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PostPosted: Wed Jul 17, 2002 4:28 pm 
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Folks,

Please take advantage of the knowledge that Darren Laur has so graciously decided to give us on this important topic of Verbal Self Defense. Lee Darrow, and Rory are also very knowledgeable in this topic and have been contributing valuable information.

Fortunately, the verbal aspect is one that can be conditioned by communication in these forums. How can one be expected to use Verbal Self Defense if one cannot discuss its merits and training in an open forum.

In another post Darren writes:

Pre-contact verbals is a very important topic area, but one that is often overlooked in combatives.

Why is this so?

It is not only Martial Artists who think like this. I posted a thread about about a man who saw a sign, the window of my dojo, that stated we teach Verbal Self Defense. See Dont give it a second thought. He may have been a martial artist from another style but probably was just the average guy who may have thought verbal self defense was the ability to hurt someone with words. Who knows what he was thinking. I wish I had not been in a hurry at the time and had stopped to ask him what he thought was so funny about the idea of Verbal Self Defense.

Why do people avoid this area of defense?

What do you think about the training of verbal tacticts?

Should it be included in the dojo curriculum?

Should it be explored as a separate art?

Please share any views that you may have on this topic, pro or con.



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Len


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 17, 2002 10:13 pm 
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I developed this forum because of my belief that the subject should be an integral part of our martial art programs. We don't have to spend lots of time in the dojo, but students should at least discuss verbal self-defense as it relates to different types of conflicts.

At the very least, teachers should encourage their students to read this forum (and archives) to learn more about VSD. Amazing how just reading about the subject will help.

I know many teachers who work with children, spend quite a bit of class time discussing how to avoid trouble with appropriate action and words. Role playing also is important.

To a certain extent, some of this comes out in senerio training of the type Dana participating in at Alan's dojo. I'd be interested in hearing how she (or if she) was instructed in how to avoid contact with the bulletmen or if the training assumed the worse case senerio each encounter.

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GEM


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 19, 2002 5:08 am 
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The FAST training starts out with personal space awareness. Then you move into some role playing where you pretend to meet someone as a long lost friend vs. meeting someone as stranger. This is to create an awareness of the different distances we use when we interact with people depending on our familiarity with them.

The next step is some verbal awareness. Another student in the class role plays as someone who is trying to touch you that you don't want to be touched by. (such as a drunk co-worker at an office party). You are given advice on how to verbally deny their request and how to back up that denial with your body language and actions.

This part of the training involves non-escalation techniques. Your goal is not to be louder than the bad guy - just to be clear in how you say no - both verbally and physically. This can include walking further away, walking in a circle around them to pass them, and touching them to bring their hands down and away from you in a gentle way.

The next step to the training is a much more intense verbal encounter with the bulletmen still in street clothes. I found this to be the most adrenalizing portion of the basics class. Probably because I could see the face of the wolfer. The wolfing is done with very strong verbal language and strong body language. Though they do keep their distance (probably for their own safety - I got riled up enough to go for a strike if they had come any closer.)

Even though you know the bulletman isn't going to attack you physically you don't know how long he's going to assault you verbally. So the training really works. You are taught to set up a verbal wall by repeating over and over phrases like "I don't know you" "leave me alone" "stay back" or "get back."

The idea is that if you've already given clear "no" signals both verbally and physically and the person accosting is still moving forward, then they don't really care what you think or what you want. They have a goal they want to achieve and it doesn't matter what you say or how you say it - they're going to move in. So if it becomes clear that the initial "no" message isn't working - you stop listening to what they're saying becuase the words simply don't matter anymore. That's why you go into mantra mode with a phrase like "back off". There is no reason for you to listen to what they're saying but there are lots of good reasons for you to continue to give off strong "no" signals.

1. you get louder - which keeps you breathing (very key under adrenal stress)

2. getting louder can attract attention and help

3. getting louder can make the bad guy nervous that you're attracting attention and also tells him that you're not going to be an easy victim - which might make him give up.

4. By saying something over and over again you have a better chance that witnesses standing by will actually remember what you say. i.e. "She kept telling the guy to back off and when he went for her she hit him"

Even in the next phase of training - when the bulletmen are in full armour and things get physical - there are times when you can beat them off verbally. You don't know when that will be.

Again - the bulletmen doing this are trained. They've gone through many, many courses in how to verbally assult people without getting caught up in the emotion. I think this is very important for people to remember if they decide to start doing role playing in their dojo. Having someone you know and trust use strong and abusive languge on you is just not a good idea.

At the same time I think this kind of training can be very important for martial artists. So I'm definitely more in favor of the "guest instructor" bad guy. And I'm most in favor of getting some training in the this type of stuff before doing/teaching it.

Dana


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 05, 2002 7:26 pm 
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Len Testa-Sensei,

Thanks for the supportive words - I appreciate them.

In answer to some of the questions you raised, let me start in and see if anyone else jumps on the bandwagon:

Q. Why do people avoid this area of defense?
IMPO, most students come to the MA to deal with the physical side of confrontations, not to learn diplomacy. This is unfortunate because diplomacy is often the BEST choice for conflict resolution in a street situation, IME.

Q. Should it be explored as a separate art?
Tough call. In some ways it is well outside the usual training in almost every MA I have ever been exposed to, but in other ways, it SHOULD be included in ANY MA that is intended for street use, simply because it IS another application that can save someone's assets from a severe drubbing or fatality.

Q. Should it be included in the dojo curriculum?
IHMO, YES! But training and certification might be awarded under separate review - which will be tough to devise, but worthwhile in the extreme, IMPO.

Q. What do you think about the training of verbal tacticts?
I believe that this field, as it applies specifically to the MA, is in its infancy and well worth developing. More and more research and experimentation being done today show just how damaging AND healing words can be. Best we know what we are doing and act consciously than to act in ignorance of the possible perceptions of our words and acts.

Respectfully,

Lee Darrow, C.Ht.


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 07, 2002 5:39 am 
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Test post


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 07, 2002 6:03 am 
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It seems to me that the 3 issues to be taught include:

1) The physical waza/kata/spar/bunkai of the MA.

2) The nonverbal manner of bearing and an unspoken vibe that the martial artist exudes and carries. In Uechi it should be a balance of 1/2 hard and 1/2 soft, which seems to indicate the balance between passiveness and aggressiveness - assertiveness. Nonthreatening, but strong. Alert, ready.

3) The verbal de-escalation or verbal self defense. Again, it would seem that a clear, strong voice, short of yelling or other verbal aggression is important. Eye contact and being squared to the individual is also important.

There is a neurolinguistic phenomenon that suggests that language and communication is critical to the human creature. So much so, that in the part of the brain that controls neurolinguistics, there is a modulation governor that makes great effort to subconciously match the voice levels of your own voice with that of your recipient and vice versa. If you talk louder, they talk louder. If you yell, they yell. The idea would be to remember this when you are in a verbal escalation. Remember the teacher who who sternly lowered their voice and everyone in class hushed?

Also important is awareness and assessment of personal space, who is involved in this encounter and your own vibes, voice and bearing.

Can't hurt for the MA to add some tools into his toolbox.

Just a starting point from my perspective,

JohnC


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 07, 2002 1:08 pm 
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Good points John. Thanks for joining us in this discussion.

It is easy for most people to succumb to the attackers plan of raising the voice level.

You start your retort to the agressor calmly, and get a louder response which is designed to "draw" you into a shouting match.

The more you yell when you talk...the less you think about what you really want to say.
Before you know it, rage takes over and that leads to escallation of the situation.

You are right on target with the non-verbal awareness of your's and the others body language.

If you show that you are clenching your fists, even if your voice is not loud and threatening, you are sending out a signal that you are preparing to fight. No amount of verbal self-defense will hide threatening body language.



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PostPosted: Thu Aug 08, 2002 5:11 am 
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<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by JohnC:

It seems to me that the 3 issues to be taught include:

1) The physical waza/kata/spar/bunkai of the MA.

2) The nonverbal manner of bearing and an unspoken vibe that the martial artist exudes and carries. In Uechi it should be a balance of 1/2 hard and 1/2 soft, which seems to indicate the balance between passiveness and aggressiveness - assertiveness. Nonthreatening, but strong. Alert, ready.

3) The verbal de-escalation or verbal self defense. Again, it would seem that a clear, strong voice, short of yelling or other verbal aggression is important. Eye contact and being squared to the individual is also important.

There is a neurolinguistic phenomenon that suggests that language and communication is critical to the human creature. So much so, that in the part of the brain that controls neurolinguistics, there is a modulation governor that makes great effort to subconciously match the voice levels of your own voice with that of your recipient and vice versa. If you talk louder, they talk louder. If you yell, they yell. The idea would be to remember this when you are in a verbal escalation. Remember the teacher who who sternly lowered their voice and everyone in class hushed?

Also important is awareness and assessment of personal space, who is involved in this encounter and your own vibes, voice and bearing.

Can't hurt for the MA to add some tools into his toolbox.

Just a starting point from my perspective,

JohnC
<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

John-sama,

Thanks for the supportive post. Good summation.

On the topic of eye contact, one has to be very careful as to how one uses eye contact. In NYC, making eye contact is often taken as a challenge by the person who one makes eye contact with. In smaller towns, NOT making eye contact is often taken as being insulting, looking for an escape, a sign of weakness, vulnerability and the like and can actually cause a situation to escalate seemingly on its own.

Your comments on matching behaviors are right on the money as well. If someone is trying to escalate by increasing volume, try lowering your voice (your is a generic, not necessarily meaning you, personally). This can often help lower a situation because the other person is forced to listen to your words, which can be used to defuse the situation - possibly.

Great post! Keep 'em coming!

Respectfully,

Lee Darrow, C.Ht.


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 16, 2002 6:21 am 
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Somehow, its important to introduce the unpredictable into the dojo in a way that is safe and yet alarming or a bit surprising.

It reminds me of a creative writing teacher in high school, who was a former Colonel in Air Force Intelligence who would routinely spring the unpredictable upon us in class. Like the time he had "words" with a student who challenged him. It seemed real to the rest of us, but was all staged to see how we responded and to later ponder our feelings and responses. Basically, we all froze - stupified.

He also would stand up on his desk just to get our attention in a fairly dramatic way. He was a bit odd, but his background in espionage probably taught him that **** happens when we least expect it and we need to be able to experience the "dump" in a controlled environment. It was way beyond most of us, but in reflecting on it now, he was very, very good at teaching us about real life.

In a real encounter, the interview - the "woof", its easy to take the bait and allow the encounter to escalate - "FU", etc. Then, we find ourselves in the predicament of having to finish something we started. Oops. Then as the guy takes his jacket off and lays on some real, clear threats, our voice begins to quiver, we get the stomach flutters, our palms sweat, our eyes reveal our uncertainty.

I think practiced responses - "get back", with hands up, and other verbal and nonverbal training tools discussed in this thread are helpful to get us through the inertia and the denial and to give us greater control and mastery in the defense arena. But it ain't easy. When the real deal rocks your world, look out. You ain't in the Kansas dojo now, toto.


JohnC


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 17, 2002 5:28 am 
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JohnC-sama,

Did you go to Oak Park HS? I had an American History teacher like yours, but he wasn't a vet to the best of my knowledge.

When the fewmets hit the windmill, it's too late to start thinking about what to say, agreed.

It's the "woofing" stage that needs to be defused - before he takes off his coat. (Of course, AS he takes off his coat, his arms are somewhat restrained, giving an opening for a good pre-emptive strike or twelve. Image

The hard part for many people, myself included, is NOT to buy into the escalation game, but to work outside of the framework the person facing me has put up.

In NLP and hypnotherapy, we call these techniques "pattern interrupts." They are actions that are unexpected and often interrupt some action that most people do not consider has a middle part, like shaking hands with the wrong hand. It causes many people to do a physical stutter, trying to figure out how to properly respond.

Oftentimes these techniques can be very effective in derailing a confrontation. By causing the initiator to go into intense search mode, a simple statement or suggestion can slip by his defenses and lower the antagonism factor, greatly.

Offerning the wrong hand for a handshake, stopping just as he touches yours, withdrawing it and saying "Sorry," while offering your right hand can really throw someone's psyche into a loop.

There are others as well. More to follow.

Keep 'em coming!

Respectfully,

Lee Darrow, C.Ht.


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 18, 2002 4:42 am 
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Actually, we're looking at the wrong, small end of the telescope in that we'll use verbal self-defense far more with family, friends, coworkers, clients, etc. than stangers in an "encounter".

Pleasant greetings, smiles, honest and direct comments, objectivity, active listening, aren't these all tools to include in the communication process with fellow human beings to prevent some of the verbal escalations?

I would also be interested in a spectrum of verbal defense for intervening, similar to the use of force continuum. Something like this:

You are at a concert, lecture or gathering and a small group is oblivious to their somewhat disruptive small talk and laughter.

(Preliminary stage is to ignore behavior if possible)

1) Friendly nonverbal(finger to lips for quiet while smiling)
2) Concerned nonverbal(finger to lips, smile fading and shaking the head no)
3) Relaxed approach and calmly verbalize directly("Quiet, please")
4) Concerned verbalization("I'll have to speak to the manager, please quiet down")
5) If possible, use group/peer interventions if need is great enough and the familiarity and rapport with the group is there, having several peers speak for quiet.
6) Seek out management, group facilitator, someone in charge and let them deal with it.
7) Removal by escort

Just some thoughts. Of course, time, place, environment, etc. all play a crucial role in the outcome of these type events. There would also be times when you would skip further into the continuum.


JohnC


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 19, 2002 8:50 pm 
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<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by JohnC:
Actually, we're looking at the wrong, small end of the telescope in that we'll use verbal self-defense far more with family, friends, coworkers, clients, etc. than stangers in an "encounter".

Pleasant greetings, smiles, honest and direct comments, objectivity, active listening, aren't these all tools to include in the communication process with fellow human beings to prevent some of the verbal escalations?<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

I believe that these tools can be used effectively when dealing with the public.

When a confrontation occurs with known individuals, every effort should be made to descallate. It should also be stated that unknown individuals would probably be pushed into a physical confronation if these tools were not at least tried. No guarantees are given even with known parties. The chances that VSD will work on unknow parties is slim unless you practice your verbal skills with no emotions.

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>I would also be interested in a spectrum of verbal defense for intervening, similar to the use of force continuum. Something like this:

You are at a concert, lecture or gathering and a small group is oblivious to their somewhat disruptive small talk and laughter.

(Preliminary stage is to ignore behavior if possible)

1) Friendly nonverbal(finger to lips for quiet while smiling)
2) Concerned nonverbal(finger to lips, smile fading and shaking the head no)
3) Relaxed approach and calmly verbalize directly("Quiet, please")
4) Concerned verbalization("I'll have to speak to the manager, please quiet down")
5) If possible, use group/peer interventions if need is great enough and the familiarity and rapport with the group is there, having several peers speak for quiet.
6) Seek out management, group facilitator, someone in charge and let them deal with it.
7) Removal by escort<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

In this case I would simply choose #6. Sometimes the right VSD, is no verbal communication at all.

Of course if the group sees you talking to the security folks, and they get tossed because they would not comply with demands, they might seek you out in the parking lot and then your VSD will be needed to talk your way out of a fight. I will take my chances on this though.


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 22, 2002 8:46 pm 
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Comments interspersed, noted with my traditional ** to show where I'm writing...

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by LenTesta:
In this case I would simply choose #6. Sometimes the right VSD, is no verbal communication at all.

**In general, that may not be true, IMHO. By not asking, politely, for the offenders to cut back on their disruptive actions and going directly to the management, one is taking things to a go-no/go level, which may not be appropriate.

**Obviously, each case has to be judged on its own and, in some cases, one will realize without any interaction with the annoying people, that the only move is to call in outside support (management). In the case of someone being oblivious to the disruption they are causing (a couple of teenage girls chatting in a theater, forinstance), then going the initial request route might very well work.

Of course if the group sees you talking to the security folks, and they get tossed because they would not comply with demands, they might seek you out in the parking lot and then your VSD will be needed to talk your way out of a fight. I will take my chances on this though.
<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

** Of course, if you are really concerned that they will wait for you and beat the sweet bejesus out of you, getting management to NOT throw them out might be a good ploy. Using the old, "Hey, all I asked was that they not talk so loud, Mr. Manager! Please don't throw them out. I don't want any trouble, I just want to hear the movie/concert/whatever."

** Such a tactic, if done in the hearing of the folks about to get tossed out, can go a long way towards keeping your skin intact, IME. Especially if they don't get thrown out. Image

** Of course, if they DO decide to get physical after the show, you COULD mention to management as you are about to leave that you have that concern and that they keep an eye on you as you leave... Backup is always a good thing to have... reserve forces are even better... Image

Respectfully,

Lee Darrow, C.HT.


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