Verbal Self Defense is a system of communication used for anti bullying and bully prevention. It teaches our youth proven conflict resolution strategies, like how to use word deflectors, how to establish S.A.F.F.E.R. lines, and how to uphold one’s dignity while actively engaged in verbal de-escalation. Verbal Judo was first introduced in the 1980’s by Dr. George Thompson, a martial artist, English professor and police officer. This diverse, somewhat unconventional background afforded Dr. Thompson a unique perspective. Thompson realized rather quickly that his martial skill set, though useful for hauling people off in cuffs at the first sign of resistance, caused him endless paperwork. He began to question whether something could be done to gain compliance rather than gaining more arrests. Dr. Thompson had the fortune to work with police officers who, it seemed to him, had a knack for de-escalation, causing the English professor in him to identify – and ultimately codify – conflict resolution strategies likely to keep him on the road instead of at his desk writing reports. Dr. Thompson ultimately concluded that use of force (martial arts) is limiting and that the first and best form of conflict resolution is verbal. Verbal Self Defense has since been used by law enforcement, public officials and Hollywood Stars alike. More recently, Verbal Self Defense has been modified for kids, to help kids learn anti bullying and bully prevention tactics. Anti Bullying Strategies for Bully Prevention Verbal Self defense is a principle based system and like any system, the various components (principles) work together to achieve the desired outcome – an amicable resolution, or at least more favorable one, obtained through voluntary compliance (without the use of force). Though the system teaches conflict resolution strategies aimed at de-escalation, Verbal Self Defense first and foremost builds character. It helps our youth internalize Why certain behavior is unacceptable, When action becomes a moral obligation rather than a moral preference, and How to act effectively while maintaining dignity in the process. By emphasizing dignity, respect, pride, unity, values, community, ethics, proper representation, security, safety, language, assertiveness, verbal redirection, conflict resolution, and S.A.F.E.R. lines, this system – especially when coupled with Krav Maga based defensive training – helps our youth understand Why, When, and How to intervene, and when words fail. Krav Maga New York has taught Verbal Judo to community kids and parents as well as high school staff members and peer leaders. Krav Maga New York has also conducted anti bullying and bully prevention training for Westchester County’s Department of Family Affairs (DFA).

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