Here’s a great video that I found of Dan Inosanto’s earliest students, Tim Tackett, talking about ‘verbal jiu-jitsu’ at Erik Paulson’s gym in California.
That might sound boring but it’s super-crazy important stuff!!
He starts out by telling the story of how an acquaintance of his spent 6 years in jail for throwing a single punch. That punch knocked his opponent out, who then fell, split his head open on a concrete planter, and then died (we also discussed this issue in the Death After the Knockout article on this site).
The point is that having the verbal skills to avoid a fight are just as important as the physical skills to win a fight.
And then he gives 3 great examples of exactly what to say if it looks like a fight seems inevitable. Memorise these phrases so you can spit them out verbatim at the drop of a hat and/or modify them to fit your exact circumstance.
Here’s the 2:17 video…
You should watch the video, because of course it’s not just the words he says; it’s his tone of voice and body language that convey the real message.
But for your reference, the 3 examples of verbal de-escalation that Tim provides go like this…
Potential Opponent: “What the hell are you looking at?”
You: “That shirt man, that’s a really cool shirt? Where did you get that?”
Potential Opponent: “What’s your problem?!?!?”
You: “My dad died last night and I just came in here to have a drink.”
Potential Opponent: “
Potential Opponent: “Are you looking at my girl??!?”
You: “Is her name Madeline because she sure looks like Madeline? Is she your girlfriend? Look, let me buy you a drink!”
Just as it’s worth perfecting your right cross and your rear naked choke, it’s also totally worthwhile putting some time in practising your verbal defusing skills.
Your verbal jiu-jitsu techniques can keep you out of trouble, out of fights, and out of jail, so drill them!