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View Full Version : Defensive Theory: Smile, as a 'First Resort'.


RBid
April 7, 2012, 07:42 PM
I wanted to take a bit to put this down, and to see what sorts of response this gets. It is something that I genuinely believe, I do every day, and I am raising my kids to do.

Smile.

I. Disarm

Ia) De-stress.

Try this, if you feel the need:

Make extended eye contact with someone. Don't smile.

Now make extended eye conctact, and add a smile.

If you don't smile, and people recognize that you are looking at them, they often elevate, in terms of tension. Whether they are self conscious, agitated, anxious, or mistrustful, that mood is very likely to get worse, even if only a little.

On the other hand, if you smile at someone in any of those states, it may very well serve to lift their spirits, at least a little.

Ib) Dissuade.

Smiling at someone is a basic connection, on a person-to-person basis. It humanizes you, and presents the opportunity for someone to view you in a positive light. Generally speaking, people have a harder time harming people with whom they have identified, even in a small way. There are those to whom this doesn't apply, but they are an extreme minority. Consequently, if you establish even a brief moment of connection, you may reduce the will of the other person to harm you.

1c) Disarm

Another general truth is that people like the path of least resistance. Establishing eye contact is an indication of being self assured. In a very subtle way, this marks you as "not meek".


II. Recon

IIa) Cover

Interestingly, smiling at someone is generally perceived as a reason to make eye contact with them. It is a 'get out of jail free' card, when looking at just about anybody. Flashing that smile affords you a moment to study somebody.

IIb) Reading Response

When you smile at someone, their reaction will instantly provide you with information about their emotional state. If you have any social aptitude whatsoever, you should be able to recognize indicators of tension.



In practice:

You have a concealed carry license, and are in 'code yellow'. You're on your way to a restaurant in the city, and have to walk a few blocks from where you park. While you're walking, about a block away from a higher visibility/lower threat area, someone walking toward you on the sidewalk looks up a little.

You look right at them, smile, nod, and say, "Howdy", or similar.

At this point, a potential 'bad guy' knows:

1) you have just extended kindness to him. This is often a rare treat, for people who live rough lives.
2) you're not overtly timid
3) you know what he looks like, before he has had a chance to do anything incriminating.
4) you are going to be paying attention to him, even as you both continue walking, because a response may be forthcoming.

...and YOU know:

1) what he looks like
2) a ballpark emotional state, based on his reaction to your smile/greeting
3) you are *expected* to pay attention to him, during the typical period of time in which a response would be forthcoming. At a normal walking speed, by the time pleasantries have been exchanged, you are passing each other.



Thoughts?

If you feel like I'm an idiot, please be gentle. I'll be receptive to constructive criticism, and I respect differing opinions.

pax
April 7, 2012, 07:57 PM
In practice, this advice sounds good for men, but I suspect there are a few too many caveats for women.

Trust me on this one: smiling at strangers, eye contact or no, is a good way for a woman to unintentionally invite unwanted attention from guys.

A vaguely-pleasant look, while taking care to always break eye contact to the side rather than down, tends to be (in my experience anyway) a somewhat more reliable way to make those assessments without drawing an unintended response.

Kathy

bob.a
April 7, 2012, 08:25 PM
My four-year-old granddaughter is into martial arts, has some kind of colorful belt. In competitions, she told me she likes to give a really sweet smile to her opponent, before attempting to clobber him/her. She feels it gives her several advantages.

I don't think you're an idiot.

I do think that a smile can be misinterpreted; also if it meets the "stink eye" and falters, you lose points. Aside from that, it all seems of interest.

kilimanjaro
April 7, 2012, 11:08 PM
Al Capone said you could get much farther with a kind word and a gun than just a gun.

wun_8_seven
April 7, 2012, 11:19 PM
Nah, just shot em in the face

TheNocturnus
April 8, 2012, 12:25 AM
I always look passers by in the eye when I walk or drive around. I usually offer a kind smile and a "hello" if we are alone. In the store I just offer a brief look of confidence to passers by. I don't stare it's just a glance to let them know I am aware of them. It's a mental game for me.

When driving I have a habit of looking at people driving past me in the eye, most are totally oblivious but some offer varied responses. Some smile, some give a dirty look, some look scared, some just offer an empty stare, some even flip me off... it's happened several times.

So RBid I believe there is something to be said about a smile in an awkward or normal social encounter. You hit it right on the nose. You are teaching your kids a great lesson.

Tuzo
April 8, 2012, 10:02 AM
Your proposal, which is something you "believe in," is an assumption and does not take into account the thinking of others. In general, people ask "why?" or "how can they?" when confronted with behavior that is not understood. The simple answer is: they do not think the way we, you, us, I think. We do not live in an ideal world where people act as we expect them to act.

I live in suburban Louisiana where a smile or hi to strangers in Walmart is not unusual. But in parts of New Orleans that may not be a wise thing to do.

Cornered Cat has a good evaluation of your premise.

Glenn E. Meyer
April 8, 2012, 10:27 AM
Pax is correct (as always :)) - I have an psych journal article somewhere that men evaluate pleasantries from women as far more sexual than intended.

locnload
April 8, 2012, 11:32 AM
RBid, I believe in your theory, and although I have never really put that much thought into it, it is just in my nature to look at people, smile, and say howdy, good morning, or some generic pleasantry. But yes, it immediately establishes that you are alert, oriented, and paying attention. Just exactly what criminals do not want in a potential victim.
I also agree that women live under a different set of guidelines, and need to be careful about being perceived as "sending signals". Face it, we men are pigs deep down inside, most of us keep a lid on it and behave as honorable gentlemen, but there are some who will vigorously pursue any attractive female, eye contact or not. I think the idea of brief eye contact and looking away tells us a woman is aware of someone in their space but not interested in a date.
Always try friendly first, the world would be a much better place if we all just lighten up and be nice. This does not mean you should be naive, unprepared, or overly trusting of strangers, just don't go through life like you're navigating behind enemy lines. :)

BGutzman
April 8, 2012, 05:22 PM
As I learned from many deployments in service.... Someone (an adult or older teenager) starts eyeballing you smile or not you likely have or are going to have a problem...Its both culture and person dependent... My level of awareness and attention may actually go up.. Not sure I include smile as a defensive measure...

If you do need to draw for your legal defense it may be a lot more useful to throw whatever you have in your hands to distract them as you try to retreat and draw.

dayman
April 8, 2012, 07:05 PM
I agree with the OP's premise. Watchful, but friendly. A smile is a great way to let someone know that you see them without being confrontational.
Pretty much all of the time the other guy's just some slob going about his life.
Though that comes from the perspective of being a 6' 230lb tattooed weightlifter - I'd agree that smiling at strange men might not be a great conflict avoidance strategy for the ladies.

Vermonter
April 8, 2012, 07:36 PM
The whole thing about eye contact is that folks usually are expecting something after. I tend to do the nod and slight smile. This hopefully does not come off creepy even to the ladies. I think this puts folks at general ease and still shows a potential threat awarness.

With Kindest Regards, Vermonter

skifast
April 8, 2012, 08:02 PM
I agree with Pax that women shouldn't.

I thinkit has some merit for men. A bad guy is looking for an east target. They play on fear and intimidation. If you smile and come across you ain't so bad, it will give the bad guy a second thought. On the other hand, if it is a nervous "I would like to teach the world to sing, mamby pamby" smile, then it won't do much.

aparootsa
April 8, 2012, 09:49 PM
I think this is a good way to go; I've been doing the "smile and nod/greet" thing for years. When I was in Boston, that was typical; here in Denver there's usually a greeting thrown in 'cause that's how people are. Style has a huge impact on how this comes across (from ladies and gents alike); since most of communication is non-verbal, the rest of how you look and act while you make eye contact can make the same greeting range from a come-on to carefree to threatening.

In general I like it as a cultural pursuit as well; the more connected people feel to others they pass on the street in general, the less likely they are to run afoul of social norms. Most criminals, especially young ones, are for the most part normal folks and don't really want to think about the harm they do. The more personally they feel connected to those they're considering wronging, the less they're likely to do so.

Glockstar .40
April 8, 2012, 10:05 PM
I like your method. they sound right on. i do agree with pax though that for woman the eye contact and a smile might backfire.

Nnobby45
April 8, 2012, 10:34 PM
In practice, this advice sounds good for men, but I suspect there are a few too many caveats for women.

Trust me on this one: smiling at strangers, eye contact or no, is a good way for a woman to unintentionally invite unwanted attention from guys.

A vaguely-pleasant look, while taking care to always break eye contact to the side rather than down, tends to be (in my experience anyway) a somewhat more reliable way to make those assessments without drawing an unintended response.

Kathy
In practice, this advice sounds good for men, but I suspect there are a few too many caveats for women.

Trust me on this one: smiling at strangers, eye contact or no, is a good way for a woman to unintentionally invite unwanted attention from guys.

A vaguely-pleasant look, while taking care to always break eye contact to the side rather than down, tends to be (in my experience anyway) a somewhat more reliable way to make those assessments without drawing an unintended response.

Kathy


Good analysis.

And a friendly gesture to a stranger, in some parts of my community, can easily generate a panhandlers's request for a hand out--men included, and burden you with the matter of getting rid of him--easier with some than others.

Don't remember who gave the advice: When on the "street" be polite to everyone and friendly to no one. Maybe it was Walt Rausch, but that sounds like good advice for women and men too. :cool:

The point: Might need different rules for different environments. Just going for a walk can take you into different "behavior" zones. Being too friendly or not friendly enough can focus the wrong kind of attention on us.

Now, as a psychology experiment, RBid's ideas sound interesting.:D

Overhill
April 9, 2012, 01:10 PM
I agree with this premise except; A smile through the window at another driver can very easilly result in a misunderstanding and eventual road rage.

RBid
April 9, 2012, 04:24 PM
Thank you for the discussion, so far.

The feedback about how this might play out for women makes a lot of sense. I can certainly see the validity of those points.

treg
April 9, 2012, 10:30 PM
Thanks for the post. I am a natural non-smiler that has to work at smiling. Your points are valid, thanks for the reminder.

Jeremiah/Az
April 9, 2012, 10:55 PM
I give a slight smile & slight nod to most anyone that makes eye contact. Most smile back, but I'm an old man, not a physical threat to man or woman anymore!:D I have noticed that some women will not make eye contact, probably for some of the reasons mentioned.

Frank Ettin
April 9, 2012, 11:50 PM
Al Capone said you could get much farther with a kind word and a gun than just a gun. Actually, I believe it was reputed that he said, "You can get much farther with a kind word and a gun than you can with a kind word alone. (http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Al_Capone)"

Deaf Smith
April 10, 2012, 06:30 PM
For most people if you treat them with respect, bit of eye contact and a nod, that will get you by, even with most gangs. All you are doing when you give a nod is showing you recognize they exist and that is a bit of respect. No big smile, no downward eyes, or anything like that for being subservient can invite attack if they want to score points with their fellow gang members or chicks. And the same time as you nod don't fold your arms or put your hands on your hips (a sign of challenge or contempt.)

BUT, sociopaths and psychopaths don't respond to any of that. To them that's a sign of weakness, and as Clint Smith said, "if you look like food (that is look weak) you will be eaten."

And woe be if you encounter a gang on the warpath. Many young don't see the consequences of what they do and they can turn on you in a flash. If they are out for a wilding they won't care if you nod or smile or even beg.

So if you intend to smile alot then Capone, and Teddy Roosevelt, were right.

Speak softly and carry a big stick.

Deaf

Frank Ettin
April 10, 2012, 06:54 PM
...sociopaths and psychopaths don't respond to any of that. ...

And woe be if you encounter a gang on the warpath...I think this point, and the points others have made, is that gestures like a smile of nod, can be tools; and like other tools they need to be used at the proper times for the proper purposes and in the correct circumstances. It's helpful when part of our social development includes learning to read situations and the attitudes of others.

MLeake
April 10, 2012, 07:00 PM
it also helps to know the differences in local gestures. A thumb's up or an ok sign have very different meanings in parts of the middle east, for example, and might initiate hostilities.

CaptainObvious
April 10, 2012, 10:04 PM
I disagree with the smiling approach. You never know how a smile will be interpreted. Someone might believe you are laughing or making fun of them while others might think you are being a wiseass. It will also make you appear as a soft target. When in doubt, the poker face of indifference is the best way to go.

Of course, in everyday interactions smiling works pretty well, but if we are talking about how to act in a situation of dealing with a questionable individual then I wouldnt be smiling. In fact, sometimes its even best to look annoyed and to scowl. If I were drawing a firearm on someone, you are not going to see me be courteous. In fact, I will be swearing and talking aggressively as that kind of language simply works in the self defense situation.

There is a good reason why you see police officers get mean in a self defense situation. Although it doesnt look good for the youtube video, it is a self defensive measure that works. You become a harder target then officer smiley and there is less of a chance the bad guy is going to challenge you.

Glenn E. Meyer
April 11, 2012, 09:12 AM
Swearing and talking aggressively is not a good idea. Witnesses will think you are a bad person.

Also, if you think you are intimidating criminals by using bad words - they live a life of swearing.

Perhaps one can refer to the literature of victim selection as compared to one's posturing and speculating about being mean tough guy.

Lee Lapin
April 11, 2012, 01:41 PM
I prefer to maintain a bland nonspecific sort of pleasant expression in public, with the emphasis on bland. Encouraging approach from strangers is not what I'm interested in doing, but neither do I want to frighten passing children and little old ladies with some sort of ogre-like demeanor. Communication among humans is after all mostly non-verbal.

Think about who you are communicating with and what you are saying. For instance, take a look at http://www.teddytactical.com/archive/MonthlyStudy/2005/03_StudyDay.htm . "Normal" people are not likely to be a problem, but predators are a different kettle of fish.

'Social violence' must be considered also as it's likely to be more commonly encountered in ordinary life than predatory violence. I'd suggest getting a copy of Rory Miller's book Meditations on Violence for a discussion of lots of relevant material - see http://www.amazon.com/dp/1594391181?tag=chirontrainin-20&camp=14573&creative=327641&linkCode=as1&creativeASIN=1594391181&adid=0MX2HAD6Y63FS76H5C7D&&ref-refURL=http%3A%2F%2Fchirontraining.com%2FSite%2F%2FHome_files%2Fwidget1_markup.html

CaptainObvious
April 11, 2012, 04:55 PM
Let me clarify myself. I do not support anyone being anti-social to another person. Of course, you should smile, say hi, please, thank you, etc. in your daily interactions.

However, in a tactical situation you should not be smiling, saying please or thank you. You should use a firm command voice, you should look somewhat serious and sometimes swearing may not be out of the question. Of course, this wont look good for the youtube video and wont make you look good in court. The point of a self defense situation is to stay alive first and then worry about the defense later. Of course, whoever picks the situation apart is going to find mistakes and may not like what they see on a cellphone video. You can always explain later that you used a tone and voice which you thought would keep you safe. I would rather have a video of myself using a command voice and swearing presented to a jury then to have my remains presented to my wife.

In the law enforcement world, they call these "verbal tactics". The first thing you use is "verbal tactics". I have never seen an officer say something like "Can you do me a favor please and drop that weapon?" The verbal tactics used are always a little bit more coarse and may not be fitting for children. The facial expressions also are never a warm smile either. This is all in the name of controlling the situation.

Here is a good Youtube video of exactly what I mean. The officer in each interaction isnt sounding nice or politically correct. There is no smiling, but its all in the name of controlling the situation through "verbal tactics".

http://youtu.be/YpUkIUIRZ5g?t=25s

Frank Ettin
April 11, 2012, 08:43 PM
...However, in a tactical situation you should not be smiling, saying please or thank you. You should use a firm command voice, you should look somewhat serious and sometimes swearing may not be out of the question...But one must still decide when things become a "tactical situation." That decision will require some good judgment. Putting on your "war face" too soon will not be helpful.

FireForged
April 11, 2012, 09:05 PM
this sounds like business or office etiquette not SD. There is alot to be said about projecting seriousness or strength in the face of potential danger.

Frank Ettin
April 11, 2012, 09:11 PM
this sounds like business or office etiquette not SD. There is alot to be said about projecting seriousness or strength in the face of danger. How do you know when it's "in the face of danger"?

FireForged
April 11, 2012, 09:16 PM
the whole premise of this thread is defusing the potential of conflict from a passing stranger. That anyone could be the badguy. I mearly spoke under that same assumption. Face of danger is rather pointed... I will change it to in the face of potential danger.

Deaf Smith
April 11, 2012, 09:35 PM
Well one could aways be a Zatoichi.

Deaf

Glenn E. Meyer
April 12, 2012, 09:51 AM
Swearing is never a good idea. Period. Learn to use the language.

RBid
April 13, 2012, 11:39 AM
Fireforged is correct about the premise of this thread.

Based on the number of replies decrying pleasantries in 'tactical situations', it seems as though there are title-replies, and skim-replies landing here.

Once a clear threat is identified, you transition away from that first resort. I am actually dumbfounded that a few people seem to think that I suggested smiling AFTER a situation has escalated. This thread is about proactive behaviors, not reactive.

markj
April 13, 2012, 04:43 PM
A smile and a firm handshake will get you places. Well used to be that way. I try to smile at everyone I encounter.

seeker_two
April 13, 2012, 10:02 PM
Be polite....be kind....and have a plan to "stop" everyone you meet....

CaptainObvious
April 14, 2012, 01:08 AM
But one must still decide when things become a "tactical situation." That decision will require some good judgment. Putting on your "war face" too soon will not be helpful.

A professional will treat each encounter as a tactical situation in the interests of safety. Although this may seem silly treating each and every encounter as a tactical situation, it is sage advice. If someone is doing something they are not supposed to do, then you have to let them know in uncertain terms with a firm and serious tone. No asking nicely or smiling. Asking nicely and smiling implies that what you are saying is a suggestion, but talking in a firm and serious tone implies that what you are saying is a command.

For example, on a routine traffic stop the man gets out of his car and walks back to you while you are still in the car. This is a time for a firm and serious voice commanding that man to stay where he is. Even though the man may have the best of intentions trying to come to the officer, he could easily have a weapon on his person and many officers have been killed in this manner. Telling the man nicely to stay where he is and smiling would seem like a suggestion the man might ignore or not understand. He may decide to come to you anyway. However, talking in a firm and serious tone will not be misunderstood.

Swearing is a psychological tool for the professional user which is used in certain situations with certain individuals to bring the situation under control quickly. This tool is used on a case by case basis with discretion. Experienced professionals will know when such situations dictate the so-called potty mouth.

For a non-professional, I do not believe smiling will be effective in a self-defense encounter for obvious reasons. There will be times the non-professional will have to issue commands in a serious and firm tone of voice just like the professional user. Lets say, for example, you are outside on your lawn and there is an angry person just off of your property who is coming quickly to talk to you. It would probably be a good thing if the homeowner retreated to their home, but lets say there is not enough time. Then the homeowner will have to give a command "Do not come on my property!" No pleases, smiles or thank yous.

So a situation to use the command voice is one where an individual is performing an action which will jeopardize your safety.

Frank Ettin
April 14, 2012, 01:18 AM
...If someone is doing something they are not supposed to do, then you have to let them know in uncertain terms with a firm and serious tone....What if someone is not doing something he's not supposed to do -- that way most interaction in everyday life is?

...For example, on a routine traffic stop...This isn't necessarily about LEOs. Private citizens don't do traffic stops.

...For a non-professional, I do not believe smiling will be effective in a self-defense encounter for obvious reasons....We're not talking about self defense encounters. Take another look at the OP, and see post 35:...Based on the number of replies decrying pleasantries in 'tactical situations', it seems as though there are title-replies, and skim-replies landing here.

Once a clear threat is identified, you transition away from that first resort. I am actually dumbfounded that a few people seem to think that I suggested smiling AFTER a situation has escalated. This thread is about proactive behaviors, not reactive.

Let's stay on topic.

BlackFeather
April 14, 2012, 02:55 AM
Well one could aways be a Zatoichi.

Deaf

Oh that made me laugh... But acting blind and foolish only gets you underestimated, not out of the situation.

Physical appearance is never a guarantee of safety, that's just life. A smile, a smirk, an indifferent look, it's all a challenge to someone. Coming from Southern California, the punks in Oregon who think they rule the small town here just amused me, but smiling was never an option against multiple people. A kind gesture can be a sign of submissive action to those who THINK they are dominant. I'm not fond of that. I nod to those who give me a stare, and those who seem less threatening get a smile. It's the way I learned to handle things, your mileage may vary....

Maximus856
April 14, 2012, 03:44 AM
I think the premise of this thread is not so much the smile as much as it is about your general character and vibe. Put yourself in a possible attackers shoes. If you saw two guys walking downt the street, one really social saying hello and being polite to everyone he sees and the other with his head down, hands in his pocket, avoiding everyone, and quiet, which would be more of a prospective target? Someone with the character of the latter two may be afraid of contact and people in general, therefore making him the "better" of the targets.

I work as a bouncer on the weekends at a local bar. I kid you not, a simple smile and some not so harsh words go much farther than 1) not doing anything and 2) trying to be overtly aggresive. I see people who get scared when someone trys to be a big tough guy and it makes it worse. I see others who try to get big and tough when someone trys to start trouble with them, and it only gets worse. The situations which are the most easily diffused, are the ones where one of the parties involved just kind of nods it off. They dont show weakness, but they dont make themselves an aggressor. I'm not a psychiatrist, but I think its general knowledge that people desire kindness, and this *may* prevent you from becoming a target. While this may not work with the sociopaths etc., it is another very strong tool for the toolbox. When you do this, it makes you hard to read and judge. People do not like others who are unpredictable. It goes along the lines of "be polite, be professional, but have a plan to kill everyone you meet."

CaptainObvious
April 14, 2012, 09:16 AM
If we are talking about behavior and mannerisms before and leading up to a self defense encounter, we must first understand the most common types of violence.

#1 Domestic- 80% of all violent crime is domestic violence
#2 Substance and alcohol induced
#3 Gang violence
#4 Targeted violence (strong-arm robberies)

There are also other types of violence which occur such as "road rage", but I find those instances to be rare so I dont include them in this post. Common sense can help avoid the other types of violence which infrequently occur. The top 3 forms of violence are more complex and go beyond a simple smile. That leaves us with #4 which is targeted violence. Here is a video which demonstrates targeted violence.

http://youtu.be/OlP9-8f5YpE

In the above video, the man was followed into a local McDonalds and then knocked out during a strong-arm robbery. This is actually a fairly common attack around here where one or more persons will overwhelm a soft target with brute force, quickly snatch whatever they have and then run into the night. The robber does not use a weapon because armed robbery carries more time in prison and such.

My advice to avoid violence is to stay away from alcohol/other drugs, stay away from areas which are known gang hangouts, and just try to get along with your wife the best you can. Be aware of your surroundings and keep people you do not know at a distance when possible. If you believe someone is following you and cant seem to get away then I wouldnt smile or try to be friendly. Obviously, someone who is following you does not have the best of intentions and are probably going to rob you at some point. Therefore, you have to make it appear that you will not be as soft of a target as they believe. Smiling and being friendly will reinforce in their mind that you are a soft target. You want to get away from someone who is following you and put distance in between them and you. However, sometimes you cant get away from them and so you have to engage them with words and gestures as a first resort. Sometimes a beggar will follow you for money and get up close for example. This is not a time to be friendly because being friendly will only encourage them to follow you more. You put up your hand as if to indicate "stop" and say in no uncertain terms in a serious loud voice "Do not follow me." or "I do not want to be bothered."

Finally, its noteworthy to say that anti-social behavior is never an acceptable reason to resort to violence against another individual. So just because someone is not smiling or acting in a manner which you approve does not mean you can engage in violence. Words and gestures is never a justification to hit someone.

ltc444
April 14, 2012, 10:54 AM
Cpt obvious has a good point. Each situation is different and needs to be addressed based on the tactical situation and the hairs on the back of your neck.

My rules are to be invisible and not attract attention. If the situation seems dangerous I appear to be a hard target. If they have the drop on me I appear to be nonthreatening. This allows me to pick my time to respond as they are not focused on me but others who they view as a greater threat.

It helps that I require two canes to walk.

Flexible is the watch word in any situation.

Edward429451
April 14, 2012, 11:03 AM
Swearing is a psychological tool for the professional user which is used in certain situations with certain individuals to bring the situation under control quickly. This tool is used on a case by case basis with discretion. Experienced professionals will know when such situations dictate the so-called potty mouth

No offense my friend, but do you really believe this? This is the biggest fallacy in this thread. Nowhere will swearing give you an advantage. Swearing is a sign of a weak mind and an inadequate vocabulary. Show us a single certain situation that swearing at them would give advantage in any way.

I do not go around smiling like an idiot all the time. A half smile with nod is widely used. This is all simple body language mechanics and should be studied by all.

Learning to read the tells of people will let you know what is really going on and what emotional state the person is in. Most people are an open book, some have learned to lie with their body mechanics. But there's always a tell. You just have to pay close attention to see it.

Glenn E. Meyer
April 14, 2012, 11:40 AM
Swearing is a psychological tool

Having taken a great deal of civilian oriented SD courses, I have never heard one of those trainers recommend swearing.

Captain O - give us a link or reference to a significant number of trainers who recommend such.

Given the number of recording devices in the world, I would suggest you would look very bad if recorded in an ambiguous shoot.

Nor do I recall such in police texts on use of force. In fact, in classes run by LEOs, they didn't recommend such.

So cite some for us.

And to the contrary:

http://www.usacarry.com/pistol-courses-profanity-firearms/

Fishing_Cabin
April 14, 2012, 02:15 PM
Swearing?

Perhaps instead of taking a stand off stance with such language, it may be better to use verbal judo to encourage the person its not worth it. Dont think of a defensive situation as static, look at it as a fluid event which can flow this, or that way, and watch for changes, as well as try to direct a change for a peaceful outcome when possible.

CaptainObvious
April 15, 2012, 03:39 PM
Well, it is taught in a lot of places and sometimes called Verbal Judo, Verbal Karate or Tactical Communications. I dont believe anyone teaches you exactly what to say word for word during those types of training courses. They give you a list of general ideals, but they dont tell you to swear or exactly what is to be said during encounters.

The reason why they dont tell you exactly what to say is because some people are more effective at saying certain words then others. Remember Back to the Future where George McFly goes "Take your damned hands off her?". Obviously, George wasnt too effective with those words whereas Biff might have been a lot more effective in his tactical communications with the same words. Another good example is the drill instructor at boot camp. He comes in looking mean, swearing and somehow he gets everyone to jump. Obviously, the instructors communications are effective.

I would say what you say depends upon who you are addressing, who you are in general and what you are trying to accomplish. Ever notice how "Gang Unit" officers always seem like these imposing types wearing paramilitary gear and their tactical communications is never all that nice? They seem to wear these permanent scowls and when they address their intended audience its never a friendly instructive speech. Same thing with correction officers. However, a court bailiff will have a much different tact being in a polished uniform and helping people around the court room smiling to everyone.

I would not say cursing and swearing is for every situation or for everyone in general. However, I would not rule it out entirely. Just like in George McFly's case, it will be very obvious when its effective and when its not. I do know there are some departments out there that have a specific rule to never swear. I do think there are situations where it can be used effectively whereas there are situations where it will not be effective and may even get you into trouble.

I dont want to post up any links to books because Im not here to advertise for anyone, but I think you can just type in Verbal Judo on Amazon and find a few good books.

animal
April 15, 2012, 04:01 PM
My signature line has been the same for a number of years.

"A" smile is a range of expressions. Smiles can range from intimidating to inviting. My mainstay is a sort of serene look combined with calm reactions that, if successful, communicates that I am comfortable whether they are belligerent or friendly but prefer neutrality. Some street rats seem as challenged by friendliness as by aggressiveness. Just my .02. Maybe I’m wrong and have just been lucky.
Not as big a smile as the Mona Lisa … preferably with a .44 spl. under my arm … and not usually in drag.:o

Glenn E. Meyer
April 15, 2012, 08:24 PM
George McFly is certainly a convincing argument as compared to all the other courses, I've taken or the books I've read.

Thank you for giving me the clear example of a trainer recommending civilians curse.

Glenn

Frank Ettin
April 15, 2012, 08:34 PM
George McFly is certainly a convincing argument as compared to all the other courses, I've taken or the books I've read...Yup, it's tough to go wrong taking you cues from a fictional character who drives a tricked out DeLorean that can travel through time.

MLeake
April 15, 2012, 11:25 PM
Car pooled to our dojo's parent dojo today with another aikido practitioner, who is also deputy warden for our regional prison. We were discussing verbal judo. FYI, his corrections officers are trained to verbally de-escalate whenever possible; swearing is not considered good practice.
His words were along the lines of "if you act like Rambo, they will eventually call you on it; treat the inmates with a modicum of respect, and listen to their complaints, and most problems get handled easily."
Of course, he may not have studied up on his McFly...