Words As A Force Option – A TWO-PART Article – PART 2

Words As A Force Option: Part II

“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.”  tb 082814

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.”
tb 030215
“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
tb 061815
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
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
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! They are things to do, here are things not to
do: ’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?”
Finally I leave you with a quote from the father of Verbal Judo, they need no explanation in
a magazine like this where learning throughout life is valued so highly.

“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.”
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


©Copyright 2015, tb

Words As A Force Option – A TWO-PART Article – PART 1

Words As A Force Option Part I

“After thirty-five years of using both physical karate and Verbal Karate
professionally, I can tell you the latter never once helped me. And I was an expert at
it. In fact, Verbal Karate burned more bridges, alienated more people, and lost more
opportunities for me than anything else I can think of.”

“In the professional realm, Verbal Karate is the unprofessional use of language,
because you?re using words to express your personal feelings.”

“Whenever you use in a harmful, destructive way those words that rise readily to your
lips, you have employed the easiest use of language: Verbal Karate.”
Dr. George J. Thompson, ‘Verbal Judo: The Gentle Art of Persuasion’

I’d like to introduce CRGI members and its readership to the late Dr.George Thompson,
aka ‘Doc Rhino’ via an obituary:

JUN, 2011
AUBURN, N.Y.  Dr. George Thompson, the English professor-turned-street-cop who
ultimately taught one million professionals the art of verbally redirecting negative
behavior, passed away June 7 at his home in Auburn, New York. He was 69.
Doc Thompson contributed columns for many years for both CorrectionsOne.com and
PoliceOne.com, beginning in 2005. He helped our community examine how conscious
communication impacts the job. He regularly contributed tactical tips, too, and had us
thinking about human interaction as a tool for police.

Dr. Thompson was affectionally called “Doc” by the professionals he trained in his
methodology of Verbal Judo. To develop his tactics, he would watch police officers
participate in real-time crisis situations and observe strategies for talking down

Using what he observed from the “salty old dogs,” as he liked to call the LEOs, he
assembled a legion of global trainers who brought the lessons to police forces. He
trained departments large and small, including the NYPD and LAPD. He also worked with
the Federal Bureau of Prisons.

Private enterprises outside of law enforcement have been trained in his methodology,
too, in order to protect employees from verbal assault and physical violence. Verbal
conflict mitigation can be applied to harassment and bullying in general as well as
the issues that are more specific to police.

Dr. Thompson held a B.A. from Colgate University and a Master?s and Doctorate in
English from the University of Connecticut. He completed post-doctoral work at
Princeton University in Rhetoric and Persuasion and went on to author four books, also
publishing work that appears in magazines and periodicals. Major networks like 48
Hours and Inside Edition have reported on his training techniques.

Doc often called his communications strategy “martial art of the mind and mouth,” and
was a fan of martial arts himself. He achieved a 2nd Dan in Judo.

Doc Thompson survived throat cancer for many years, and staunchly committed himself to
a busy speaking and training schedule despite his condition, which reduced his ability
to speak for extended periods of time.

He had recently received treatment to enhance his breathing, and he passed away
unexpectedly. Doc?s family includes his wife, Pam, their nine-year-old son Tommy Rhyno
Thompson, two adult children, Kelley (Ronald) Monach and Taylor (Valerie) Thompson,
and five grandchildren.
source: correctionsone.com


Doc’s very first book in a series of four is titled: ‘Verbal Judo: Words As A Force Option.’
When Doc personalized my copy, he quipped “This started it all!” Doc loved rhetoric.

Rhetoric: Rhetoric is the art of discourse, an art that aims to improve the capability of
writers or speakers to inform, persuade, or motivate particular audiences in specific
source: wikipedia
Indeed. It started a revolution in Police Tactical Training. Using words instead of or in
conjunction with using force. Doc didn’t invent this stuff – Police Officers have used this
stuff for years. Doc admits that his FTO/partner, Bruce Fair, was the one that got him to

My first introduction to Doc’s calling was ‘Verbal Judo: The Gentle Art of Persuasion.’ In it,
I got to ‘know’ Doc. He had an easy style of writing, and didn’t want his work to just be
perceived as ‘cop stories.’ Indeed, they are good cop stories, but with a very imaginative
message ? to teach others how to talk to people in crisis.

The first image I recall seeing of Doc, is one where I was reminded of Telly Savalas, minus
the sucker ? bald, bold, and silent. Through his cop stories, I gleaned an insight into some
very interesting strategy. In the movie Fort Apache: The Bronx, Paul Newman portrays a
Police Officer. In one scene, the responds to a call ‘man with a knife’. He cocks his hat
askew, walks up to the confused man while acting ‘crazy.’ Mr. Newman’s performance stops
the actions of this man, who now has is trying to figure out what is going on. This is an
example of exactly what Mr. Fair does during one story. Mr. Fair used an very unusual tactic
to de-escalate two parties during a domestic disturbance call.

In his Chiron Training series, Rory Miller does something similar. He de-escalates an irate
inmate by using an unusual strategy. This strategy got me to thinking differently about a
career that I had been thrust into with no training.

During his research, and over the course of many years, Doc finely honed his ‘program’ and
took it to the streets for validation and correction. His Verbal Judo was then taken to the
seminar circuit, where again it was refined. It became incorporated into many local
academies. Why? Because it works. It’s fairly easy to pickup, and even makeup – it’s not
that regimented, and it does encourage personal growth. You can make VJ your very own
tool, as I have. Yes there can be a learning curve, but you have the opportunities before
you to use it – evert, single, day.

We get so caught up in being ‘me’ that we often forget that it’s not always about ‘me.’ If
you are trying to be a part of the solution, you need to let your ego go and really try to be
just that. Using words as a force option is also about using silence – yours.

“You can do better!” Dr. George J. Thompson

You CAN do better. It takes a lot of conscientious work to get there. And that means:
1) Jettison your own ego.
MAXIM # 15: “Be disinterested when you punish.”
2) Become a better listener.
“Here then is the powerful sentence that will allow you to interrupt anyone without
fear of bodily harm: ?Let me be sure I heard what you just said.?
Dr. George J. Thompson, ‘Verbal Judo: The Gentle Art of Persuasion’
3) Remove your emotion from the equation.
MAXIM # 16: “When you punish for clearly defined rules violations, set aside personal
indignation. Respect the authority that empowers you to discipline.”
4) Respond, don’t react.

“Verbal Judo will teach you to respond – not react – to situations.”

“When you react, you?re being controlled by the situation. When you respond, you?re
dealing with it.”
Dr. George J. Thompson, Verbal Judo: The Gentle Art of Persuasion
In Part II I’ll share some of Doc’s sagely advice – his 16 Maxims, and 11 Things You Should
Never Say!


© Copyright 2015, tb