manly art of self defense." People didn't practice martial arts then, they learned to fight. They didn't practice VSD, they "talked their way out of a tight spot."

Prior to the early 60's, when the MA were first making their big entrance into the public eye (even though the military had been teaching some MA prior to that) via movies and a select TV show or two, VSD is essentially unknown to the public at large.

Perhaps it is the presupposition that self defense HAS to involve fighting that we need to overcome.


Lee Darrow, C.Ht.

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