The Force Continuum is a scale that ranks force options in orders of magnitude. It recognizes that different types of force are appropriate in different situations. Here is a typical, 6-level Force Continuum.
Level I: Presence. The officer has a reasonable expectation that being seen in uniform or after identifying him or herself as an officer, people will stop behaving badly. It works remarkably well - there’s nothing like a police car in the rearview mirror to get you under the speed limit.
Level II: Verbal. There is probably more skill applied at level II than at all the others combined. Asking, advising, ordering; persuasion and verbal judo; finding the social and psychological hooks that allow the officer to defuse the situation; even down to shouting orders and intimidation are all skills that fall under the heading “Verbal”.
Level III: Touch. This is the hand-on-the-shoulder attention getting and the one hand on the elbow to steer a drunk toward the door. It is volatile. Many assaults happen here because the officer has misjudged the threats stability. When it happens, it is close up and fast.
Level IV: Pain compliance. These are the relatively low risk of injury techniques with high potential payoffs. Joint locks, pressure points and takedowns. Some agencies classify OC at this level, others at level V.
Level V: Impact. Level five incorporates the techniques that might well result in injury but are unlikely to result in death. Focused blows with hands, feet, batons, chairs, or less-lethal munitions. Some agencies class electrical stun devices, such as tasers at this level, some at level IV. Some class choking here, some at level VI
Level VI: Deadly Force. Any force readily capable of causing death or serious injury. Shooting, cutting, driving over with cars, stomping necks, throwing off buildings…
Verbal Judo! What could this mean? Of course I know that the context of the saying means exaclty as Rory has described it...Asking, advising, ordering; persuasion. That is the verbal alright. But what about the judo?
I love that phrase.
It makes perfect sense that in order to be proficient in "verbal judo" as in martial judo you must practice verbal randori. However before you can practice, you must learn the basics. A while ago, when I first took over this forum, I suggested that we make a VSD kihon. We got some good suggetsions however it never materalized. Rory and I tossed around some comments and catch phrases that we could start with, but the thread died soon after.
I practice verbal judo in my dojo with my junior students. They react the same way that they do when learning martial judo. They giggle and laugh their way through the verbal randori. Some of the comments and phrases they use can be hilarious at times and some are downright silly, and no sir, we do NOT allow them to use swear words.
We give them a situation that they can role play. Person A has done something to cause person B to become enraged. Person B confronts person A with a verbal barrage. It is Person A responsibility to de-escallate the situation by verbal means only.
I never thought about this drill as verbal judo or verbal randori. However, after reading Rory's description of level II in his Force Continuum Model, I am assured that it is exactly what it is.
We should be doing more of this in the dojo with our adult students as well.