Interview With Doc Thompson Verbal Judo

Here is an short interview I did with Doc Thompson, the originator of Verbal Judo, back a few years ago. Little did i know he was going into hospital a little while afterwards, and sadly for us it was a one way trip.

 

Lucky I grabbed him at the end of the Verbal Judo course in New York, at the Syracuse Police Department. At the end of the course we sat down for a few minutes as the class room emptied, discussed the future of effective communication verbal judo and the potential reach into other areas of life aside form the Law Enforcement domain.

Verbal Judo – Doc Thompson – Interview

Here is an short interview I did with George Thompson (better known as ‘Doc Thompson’), the originator of Verbal Judo, back a few years ago. Little did i know he was going into hospital a little while afterwards, and sadly for us it was a one way trip. He passed away June 7, 2011.

Lucky I grabbed him at the end of the Verbal Judo course in New York, at the Syracuse Police Department. At the end of the course we sat down for a few minutes as the class room emptied, discussed the future of effective communication verbal judo and the potential reach into other areas of life aside form the Law Enforcement domain.

Kriton

Hi Doc, thanks for this catch up at the end of a great five days here in Syracuse, New York, USA.

George

OK Aussie Dawg, (thats me) what you got there?

Kriton

There are some great principles that make up the back bone of the Verbal Judo appraoch, you shared these 5 universal truths.

1) People feel the need to be respected

2) People would rather be asked than be told

3) People have a desire to know why

4) People prefer to have options over threats

5) People want to have a second chance

these fundamentals while obvious, were eye opening me. To see a well presented sequential ancient approach proven on todays streets. Its there for us to use but as you say you the socratic method, and thats been around for a while …. is just not applied much these days. So I was thinking that theres got to be plenty of scope for this type of approach outside of Law Enforcement.

George

…………….. oh these principals are exactly for every day life, at home, at school, at the office…. everywhere. I have examples of these in my books where i talk about Tactical Civility and you heard me go on about this in class. This the most powerful way to interact with others. So lets look at this closely, Civility is the quality of showing courtesy, it’s the opposite of being discourteous, and it is Tactical because we choose to use it for a determined purpose.

Kriton

Some times we can get blind sided by fierce direct vulgar language, can you recap on some ideas to deal with this. And what about getting mentally prepared for this to happen ……. can we ‘inoculate’ ourselves for this?

George

Oh yes, listen up, take a note, when people attack us with vulgarity, they expect it will work—they expect to off balance and suck us into their dynamics of victor – victim. It is a street tactic designed to elicit a anticipated response. It is seen often and while we may be initially surprised, we know its going to happen. So be prepared.

But, when faced with this verbal assault, this is exactly the time when we become professionally “nice”. not because we are weak but because we are making our court video as we go. and it is good for us.

We know the perpetrator is trying to control us and illicit a known response, so we do the opposite of what they expect. We grow calm inside, and become verbally polite. I am polite to you because it is good for me, good for me at the moment for my safety, and good for me later, especially in court or when call in a complaint. Really important to use words that will support you both now and later!

Importantly employing civility allows us to get physically closer to the aggressor should we need to use physical force of some sort. Generally its the rudeness and threats that make people back up and become defensive. Remember, civility disguises movement, allowing us to take a tactical position without seeming to.

To be under estimated is often a good tactical advantage. Let the other be surprised!

Again remember that maintaining a polite demeanour keep us focused on the goal—winning—and prevents us from uttering words that will escalate the situation and draw us into the cycle of anger.

Kriton

thanks Doc, I have a more questions and look forward to keeping the link alive. Again thanks for the past week, you have a nice bunch of participants here and its been a great experience.

George

Ok Aussie Dawg, remember that together we can move mountains!

heres to continued good health and have fun! Life is short!

PS

With that, and those last words, George grabbed his bag, looked at his partner Pam and they walked out of the room together. I grabbed my papers put them in the folder headed outside past the police cars on the way to the hotel not realising that it was to be the last time I saw Doc……and that lesson of impermanence is one I keep learning.

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