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Old 11-05-2008, 10:58 PM   #1
FightFireWithPeace
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Verbal Aikido

During my very first class I was introduced to yokemenuchi. To explain yokemenuchi to me sensei used the example of two swordsmen simultaneously attacking each other with a shomenuchi strike, resulting in a double kill. A double loss if you will.
I've noticed this same scenario verbally. Two people will argue and swear to get nowhere. Just blunt actions that result in a double loss.

Would any of you like to share your pearls of wisdom on verbal aikido?
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Old 11-06-2008, 10:01 AM   #2
SeiserL
 
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Re: Verbal Aikido

IMHO, enter and blend (listen first), keep your own center (don't take it personally), connect to their center (see their positive intent), and extend ki (your own positive intention).

Lynn Seiser PhD
Yondan Aikido & FMA/JKD
We do not rise to the level of our expectations, but fall to the level of our training. Train well. KWATZ!
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Old 11-06-2008, 10:59 AM   #3
John Matsushima
 
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Re: Verbal Aikido

I think this way especially when I have discussions with my wife. I try never to attack, and I know if I try to fight with her, no matter what the outcome, I will lose in the end. I have learned that there is no such thing as "winning" when it comes to arguing with someone you love. Therefore, I don't use any strategy, I have no intention of defeating her, and yet I am not just passively agreeing with her just to make peace. Even though she may attack me or use sharp words, I still can't look at her as my enemy. On the rare occasion that I am actually right about something, I know that I still must use all my power not to hurt her. Mutual prosperity is the way.

-John Matsushima

My blog on Japanese culture
http://onecorneroftheplanetinjapan.blogspot.jp/
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Old 11-06-2008, 11:43 AM   #4
SteveTrinkle
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Re: Verbal Aikido

Well, I don't know about "pearls of wisdom," but when I was a young, beginning therapist, I had to facilitate a DUI (Driving Under the Influence) group. I dreaded this group. All the guys there were angry about having to be there and suspicious of me. And I was insecure and just learning the craft. Every time a new group began their 8 week course, they always challenged me - what was the basis of my authority, my skills, etc. and I always fell into the trap of trying to justify myself, explain my background, training etc. and, of course it never worked and I always "lost." It was miserable. During this time (around 1994) I returned to aikido and began training in earnest and certain ideas seemed to be more clear to me. I'd been training for about 6 months or so and a new DUI group started. At some point in the first session, the leader of the pack challenged me as usual. "Who the hell are you and why should I listen to anything you have to say?!" All the other guys in the group kind of leaned forward to enjoy the show and suddenly I thought about aikido. I leaned back and said something along the lines of, "Wow, I think it's great that you're the only guy in this whole group with the guts and intelligence to ask the most basic question of all. None of these other guys even thought of asking me that. 'Who am I and why should you trust me?' Of course I would never try to answer that question for you guys and I won't disrespect you all by trying, because I know you'll decide for yourselves if I'm worth trusting or not, but that's the best question anyone as brought up the whole evening, thanks." The rest of the group looked stunned and the guy himself kind of blinked a couple times and sat quietly with his mouth open for a bit. From there, the discussion moved on to what does it take to trust others, how will you know if the group is at all useful, etc. Somehow that moment changed the whole experience for all of us and I never had a problem with those groups again. I had been trying to control/force their thoughts, feelings, & experience rather than enter and "move together." All in all, a really big eye-opener for me.

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Old 11-06-2008, 03:41 PM   #5
bdwilliamscraig
 
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Re: Verbal Aikido

Pearls? Probably not. How about ball-bearings?

Particularly when working with and swapping "growing edge" stories with Nonviolent Communication (NVC) practitioners, it becomes clear to me that one of the most difficult transitions as a facilitator is into the martial habit of automatically seeing high-energy interaction as training, rather than noticing in retrospect that all the Old Habits rushed to the fore before I got a chance to get my gi on.

I'm aiki and good to go, unless the "attack" catches my in my metaphorical street clothes (business as usual monkeying with my mind).
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Old 11-06-2008, 08:07 PM   #6
Ketsan
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Re: Verbal Aikido

Quote:
Dexter Thomas wrote: View Post
During my very first class I was introduced to yokemenuchi. To explain yokemenuchi to me sensei used the example of two swordsmen simultaneously attacking each other with a shomenuchi strike, resulting in a double kill. A double loss if you will.
I've noticed this same scenario verbally. Two people will argue and swear to get nowhere. Just blunt actions that result in a double loss.

Would any of you like to share your pearls of wisdom on verbal aikido?
A couple of months back I was on a bus and this guy tries to get on without paying and the bus driver catches him. The guy refused to get off the bus and the driver refused to drive until the guy got off.

This quickly degenerated into "I'm going to fucking knock you out" kinda territory. So I went downstairs (I was on the top deck) to have a look, well actually I was giving serious thought to throwing the man off, but it seemed wise to have a look first.
So I positioned myself by the door and looked the guy over, who then turned to me and said "What the fuck do you want?" to which I replied "I've come to see what you do after you've knocked the driver out. Are you any good at driving a bus?"

At that point the stupidity of his threats must have dawned on him because he stopped being aggressive and started pleading his case to me. This didn't last long because he was soon threatening me!
Eventually I persuaded him that he was in a situation he couldn't win, even if he knocked out everyone on the bus, he was still going to be late and the bus driver wasn't going anywhere as long as he was on the bus. He then got off the bus and off went.
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Old 11-07-2008, 10:37 AM   #7
dave9nine
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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.

-dave
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Old 11-07-2008, 10:53 AM   #8
SteveTrinkle
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Re: Verbal Aikido

Quote:
Alex Lawrence wrote: View Post
"I've come to see what you do after you've knocked the driver out. Are you any good at driving a bus?"
That's great!

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Old 11-07-2008, 03:46 PM   #9
Andrew S
 
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Re: Verbal Aikido

My verbal Aikido is 90% atemi...

Warning: Do not bend, fold or otherwise abuse... until we get to the dojo..


合気道研心会 Aikido Kenshinkai
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Old 11-08-2008, 12:13 AM   #10
FightFireWithPeace
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Re: Verbal Aikido

Keep it going guys! I'm glad I made this thread. I'm learning alot. It's nice being new and being able to pick your brains ^___^
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Old 11-10-2008, 12:19 PM   #11
C. David Henderson
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Re: Verbal Aikido

Quote:
Andrew Smallacombe wrote: View Post
My verbal Aikido is 90% atemi...
Bark or bite?
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Old 11-10-2008, 01:29 PM   #12
Andrew S
 
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Re: Verbal Aikido

Quote:
David Henderson wrote: View Post
Bark or bite?
Mostly bark, with enough bite that I usually don't have to resort to using it.

Warning: Do not bend, fold or otherwise abuse... until we get to the dojo..


合気道研心会 Aikido Kenshinkai
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Old 11-10-2008, 03:15 PM   #13
C. David Henderson
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Re: Verbal Aikido

Ah, a well-placed bark can be a thing of beauty, especially a truthful bark.

Resolving conflict through reason, humor, and understanding is also a thing of beauty, but to everything a season and all.

Sometimes lines get missed in conflict, and pointing them out with "verbal atemi" may be necessary and constructive.

Verbally aggressive people in particular usually have favorite ploys to getting their way. They may understand either consciously or tacitly that signals are being sent showing good will, understanding, or even good sense and treat them as weaknesses.

Atemi (bark or bite) can create space for something else to happen, I think.

DH
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Old 11-11-2008, 04:34 AM   #14
Enrique Antonio Reyes
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Thumbs up Re: Verbal Aikido

Quote:
Lynn Seiser wrote: View Post
IMHO, enter and blend (listen first), keep your own center (don't take it personally), connect to their center (see their positive intent), and extend ki (your own positive intention).
Couldn't have said it better
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Old 11-11-2008, 04:04 PM   #15
James Davis
 
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Re: Verbal Aikido

Quote:
Lynn Seiser wrote: View Post
IMHO, enter and blend (listen first), keep your own center (don't take it personally), connect to their center (see their positive intent), and extend ki (your own positive intention).
I would add that one should try to find, and acknowledge, the truth in what they say.

"The only difference between Congress and drunken sailors is that drunken sailors spend their own money." -Tom Feeney, representative from Florida
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Old 11-15-2008, 12:13 PM   #16
Mark Uttech
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Re: Verbal Aikido

Onegaishimasu. I always thought that verbal aikido was to give a slight standing bow and say "Hai."

I gassho,

Mark

- Right combination works wonders -
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Old 11-17-2008, 10:49 PM   #17
Randy Sexton
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Re: Verbal Aikido

As an Emergency Room doctor, I sometimes encournter patients and/or family members that become upset and angry. Before Aikido I tried to be understanding and compassionate but found it was easy to stiffen up and become inflexible but since training in Aikido I have found a better way. Irimi.
As Lynn suggested previously I keep my center and keep the inner pond undisturbed by the turbulence of the incoming storm. Calm and relaxed I can listen without being emotionally ruffled. Then I Irimi. Receive and blend with them redirecting their attack and then if necessary I throw in a little Tenkan!

Doc

"Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will"
Gandhi
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Old 01-02-2009, 07:13 AM   #18
lotta
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Re: Verbal Aikido

Dear Lynn,

I`m impressed about your comment on communication and Aikido!

Do you know/work with Marshall Rosenberg?

Best wishes

Lotta
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Old 01-02-2009, 03:14 PM   #19
SeiserL
 
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Re: Verbal Aikido

Quote:
Brigitte Reinert wrote: View Post
Do you know/work with Marshall Rosenberg?
Not yet.
Thanks for the resource.
I will look into it.

Please say more.

Lynn Seiser PhD
Yondan Aikido & FMA/JKD
We do not rise to the level of our expectations, but fall to the level of our training. Train well. KWATZ!
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Old 02-09-2009, 04:33 AM   #20
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Re: Verbal Aikido

Nothing makes your significant other want to punch you in the nose than using verbal aikido on them in an argument.

If you're hungry, keep moving.
If you're tired, keep moving.
If you value you're life, keep moving.

You don't own what you can't defend
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Old 02-09-2009, 05:36 PM   #21
Carol Shifflett
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Re: Verbal Aikido

Quote:
Dexter Thomas wrote: View Post
During my very first class I was introduced to yokemenuchi. To explain yokemenuchi to me sensei used the example of two swordsmen simultaneously attacking each other with a shomenuchi strike, resulting in a double kill. A double loss if you will.
I've noticed this same scenario verbally. Two people will argue and swear to get nowhere. Just blunt actions that result in a double loss.

Would any of you like to share your pearls of wisdom on verbal aikido?
For actual pearls, I suggest looking over material by Professor Emeritus of Linguistics, Suzette Elgin. You can find excerpts of several of her books online at www.adrr.com/aa/excerpts.html.

For Randy and Emergency Medicine folk, see http://www.adrr.com/aa/new.htm which includes a brilliant presentation of "The Aunt Grace Syndrome."

Elgin wrote an essay on "The Martial Art of Verbal Self-Defense" in "Aikido Exercises for Teaching and Training." Here's an excerpt.

Quote:
Verbal self-defense has an advantage that no physical martial art is blessed with: its core tactics and techniques and strategies, even its principles, are already known by the students. They are included in the grammar of the students' language, already stored in the students' long-term memories. They don't have to be learned the way kicks and holds and throws must be learned. All students must learn is new ways of indexing and organizing those elements plus the strategy of making conscious decisions in verbal conflict just as they would in physical conflict. The basic principles of verbal self-defense are identical to the basic principles used in physical self-defense and in Aikido.

--Know that you are under attack.
--Know what kind of attack you're facing.
--Know how to make your defense fit the attack.
--Know how to follow through.
--Know that anything you feed will grow.

But wouldn't you know if you were under attack? Not necessarily. The attacker may not fit your image of an attacker: a small child, a frail elderly relative, or someone who is ill. The attacker is often someone that you are in a close relationship with. As on the mat, you must judge intensity, strength, the degree of violence that you are actually facing in order to adapt your defense to use just enough force, no more and no less, in response to the attack. Don't go after butterflies with a machine gun.

The Language and Grammar of Verbal Attack

Just as there is an English grammar for questions and commands, there's a grammar for verbal attacks. In English they are not so much in the words as in the music. If you hear language with the abnormal stresses indicated below, you are under attack. But an attack isn't the shouting, curses, or epithets people usually think of. Yelling of garbage is just part of a bigger physical abuse pattern. Verbal Abusers are more subtle. The English verbal attack has a two-part pattern:

--Bait. The part that gets your attention, the part you're expected to fall for (equivalent to a feint or atemi in Aikido), and

--Presupposition. Something that a native speaker knows is part of the meaning of a sequence of words, even if it isn't there on the surface. For example:

Even JOHN could pass THAT class.

As a native speaker of English, you already know that two other sentences are included here. You know that John is no great shakes and that the class isn't worth much either. You don't have to say that "Even John whom everybody knows can hardly reason his way out of a paper bag . . . " The pattern alone says there's something wrong with both John and the class.

A common example of baiting is: "If you REALLY loved me . . ." For example:

If you REALLY loved me, you wouldn't waste MONey the way you do.

Bait: "Wasting money."
Presupposition: "You don't love me."
Response: Ignore the bait.
Respond to the presupposition rather than to the bait as the attacker intends and expects you to do.

When you take the bait, you feed the pattern.
All the stuff we always thought was just random stuff coming at us actually has a very organized, identifiable pattern. Response?

-- Identify the attack via Satir Modes (Blaming, Placating, Distracting, or Computer)

-- Realize that what you feed will grow.

Alex, I think your bus experience was a brilliant example of Miller's Law -- Let's assume that it's True that the guy was going to knock out the bus driver. What situation would this be true of? What would be the result?

I first saw Elgin's books in the late 80's and I can say that they provided brilliant tools for dealing with an abusive fellow who suddenly became amazingly UNscary. It was like watching a balloon deflate. Tools per Elgin were:

-- Recognizing the attack: "Ah! He's using Blaming mode." Ah! He's switched to Distractor Mode!" and

-- Realizing how to NOT feed it, how to recognize my actual goal, and how to control the situation. Verbal Aikido.

For how NOT to do it, I suggest you rent "Tatie Danielle" a French "comedy" in which a truly horrible old woman (who does "not fit your image of an attacker. . . a frail elderly relative, or someone who is ill") who terrorizes her kindly family until she's done in by the irimi of a no-nonsense caretaker. Reminds me of Ellis Amdur's wonderful story in (I think) "Dueling With O'Sensei" in which, faced with a violent opponent they tenkan tenkan tenkan but the apartment manager slices through all that and does a very appropriate and very effective irimi. BLAM!!! Meet Mat.

This is not a trivial issue. Both Elgin and Gavin de Becker ("Gift of Fear") are very clear on this point: Verbal violence is the PRELUDE to physical violence. It may even serve as an "interview," a testing of the waters, to gauge just how successful actual physical violence might be, in muggings, in domestic violence, or as Hirigoyen puts it, in "Stalking the Soul."

Here's how to recognize it for what it is, and how to deal with it.
And, as O-Sensei said, "The Way of the Warrior is to stop trouble before it starts."

Cheers!
Carol Shifflett
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Old 02-15-2009, 06:05 PM   #22
Larry Feldman
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Re: Verbal Aikido

Dexter - The book you should read is:
AIKIDO in Everyday Life Giving in to get your way. By Terry Dobson and Victor Miller.

It was the first published work that I know of on "verbal aikido".
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Old 03-02-2009, 12:34 PM   #23
FightFireWithPeace
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Re: Verbal Aikido

Quote:
Larry Feldman wrote: View Post
Dexter - The book you should read is:
AIKIDO in Everyday Life Giving in to get your way. By Terry Dobson and Victor Miller.

It was the first published work that I know of on "verbal aikido".
Why thank you Sensei ^__^
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Old 03-02-2009, 01:07 PM   #24
Young-In Park
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Re: Verbal Aikido

Quote:
Dexter Thomas wrote: View Post
Two people will argue and swear to get nowhere. Just blunt actions that result in a double loss.

Would any of you like to share your pearls of wisdom on verbal aikido?
Last year, one of my co-worker's clients smeared his own feces on a window. Since we both had recently taken a "Verbal Alternatives" class, I suggested to other employees that my co-worker didn't pay enough attention during training.

When she heard what I was telling other people, she lashed out at me! Her only defense was the pathetic excuse that people who play with their own pooh are too irrational and that verbal alternatives won't work.

Since she was being a total sh_thead about the whole thing, I had to do a little verbal alternatives or verbal aikido or whatever-you-want-to-call-it myself. I calmly told her that I never had to see one of my client's fecal fingerpaintings.

For some strange reason that I don't understand, she thinks I'm a total as_hole.

at least I pay attention in class,
YoungIn Park
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Old 03-13-2009, 02:04 PM   #25
Ellis Amdur
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Re: Verbal Aikido

If this is too much of an advertisement, please cut this post, Jun, but given that I've seen a few other URL which are references to other's work, I thought I would insert my own.
I recently published a trilogy of works which could broadly be subsumed under verbal aikido/de-escalation of aggression. There are two versions: one for social services professionals (not necessarily clinical interventions - most of the info is equally applicable to someone who works in everything from the medical field to a homeless shelter or soup kitchen and the second version of the trilogy is for families who live with an aggressive or mentally ill family member.
I will say that the majority of the information in the books is universally applicable, not just for social services people - particularly the professional version of Centering and about 2/3 of the info in Grace Under Fire
Social Services: http://www.edgework.info/care-action_professionals.html
FAMILIEShttp://www.edgework.info/care-action_families.html

For those who care to visit the website, I am co-writing single volume books on the same subject for police and fire/emergency response respectively. They will each be out sometime in 2009 or 2010.
{And yes, Hidden in Plain Sight - in production as I write}

Best
Ellis Amdur

Last edited by Ellis Amdur : 03-13-2009 at 02:08 PM.

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