Words As A Force Option: Part II – Tim Boehlert

“People never forget verbal abuse. It sinks deeper and festers longer than any other kind of abuse.” 

 “Words cut deeper and their wounds fester longer than traumas of the sword.”

Dr. George J. Thompson, Verbal Judo: The Gentle Art of Persuasion

My favorite Doc admission was that he was his own best student. Doc used his background and his training in rhetoric and martial arts to create a lasting legacy that we can all benefit from – who hasn’t been baited and taken the hook for a personal criticism, and then lashed out defensively without thinking? One of Doc’s great tools is learning how to deflect the negativity – his samurai depiction of moving the head to avoid the spear. You truly CAN do better. We all can.

 “The choices you make while attempting clear communication can be the difference between having an average/typical evening and one that ends in the arrest of a person for taking umbrage with your message using less skillful methods.”

i.e. he pulled a knife after I asked him to leave!

 Yes, it actually happened something like that.

‘On Ko Chi Shin’ = Study the old, understand the new. Something that Doc brought to the fore when developing his Verbal Judo program. Doc referenced from his Martial Arts training to Jigoro Kano, and Japanese Samurai wisdom to correlate what he was trying to do with words with what the Martial Artists did with their physical force OR wisdom. Judo was developed by Jigoro Kano after he learned more about body mechanics and physics – to move the immovable more easily. Ju – Gentle, Do – way. Truly studying from the old to understand the new – using words to move the unwilling to do what you want them to, without use of physical force.

Doc’s inspiration to name his ‘system’ Verbal Judo was Jigoro Kano, the founder of Judo. Doc pulled many ideas from his Martial Arts experience to formulate his own maxims based on his knowledge of Judo techniques and the maxims of Jigoro Kano. Doc cites many references to this in his second book on Verbal Judo: Redirecting Behavior With Words.

Doc has been very active over the last few weeks -nudging me in a few new directions!

I’ve been doing some spending and research based on things Doc wrote in his second VJ book about the origins of VJ and the correlation between the verbal aspects and the physical techniques of Jigoro Kano. To better understand Doc’s intentions, I have to fully understand the connections to specific Jigoro Kano Maxims and techniques that Doc names and describes in the book. Trying to run down Doc’s reference to Jigoro Kano’s study at Oxford whereby he studied muscles and bones and determined that he needed to change some of his techniques based on his newfound knowledge of physiology.”

“Using verbal commands to aid in getting a situation under control can’t be underestimated – you have to tell them what you need in order for them to comply. One person should be doing the communicating. It needs to be slow, concise, and deliberate. Sometimes they fight back as their survival instinct has kicked in – they may be fighting to ‘stay alive’ only, and not fighting ‘you.’ They may be fighting your actions to control them – YOU need to make that distinction, it’s YOUR job to do that.

Don’t take the actions personally. Treat it as a negotiation. Put it in context – it may be more than you counted on or outside your experience. It could be drugs, mental health issues, MR or Autism that you are seeing and dealing with. Don’t assume anything. Be the professional, and continually re-assess your actions. To get compliance sometimes you just need to explain your actions while you’re engaging them physically to get that. Your goal is to do so with minimal damage. Explaining yourself to them may make ALL of the difference. Use your Verbal Judo knowledge and skills to get that result – safely, and compassionately. Review often. Improve your skills continually.

Here are some sagely words to live by, as outlined in Doc’s 16 Maxims from his second Verbal Judo book, ‘Verbal Judo: Redirecting Behavior With Words’:

 MAXIM #1: “Move confrontations away from conclusions back to the reasoning process.”

 MAXIM #2: “Help them seek new approaches rather than argue about the right answer. Never debate any point that can be resolved by examining the facts.”

 MAXIM #3: “Motivate others by raising their expectations of themselves.”

 MAXIM #4: “Seek what they do well, help them define their own self-worth.”

 MAXIM #5: “Persuade others with their energy.”

 MAXIM #6: “Learn what is in their best interests. Persuade them through an appeal to that interest.”

MAXIM #7:  Direct others rather than control them.”

 MAXIM #8: “Recognize their need for independence. Assume responsibility for their doing well, not for doing their job.”

 MAXIM #9: “Give way in order to control.”

 MAXIM #10: “Seek a middle position that will satisfy their needs and your limits. Insist on discussing principles, not personal preferences.”

MAXIM #11: “Embrace frustration with empathy.”

MAXIM #12: “Always harmonize with their pain. Lead them though their distress with reason.”

MAXIM #13: “Overcome hard with soft.”

MAXIM #14: “Ignore the impact of their insults. Enforce the authority of the institution, not the power of your anger.”

MAXIM #15: “Be disinterested when you punish.”

MAXIM #16: “When you punish for clearly defined rules violations, set aside personal indignation. Respect the authority that empowers you to discipline.”

 There is a lot to be learnt from these Maxims!  And I’ll leave you with: ‘11 Things You Should Never Say‘:

  •  01) “Come Here!”
  •  02) “You wouldn’t understand.”
  •  03) “Because those are the rules.”
  •  04) “It’s none of your business.”
  •  05) “What do you want me to do about it?”
  •  06) “Calm Down!”
  •  07) “What’s YOUR problem?”
  •  08) “You never…” or “You always…”
  •  09) “I’m not going to say this again!”
  •  10) “I’m doing this for your own good.”
  •  11) “Why don’t you be reasonable?”

“The goal of education is to expand the mind. A person’s mind cannot be expanded unless he or she is motivated. There are many ways to motivate a person, but there is only one underlying principle: raise expectations.”

“And with thanks to my family, who might have wished I had been a quicker learner.”

Dr. George J. Thompson

 Other resources:

Corrections One: http://www.correctionsone.com/writers/columnists/George-Thompson/

 Dr. George J. Thompson on FaceBook https://www.facebook.com/pages/Dr-George-J-Thompson/261812673873736



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