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 Post subject: The Power Of Semantics
PostPosted: Mon May 12, 2003 12:40 am 
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Location: Victoria, BC, Canada
The Power Of Semantics (The Use Of Choice Speech):


The power of words (semantics) has been the catalyst, in many cases, that has caused countries to go to war. The same holds true for individual self-protection encounters, which are really just a war in microcosm. Time and time again, I have seen physical confrontations initiated by those who fail to understand the power of words, and how what one says can either escalate or de-escalate a physical encounter.

Prior to an actual physical assault taking place, there will usually, not always, be an exchange of words between the attacker and the intended victim. It is during this Pre-physical contact “interview”, that the attacker’s “intent” to fight can often be de-railed through “choice speech”. In many cases, the interview is being used as the “lure” to both entice and goad you into a physical confrontation. The attacker is hoping that no matter what you say, the words you speak will give him the excuse he was looking for to physically engage with rage.


Knowing this, how can we use the power of semantics to our advantage? A fellow Canadian Self Protection instructor, Richard Dimitri (founder of Senshido, http://www.senshido.com) stated and I’m paraphrasing; “ I’m not really interested in the final result or the technique used in a street fight, rather I’m more interested in how it escalated to the point of the physical”. This statement is true brilliance, and something that I have been preaching for years. To many in our field are more concerned about the physical (which, don’t get me wrong, is important) rather than pre-contact psychology. Dimitri’s work in the area of semantics, as it relates to personal combat, is some of the best around and what has spawned this posting on the topic.


So, lets look at some common baited statements that are used to elicit a response from us , and discuss how we can remold them, or as Neuro Linguistic Psychology calls it “pattern interrupt (brain fart) the user to our advantage. Remember, these statements are the bait that the potential attacker wants you to bite at, thus giving them the excuse to physically engage. What we want to do is “DE-RAIL” this mental process to our advantage.


EXAMPLE #1:

“ Do you have a F*****G problem ? “

Here the usual reply is “no”, or no reply at all. Both of these responses, if given, are too finite, and tend to elicit a negative response from the attacker. The key word here is “PROBLEM”, so use this to your advantage by giving a response such as:

“ Yes, I do have a problem. I just got fired at work, and I have no financial way to feed my family, our look after their needs at home.”


IMO, this reply is very powerful in that it answers your attacker’s question in a way that is psychologically very disarming. Identifying the fact that you have a problem that is going to directly affect your family, is something that can be related to by most would be attackers, thus causing the pattern interruption which can lead to diffusion




EXAMPLE #2:


“ What the F**K are you looking at ?”.


Here the usual reply is “nothing” or no reply at all. Again, both of these responses are too finite and tend to elicit a negative response from the attacker. The key word here is “LOOKING’, so use this to your advantage by giving a response such as:


“ I’m sorry if you thought I was looking at you the wrong way, my wife just left me, and my mind is scrambled right now and as a result, I have a habit of staring out in space which people mistake as staring, sorry man,. I didn’t mean anything by it”


IMO, this reply is again very powerful in that it answers your attacker’s question in a way that is psychologically very disarming.




EAMPLE #3:


“ Give me all your ##### money”


If you don’t have any money, never state this fact, by itself, to the attacker. Remember, they have picked you for a reason and have placed themselves in a dangerous situation where they could be arrested and sent to jail if caught. The last thing the attacker wants to hear from you, is that you do not have anything of value for them to take. Instead a response might be:


“ Man, I don’t have any cash with me right now, but I have my bank card that has a $1000.00 limit on it. You can have it, and I will give you the pin number” . OR;


“ Man I don’t have any cash right now, but see this gold ring, it’s worth $700.00, here take it.”



I hope that you, the reader, can see how tactically and psychologically disarming the above examples are. It is because of this “cause and effect” strategy that we can psychologically reverse the intended “lure”, and use it to our advantage to either verbally de-escalate the situation, or use it as a set up for first strike. Due to the fact that only about 10% of communication is verbal, body language used with this tactic must be congruent with what you are attempting to communicate verbally!!!!! If not, the potential attacker will not believe a word you say.


As with any other strategy or tactic, one must practice these skills in realistic scenario based replication training. Proper Pre Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance. The power of words, and their application, is a “MUST” for those who seek realistic self-protection training. Remember, winning a fighting isn’t always about the physical !!!!!!




Strength and Honor

Darren Laur



For related information please go to: http://members.shaw.ca/tmanifold/laur.htm and click on SAVING FACE, and COMMUNICATION.



CAVEAT:

I would highly recommend Richard DIMITRI’s work in this area as a blueprint for others to follow. From a NLP perspective, specific to this topic, what he is doing is brilliant. Richard’s work in the area of the physical is also most desirable.


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PostPosted: Fri May 23, 2003 7:25 pm 
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Constable Laur, as usual, yours is an informative and insightful post.

For years, I have been preaching the idea of disrupting the fight before it happens and feel that the pattern interrupt is one of the better tools to defuse a fight with.

Some pattern interrupts I have seen used include: a full gorwn woman plopping down on the ground before the guy hit her, kicking her feet and pounding her fists and crying "MOMMY!!!" at the top of her lungs in the middle of a parking lot.

Another was a woman who looked calmly at her would-be attacker and who asked, in a soft and gentle voice, "All I want to know before we fight is where you want me to send the flowers." Then she smiled.

One of my favorites was the woman who looked to her right and said, to thin air, "Gee, Benny, we get to kill another one!" Her attacker took off like a shot.

:twisted:

And my favorite was the woman who put up her hands, palms out and said, "You may beat me up, but my lawyer can beat up YOUR lawyer!"

Sometimes, the non sequitur response is good, too.

In one instance, a friend of mine was confronted with a guy who was all ready to haul off and hit him. My friend fanned a deck of cards in front of the attacker and stated, harshly, "Never mind THAT! PICK A CARD!"

Lo! and behold, the would-be attacker stopped and picked a card!

Creativity is sometimes the key, it seems.

Respectfully,

Lee Darrow, C.Ht.
http://www.leedarrow.com

_________________
"No matter where you go, there you MIGHT be!" - Heisenberg


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PostPosted: Fri May 23, 2003 7:44 pm 
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I've been trying to get our Uechi students and teachers to become more sensitive to these semantic issues for years. It is difficult, because we have to swallow our pride, which is "unmanly" and anti Martial Arts according to many.

Telling the BG something that might de-escalate the situation is probably a lot more reliable advice than any "killer" move we can teach our students. However, most students don't want to hear this, preferring to learn the magic physical move that will stop the BG in his tracks.

Please continue to push the subject. The information is sorely needed by us all.

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GEM
"Do or do not. there is no try!"


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PostPosted: Fri May 23, 2003 9:04 pm 
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Darren,

Excellent post and lots to learn if we can put our egos aside, hard thing to do.

Please enlighten us with more of it.

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Van


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PostPosted: Sat May 24, 2003 6:57 pm 
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Everyone likes Darren's post, so I'll be a partial "nay-sayer".

While the explanations of semantics and using them to your advantage are excellent and I like the first two examples, I don't like the third example at all. There are circumstances that warrants giving some piece of crap your hard-earned valuables, those circumstances do not revolve around "semantics". That is an incorrect correlation which breaks down under the simplest scrutiny. When someone approaches you with the phrase: "Give me all your ###### money!" There is no semantical misunderstanding at all. (Unlike the first two examples.) These types of situations have to be felt out at the time and no one can tell you what circumstance it is without being there and knowing. If it is one of those circumstances where there is no negotiations, the whole "semantics" angle is a moot point. On the other hand, if it is not, rather than freely offering to subsidize such a person's existence, IMHO, a better response (along the idea of Darren's first two excellent examples) would be: "Look... You want money. I'm not giving it away. We can either talk about how to help you get some money or you can try to rob me and worry about coming up with money for bail that you obviously don't have. One way is going to be good, one's going to be bad. Your choice, but I'm only willing to help if you make the right choice." But the only person who can say whether that will work is the person in the situation at the time. Then again, another response might be to say, "the only thing I have of value is this .45..." As you draw down on the perp! :2gunfire:


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 Post subject: Explanation
PostPosted: Sat May 24, 2003 9:13 pm 
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Panther:

As I have always said, don’t be afraid to question and don’t just follow!!!! I think this will be our first interaction on this or any topic on this forum, and I am looking forward to the challenge of explaining my thought process with respect to my third example in the above posting.


IMO, when the “perp” has approached and stated, “ Give me all your F*****G money !!”, he has chosen you for a reason and purpose, he WANTS something of VALUE from you. He has placed himself in a situation where his actions could lead him to being seen, heard, caught, injured, or even going to jail. The last thing that this person wants to hear from you right now is that you don’t have anything of value to give to him. This is especially true if the perp is a crack, meth, or heroin addict. They picked you expecting that they would get what they wanted and if they don’t anxiety level in the perp is going to heighten, which is a danger to you.

Another way to explain this is to visualize, imagine, or even pretend this scenario:


You and your girlfriend/boyfriend have decided to have sex tonight for the first time. You both believe in “safer” sex, at which time you pull out your condom and the first thing that you notice is that the packaging has been compromised and as a result so has the condom itself. Your girlfriend/boyfriend is adamant that with out a condom there will be no sex tonight…… NO GLOVE NO LOVE. You quickly throw your cloths back on, and fly down to the only store in town that sells condoms, and as you reach the front doors, the business owner is just locking them due to the fact that he is closing early. You plead with him to open the door, but he refused to do so and walks away.

In the above noted scenario, what would happen to your frustration/anxiety level. I think that most people are going to be frustrated, mad, pi**ed off. Why ???? You had a focused goal and purpose, to have sex tonight. Because you can not achieve this goal, frustration and anxiety is going to increase and thus, you are likely to do something stupid that could have dire consequences.


This analogy holds true for the perp as well. He has picked you for a reason and purpose and if he does not attain his focused goal, he is likely to do something stupid that may have dire consequences to you. So yes, IMO, “SEMATICS” are important here. You stated correctly; “ these types of situations have to be felt out at the time and no one can tell you what circumstances it is without being there and knowing it”. It’s my argument however, that during this “feel out” process that semantics are extremely important. If I can distract/pattern interrupt the perp by playing into his wants and needs, then it will give me the tactical advantage I need to apply first strike utilizing the element of surprise. The whole point of my example in #3 is to never ever say that you have no money or anything else of value (by itself) when confronted to do so, IMO this only invites increased anxiety and frustration in the perp which “may” lead to dire consequences.


I think the example you give is good, but by changing some of the linguistics you can make it more desirable. You stated:


" Look... You want money. I'm not giving it away. We can either talk about how to help you get some money or you can try to rob me and worry about coming up with money for bail that you obviously don't have. One way is going to be good, one's going to be bad. Your choice, but I'm only willing to help if you make the right choice. "


Based upon my training in NLP the above noted phrase has several less desirable attributes:

· “ I’m not giving it away.” This phrase to the subconscious is confrontational and offers a negative challenge to the perp, something that I would suggest that you do not want to do.
· “ one way is going to be good and one’s going to be bad”. Again, in most cases, it’s my argument that the perp doesn’t want to hear the bad; they only want to hear the good.
· “I’m only willing to help if you make the right choice.” Again, this psychologically integrates with the perp that YOU are in control and not him. This sentence may cause the perp to say, “ F**K you, you will do what I tell you to do, F**K choices there is only one choice here.”


Instead, I would suggest:


“ Hey man, you want money, I don’t have any cash with me right now, but I can get you cash. Here’s my bankcard it has a $1000.00 limit, you can have it and here’s my pin number.”

Although you have stated that you have no cash, something that the perp doesn’t want to hear, you did give an alternative that has a cash value attached to it. In NLP, this substitution is called a subconscious equation. Both play into the perp’s wants and goals.

This now gives the perp two options:

· take the card for financial reward, or
· leave without their goal

In both there is no challenge on your part.
Now, If I have a card or other thing of value I will give it to the perp if requested. If I do not have these items, as I reach for this fictitious thing of value, (which causes a pattern interruption/distraction as most perps will look to where your hands are reaching) I will immediately launch into a first strike, or pull my .45, using the element of surprise which now gives me a tactical advantage.


I hope this more clearly explains my reasoning in example #3.




Strength and Honor

Darren Laur



Ps: I hope my analogy of sex does not offend anyone on this forum. It was the clearest example that I could use to describe my point. If anyone was offended, I do apologize, but understand it was used for clarification and explanation.


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PostPosted: Sun May 25, 2003 3:23 pm 
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Darren,

Thank you for the explanation. Some of us with slower thinking skills need things explained in a way we can understand. :wink: I didn't realize, until re-reading the original, that you weren't necessarily advocating giving in to the perp, but rather feeling him/her out and distracting them in the process. When I had to travel in some bad sections of the city, I used to have a $10 bill wrapped around a book of matches in my shirt pocket. When I came across the inevitable group looking for a fight (depending on a number of factors) I've successfully flipped that $10 matchbook to the loudmouth and said, "Hey, I don't want any trouble. Here, let me buy the beer..." On the times when I had the feeling that it would work (which is the only time I'd do it), I've batted 1000 and always gotten either a "thanks" or an acknowledgement that I was "OK" and could pass on. $10 is cheap insurance.

But I must make one comment about the sex analogy. Being a monogamous type of guy, I view condoms the same way I view rattlesnakes... I don't F**K with them! :lol: (See... I just used my verbal self defense skills to deflect any outrage over your sex analogy away from you... 8O :D )

Take care...


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