Verbal Self Defense

Written by Sierra Rein
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Most athletes training in hand to hand combat often forget that verbal self defense is an incredible preventative skill. It is always advantageous to have every talent necessary to avoid a fight. Including verbal sparring habits and training in addition to physical self defense moves can increase your chances of never getting into a fight in the first place.

In order to understand how verbal self defense works, one needs to know about the part of the brain that controls how a person scans for danger. The amygdala, as it is so called, can force a person to react to signs of stress or harm without the rational parts of the brain intervening. It is up to you to teach your own amygdala how not to react right off the bat and how to recognize one's attacker's use of verbal assaults.

Using sarcasm or any other hostile tone is the first don't in a list of verbal self defense techniques. Answering questions and demands in a rational, calm and almost monotonous tone will assure your opponent that you mean them no harm and will not attack them in return. This is particularly effective against people who are intoxicated or those who respond instinctively and violently to any strongly stressed language tones and movements.

Verbal Self Defense Using Confusion

Sometimes using platitudes and meaningless quotes can be particularly effective. For example, if a stranger starts pushing you around and begins to yell at you to get out of his way, stare a few feet to his right and quote a bit of Shakespeare (thus: "Now is the winter of our discontent, made glorious by the son of York"). More often than not, the aggressor will get confused, look at you as though you were a loon and make a hasty retreat from your general area.


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