How many fights have any of us ever been in? And how often? I can count on one hand the number of times I have used physical force - just ask me about the Ritz-Carlton bar fight. I cannot, however, count how many fights I have not been in - countless. Why? Simple - I usually talked my way out of it.
|Dr. George Thompson and Capt. Gary Klugiewicz (Ret.)|
The video above was one of many, illustrating the idea that our words can either be a stitch in a bulletproof vest or a nail in our coffin. The scruffy man was a cop killer, just arrested, and many might have treated him with disdain, venting their anger and emotions; had the detective done that, no one might have thought twice about it. But, because the detective followed Thompson's 'First Universal Truth' - "Everyone wants to be treated with dignity and respect," he didn't arm the scruffy man with a reason to kill him.
Thompson, a long-time martial artist, describes VJ as a 'martial art of the mind.' And he's right - VJ's principles are psychologically based on observation of the human condition and designed to teach one how to take advantage of another's verbal aggression, tip them off balance, and gain control. He speaks about letting go of one's ego, maintaining our temper, focusing only on another's behavior, letting their angry words slide off us like water on a duck's back. Thompson cleverly reconciles his years of police work with Aristotelian models of rhetorical persuasion and lays it all out in clear form. He even jokingly turns a personal kiai into a summary acronym - WOOSHA! (Win Only On Secret Hidden Agendas).
|With my Resolution Group International collegue Craig Gray|
Thompson himself is called in to negotiate with an unstable father holding a knife to the throat of his three year old. Throughout their conversation, Thompson searches the father's words for the key to use against him. When the father says he does not want to kill his son, but has to because he is possessed by the devil, Thompson convinces the man to allow a priest to perform an exorcism. It works - the father releases the boy, is taken into custody, and lives are saved - the boy from his father, the father from police snipers.
Like 'Taisabaki' maneuvers the body, TacComm is 'Kotoba o sabaku,' maneuvering with our words. As 98% of all conflict is verbal, we should remember Taijutsu is not simply a physical art.