June 11, 2011

Thompson's Rhetorica

"Any bias you show will be used as a weapon against you."

"Never start 'negative music.' It cancels intel."

"Practice 'Tactical Civility.'"


"You can never change attitude at the moment it is being given."

"Let a man's attitude drift like a boat downstream - judge them by their behavior."

"Deal with attitude when it is not an issue."

"Know your weaknesses."

A 'mushin' riddle: "There is a man at home. He is wearing a mask. Another man is coming home."

Street Truth: "People never say what they mean, especially when they're upset."

"Empathy absoarbs tension."

"Be inspired by everything you teach." (It will keep you teaching.)

"The body cannot lie."

"Thank god for the woman who throws plates when she's mad at you - she's still in love."

The master of Verbal Judo, its originator, its founder, Dr. George "Doc" Thompson, has died. Doc was 69. His death unexpected.

He was the English professor turned street cop, a PhD, who over the course of several decades, taught one million professionals his matrix of redirecting negative behavior through persuasion. It was Thompson's take on Aristotle's Rhetorica. Although it would be impossible to survey, it is probably true the teaching and use of Verbal Judo has protected countless people and saved countless lives.

If you know nothing of VJ, do yourself a favor and at the very least buy the book, "Verbal Judo: The Gentle Art of Persuasion." You may find several uncanny correlations to training.

I certainly didn't know Doc well, but what I did know of him, I liked. It was hard not to. I had only just gotten to know him, recently taking part in a VJ cert last March. He was gregarious, bigger than life in a way; he could walk into a room and own it by sheer personality alone. A bear of a man and probably a genius on some level, he treated me like a peer when we first met even though I wasn't. That was Doc. He was that guy - a man you wanted to know. He will be sorely missed by his family, his friends, colleagues, and those who took part in his training.

Doc Thompson and those like him (although there are probably few with his kind of influence) are fascinating people, illuminating us through hard-wrought experience an anti-intuitive perspective that reliably makes the world a better, safer place. Doc's vision was clear, so is his message - save lives and get home safe. His training reflected that and people responded in droves; one million professionals taught - think about that!

"Out of every one hundred men, ten shouldn't even be there, eighty are just targets, nine are the real fighters, and we are lucky to have them, for they make the battle. Ah, but the one, one is a warrior, and he will bring the others back."

Doc was arguably that one bringing the others home.

Thank you, Doc.