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Old 10-11-2002, 02:50 AM   #1
Location: Australia
Join Date: Oct 2002
Posts: 641
Question Verbal Self defence

This one O/T, but considering all the stuff on www.nononsenseselfdefense.com.

Question - is there a preferred method / style / club for learning verbal sd for a self defence situation? I've been checking into Toastmasters and Theatre sports (for general speaking skills etc) - perhaps there's someone who concentrates more specifically on SD? If not, how would you go abt training for verbal SD / de-escalation? What skills would be needed?

Curious minds wanna know
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Old 10-11-2002, 05:32 AM   #2
TomE's Avatar
Location: Belgium (EU)
Join Date: Aug 2002
Posts: 35
Re: Verbal Self defence

There's always the old classic:

Aikido in everyday life

Terry Dobson, Victor Miller.

Berkeley : North Atlantic Books, 1978. - 356 p.: ill.

ISBN 1-5564-3151-1

Other than that, I haven't delved deeply into that particular discipline . Just studying aikido, and other disciplines like zen, taoism, and going to the pub and dealing with people in general should teach you all you need to know and do in such a situation, IMO.

When tempers get heated all around, it's not so much what you say, but how you say it. I mean, when you're going "look, let's all just stay calm and solve this like civilized beings" while at the same time your eyes are darting around looking for the nearest exit, or you're saying it in a very harsh, commanding tone of voice, the effect will be quite the opposite of what you intended... there's no magic formula.

Just stay calm, stay centered, be friendly, open and honestly caring, and clearly show that you want to help work this out in the best possible way - and of course, be ready to pin down the first idiot who doesn't quite get the message

To do is to be. (Nietzsche) ... To be is to do. (Descartes) ... Do be do be do. (Sinatra).
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Old 10-11-2002, 06:03 AM   #3
gasman's Avatar
Dojo: Sunyata
Location: Oslo
Join Date: Aug 2002
Posts: 114
verbal self defense?

i managed to defuse the only real attack made against me by screaming my head off whilst forcefully charging towards the agressor.

didnt even touch the guy, and he was so freaked he was standing in a stupor afterwards.

had to go over and give him a man-hug after
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Old 10-11-2002, 07:06 AM   #4
Jim ashby
Dojo: Phoenix Coventry
Location: Coventry, England
Join Date: Mar 2001
Posts: 303
"Be nice, until it's time not to be nice" Patrick Swayze in Roadhouse.

Have fun.

Vir Obesus Stola Saeptus
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Old 10-11-2002, 07:11 AM   #5
Jonathan Lewis
Location: Boulder, CO
Join Date: Aug 2002
Posts: 34
There is a course called "Verbal Judo" used by many US law enforcement agencies. It's been a while since i was involved in any LEO training so I'm not sure of its current availability but it's something to check out. Both written and video material exist, as well as classes if they are still being run.
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Old 10-11-2002, 11:59 AM   #6
SeiserL's Avatar
Location: Florida Gulf coast
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 3,775
Dobson's book is excellent. I liked Verbal Judo by George Thompson (1984 & 1993). The Gentle Art of Verbal Self Defense by Suzette Haden Elgin (1980, 1983, 1987, & 1989) are also good resources. There are a few sites on deescalation. Remember that enviromental awareness, posturing & positioning (not in a fear response), and good manners is always the first line of self-defense.

Since this is an Aikido forum, always first blend and try to see the other side. Listen first.

Until again,


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 10-12-2002, 08:16 AM   #7
PhilJ's Avatar
Dojo: Aikido Bukou
Join Date: Sep 2002
Posts: 240
I will be the third to heartily recommend Mr. Dobson's book. It is an excellent resource and is quite thought-provoking if you let it.

I think O'Sensei's angle on verbal self-defense was simply 'shodo o seisu', controlling the first move. You can use your voice, among other things, to attempt to control a situation before/as it happens ("kiai" is a great example).

Anything that reinforces establishing control would likely be a good complement to your aikido training. I tend to enjoy this piece of the puzzle myself, since talking is so damn easy.

Phillip Johnson
Enso Aikido Dojo, Burnsville, MN
An Aikido Bukou Dojo
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