Re: Verbal Aikido
As an aikidoka and a student of speech/communication, this topic is of special interest to me. there is a lot to say, but to contribute a small item:
I am always intrigued to try out and observe the effects of injecting humor into any argumentative interaction.
O-sensei is said to have always stressed the importance of training with a joyful spirit--one that is fundamentally loving and happy to be on the mat sharing the experience with others.
I have found that in the midst of a verbal conflict, no matter what degree of seriousness is present, injecting a spirit of humor and "jollyness" does extremely well in dispelling the tension within the interaction.
There is great satisfaction to be had in reaching a level of awarness within interactions that allows one to percieve the direction and tone of the conversation, and to be able to consciously inject a light-hearted, witty, or humorously odd communication that has the effect of "jarring" people out of attack mode, and redirecting the situation back into one of respect.
I have done and seen this happen, and it is awesome.