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Winning without fighting. The ultimate principle of martial arts.

This is the story of a Japanese man who had spent his life studying aikido. Although he had spent his life practicing this graceful art, he had never had the opportunity to test its effectiveness against an attacker determined to do him harm. So he waited for the day when a criminal would cross his path to test its effectiveness.

The more he trained, the more his obsession to prove to himself that aikido was as powerful in the street as it was in his dojo (martial art school) grew. One day, after work, on a subway heading home, an opportunity arose. A drunken, aggressive man entered the train and immediately began to verbally attack the other passengers. "This is it!" The aikido practitioner said to himself, "This is my chance to test my art." He sat there, focused, waiting for this attacker to come in front of him. It was bound to happen, because he approached him, cursing everyone in his path.

The drunk man came closer and closer to the aikido practitioner. The closer he got, the more aggressive he became. Some of the passengers stood back, afraid of being attacked by him, while others did not move, paralyzed by fear. Some passengers fled to the end of the car while some others pretended to be asleep in order to escape the gaze of this madman. The closer the drunken man got, the more our aikido man prepared for a bloody fight and was ready to show everyone, and himself, the undeniable efficiency of his art.

Just as the man was within reach and before he had time to get up to disable the individual, a passenger in front of him stood up. While waving both hands in front of the drunken man, he cheerfully engaged the man in conversation. "Hey, my friend! What's going on with you? I bet you've been drinking all day, haven't you? You look like a man with problems. I don't see anyone who is a match for you." The drunken man stopped, his mouth wide open, a state of confusion overtaking him. As he watched the man's hands flail about, his thoughts stopped. For a brief moment, his brain freezes! The man pointed to the empty seat next to him and said, "Come and sit with me! We haven't talked in a while! Let's talk my friend."

The aikido practitioner watched in amazement as the passenger skillfully argued with this drunken man and defused his fury. After a few minutes, the drunken man explained how his life had gone downhill and how low he had fallen. Tears were streaming down his cheeks as the man with a hand on his shoulder spoke into his ear.

The aikido practitioner, bowing his head and looking down, felt a strong sense of shame take over his whole being. "This is what real aikido is all about. He suddenly realized that this passenger who was comforting this drunken, crying man was demonstrating the ultimate principle of aikido and the ultimate goal of all authentic martial arts: "winning without fighting.

This little story illustrates some of the tactics and strategies that a practitioner of psychoverbal self-defense (PVSD ©) might use. First of all, he waited until the right moment to intervene. By suddenly standing up and waving both hands in the air, he interrupted the man's state of mind. The crossed swing of the hands in front of the man's field of vision created an interruption of his neurological processes (cognitive and internal feelings). If you want to prove this last fact, perform the following experiment. Ask someone to think of a specific image. Then wave your hands in front of their visual field. Then ask him what happened to the image.

Between a stimulus and a response, there is a gap

By interrupting the state in the drunk man, he has created a vacuum. Since the brain abhors a vacuum, it will seek to fill it. By saying that no one is a match for him, he treats him with dignity and lowers his defense mechanism. By saying, "We haven't talked in a while," he leaves the doubt that he knows each other. By his jovial way of intervening and getting her to sit next to him, this allowed the man's brain to fill the void. The facilitator established rapport with the man and was able to establish a state of cooperation by pushing the right buttons.

Gaëtan Sauvé, Author of the Psychoverbal Self Defense series

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