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Old 12-29-2004, 01:55 PM   #1
ErinC
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Diffusing a fight?

This question is related to aikido, hmm, a bit I suppose, but I'm bringing this to you all in the hopes that you might have some resource suggestions for me.

For background: I'm working on a quarterly newsletter which is geared toward college undergrads. The focus for the next issue is on physical fights which occur between people when under the influence of alcohol...

My question to you folks is this:

Do you know of any on-line resources (that is, cite-able resources) which may have suggestions regarding how friends can help to effectively diffuse a potentially violent situation such as the one I mention above? I've done my fair share of searching around, but thought some of you might be able to point me in a good direction.

Thanks for any suggestions you may have!
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Old 12-29-2004, 02:06 PM   #2
Janet Rosen
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Re: Diffusing a fight?

Defusing or de-escalating is often easy if one of the parties is not drunk....
This is going to sound silly...but it is part of an anti-gun/antiviolence program in elementary schools in San Francisco (where guns and gangs are already way of life sadly): if you see a situation getting out of hand, say "I'm going for ice cream!" and quickly leave. If a friend is with you/at risk, clap hand to his shoulder and walk him away. It is notthreatening, does not address the gun or the "issues", and gives one an excuse for the walkout. If friends practice ahead of time, it is less silly AND it becomes a recognized code for "danger! time to walk!"
In my own experience, I've never used that line (grin) but having one simple declarative sentence that is non-confrontative and is repeated as a mantra, has served me well.

Janet Rosen
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"peace will enter when hate is gone"--percy mayfield
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Old 12-29-2004, 02:16 PM   #3
ErinC
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Re: Diffusing a fight?

Thanks, Janet!

And, for simplicity's sake, I'll revise my question to (also) be:

How can one go about diffusing a physical fight that's about to break out between friends? Let's say alcohol is not necessarily part of this scenario.

Again, any specific resources you can point me toward would be great.

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Old 12-29-2004, 03:30 PM   #4
shift99
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Re: Diffusing a fight?

I've been curious about this as well. Not so much from the point of preventing a *physical* confrontation, but more about dealing with angry, aggressive people, etc.

There is a book in the review section of aikiweb called, "Aikido in Everyday Life". Might be worth looking into. (?)

-me
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Old 12-29-2004, 04:00 PM   #5
Michael Hackett
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Re: Diffusing a fight?

Check out the several books on "Verbal Judo". The concepts are currently being taught to law enforcement officers for the very purpose you're looking into.

Michael
"Leave the gun. Bring the cannoli."
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Old 12-29-2004, 08:10 PM   #6
Michael Hackett
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Re: Diffusing a fight?

Look at www.verbaljudo.com That's the website behind the training and books. It may be what you're looking for.

Michael
"Leave the gun. Bring the cannoli."
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Old 12-29-2004, 08:20 PM   #7
PeterR
 
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Re: Diffusing a fight?

Cold water usually does the trick.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 12-29-2004, 11:17 PM   #8
bob_stra
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Re: Diffusing a fight?

Quote:
Erin Cunningham wrote:

Do you know of any on-line resources (that is, cite-able resources) which may have suggestions regarding how friends can help to effectively diffuse a potentially violent situation such as the one I mention above?
Search through the articles / links here -

http://www.nononsenseselfdefense.com/site_map.html

and here -

http://www.geoffthompson.com/

You may need to dig around a bit, however both sites have 'ask the experts forums'.

You might also turn up something good by running a google search on "Verbal De-escalation".

Finally, the book "People Skills" (Bolton) and "Influence" (? Cialdini) have plenty of academic info / practical exercises on how to persuade people. Be aware though, these deal with different scenarios than the usual "drunken frat boy". I mention them for the sake of completeness.

PS: Go down to you local library and take a look at the last few issues of Black Belt magazine. While most think BB is the tabloid mag for martial arts, occassionally they have some good stuff in there. This tiopic is bound to have been covered recently
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Old 12-29-2004, 11:25 PM   #9
JayRhone
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Re: Diffusing a fight?

Quote:
There is a book in the review section of aikiweb called, "Aikido in Everyday Life". Might be worth looking into. (?)
I own and have read and reread this book many times. I think it would help greatly. -Jay

Be the water, not the rock
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Old 12-30-2004, 08:20 AM   #10
ErinC
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Re: Diffusing a fight?

Thanks! I'll give these resources a go ...
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Old 01-04-2005, 08:46 AM   #11
ErinC
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Re: Diffusing a fight?

Thanks again for the Web sites offered above (my most convenient research tool for this work-based project). I'm reviewing them and am sure they will prove useful.

Also, I want to revisit my original question with some clarification - if two people are about to get into a fight and one or both are intoxicated, it seems that it is generally advisable for a third party/friend who might want to intervene to simply walk away (out of concern for his/her own safety). However, IS there a safe way to intervene in this case? Especially if it's in those first few moments before the anger becomes a physical altercation? It seems there would need to be another element in addition to verbal de-escalation, when the party-to-be-reasoned-with is drunk ...

I hope this makes sense. Again, any and all thoughts on this will be oh so helpful.

Thanks, Aikido community!
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Old 01-04-2005, 10:05 AM   #12
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Re: Diffusing a fight?

Erin,

Speaking from experience, as I've broken up many potential fights, I can tell you one thing for sure: Drunks like to be RIGHT... and to WIN.

So, what you do is you let them.

You know and I know and everyone standing around knows that the drunk is being stupid. That's not the point. He wants to win a fight and be acknowledged for being right. SO, you calmly and cooly... VERY COOLY explain to the guy," Hey... you know something? You're right! This guy (the sober one) is a jerk (or whatever) and I KNOW you can kick his butt! TOTALLY! Look at him! He's gonna mess his pants! BUT, if you do kick his butt, then cops show up and ya go to jail and everyone is gonna take the side of the loser (again, the sober guy) because he's such a wimp... let him go this time. Be the Man!"

This or similar speeches have defused many a drunk for me. Notice the "Blending" with the opponent there? It's an thing.

PS: I wish I could give you a reference for my experience, but I can't. Just personal experience. You have to be confident in your stance. You have to be convincing and NOT condecending to the drunk. You have to make sure the sober guy keeps his mouth shut and doesn't want a fight just as much as the drunk... but even so, you turn around and do the same thing to him: Make him right and make him understand he's already won.

In the words of my favorite action hero: The Terminator, "Basic Psychology is a part of programing."

Last edited by John Boswell : 01-04-2005 at 10:10 AM.

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Old 01-04-2005, 12:24 PM   #13
Janet Rosen
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Re: Diffusing a fight?

I used to break up incipient fights as part of a street patrol. I was at the time 19, 20 yrs old, 5 ft 2" female. Sometimes I'd literally jump in between 2 drunks who were just facing off--still at the point of words and maybe some posturing--and the shock of a small woman appearing out of nowhere was a start (smile). Often a clear verbal reminder that the outside world exists seems to suffice--a little reality checking like "you don't want to do this because the cops are looking for an excuse to mess with folks on Haight Street" or "why don't you take it down the road until you cool off" would do it. Like John said, agreeing is a good tactic, and refusing to get into the specifics of the arguement is ESSENTIAL. The merits have nothing to do with it, the result of fighting is all.

Janet Rosen
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Old 01-04-2005, 05:53 PM   #14
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Re: Diffusing a fight?

Just some observations:

As 1 half of the impending fight:
"Sorry mate. My fault." (tenkan) goes a long way to avoid a lot of fights, as does "Having a good night?" (irimi) or "Let's get a drink. My shout."
Or a combination.
Distraction, get them chatting about positive things.
Usually people are decent & you might have caught them at the wrong time.

As the thrid party:
Similar rules to above.
Apologise for your friend being a bit of a dropkick, ask him how his night's going, comment on how many hot girls are around. Distract him, give reasons to do something other than get in a fight with your mate.
Shout him a drink. People who are drunk usually like another drink. Make sure he comes with you though, away from your mate.
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Old 01-05-2005, 04:32 AM   #15
eyrie
 
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Re: Diffusing a fight?

Quote:
Michael Hackett wrote:
Check out the several books on "Verbal Judo". The concepts are currently being taught to law enforcement officers for the very purpose you're looking into.
Also check out Thomas Crum's book "The Magic of Conflict". Thomas Crum is an aikido practitioner. I used to own this book, but I loaned it to my Sensei who passed on, and never got it back.

Ignatius
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Old 01-05-2005, 07:46 AM   #16
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Re: Diffusing a fight?

Do a search on violence deescalation. used to be a lot of material avaialble.

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 01-06-2005, 09:44 AM   #17
ian
 
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Re: Diffusing a fight?

Could you post a copy of this article when it's done?

Thanks,
Ian
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