I’m proud to say I’ve never been in a real fight.
I hope my future kids enjoy the same lack of manhood.
That being said, I’ve been “close to the edge” on several occasions – you know, those moments when you can literally feel the smackdown hanging in the air.
One bad move, glance or word from somebody…
And it would’ve been showtime.
Luckily, I’ve often had a natural feeling for how to avoid fights.
And, based on my own experience, I believe that 9 out of 10 fights can be avoided if people understand some basics about human instinct and predatory behavior.
Today I want to share a little verbal trick to save your a** in self-defense.
This surprisingly effective trick comes from Derren Brown, a British illusionist, mentalist, trickster and writer, who once documented the effectiveness of using verbal confusion as a weapon of self-defense in his book ‘Tricks Of The Mind’.
Honestly, I think it’s a pretty crazy tactic.
But it’s incredibly powerful.
Check it out:
“One year I was attending a magic convention in North Wales and was headed back to my hotel in the early hours of the morning.
I had long hair at the time, as well as the Emperor Ming-style beard, and was wearing a velvet jacket, waistcoat and fob watch; in those days I thought I had an old-world dapper charm, when in fact I looked like a gay time-traveller.
As I walked to my hotel, I found myself heading towards a young couple coming in the opposite direction.
They were both quite drunk and arguing loudly.
By the time I realized that they were going to be troublesome it was too late to cross the road and get out of the way. As they approached me, I might have caught the guy’s eye (a mistake if I did), because I was suddenly aware of the horrible words “What the f*ck are you looking at?” shouted at me from suddenly close range with the force and pent-up anger of a very aggressive Welch drunk.
Peripherally, I saw the girl walk off down the road and leave us.
There’s an old Wing Chun Kung Fu technique I would normally have snapped into without thought: in the face of aggression, you lie on the floor in the fetal position and sob, kissing the toecap of your aggressor’s shoe.
However, having recently thought about confusion techniques to disarm aggressors, I was able to put some of my theory into practice.
I made my body relax and my face friendly, and I said, “The wall outside my house isn’t four foot high.”
He paused for a moment.
“The wall outside my house isn’t four foot high. But I lived in Spain for a bit and you should see the walls there — enormous, right up here!” I gestured with my hand to clarify how high I meant.
Now, you’re going to thank me for this, so bear with me.
Here’s what happened:
He has come at me with a huge amount of adrenalin and force, and his question “What are you looking at?”, like any intimidating question, is designed to put him in the position of aggressor. No direct answer to his question can change that.
My confident and friendly answer about the walls makes absolute sense within itself, but is completely out of context.
This guy has to work out what I’m talking about, and in doing so he becomes enormously confused. By offering him more of the same (talking about Spain), he feels he might be afforded some relief from the confusion, but such clarification doesn’t come. He is wrong-footed, confused and no longer in control.
He experiences an “adrenalin dump,” which leaves him useless.
After I told him about the Spanish walls, I added, “But here, they’re tiny! Look at these ones!” And I pointed out a tiny three-brick-high wall around the garden right next to us. He looked at the wall, and that movement told me that I now had the upper hand. He looked back at me, rather slumped in himself by now, let out a long, “Oh, fu-u-u-u-ck…” and crumpled, hanging his head hopelessly.
To my delight and surprise, he started telling me about his girlfriend bottling someone at a party, or similar. He sat down on the curb, distraught and broken, and I sat next to him and listened for a while, offering sympathetic noises and understanding.
When I left, he thanked me.”
And that’s it.
One little verbal trick to totally disarm your attacker in a self-defense situation and successfully save your butt – without breaking a single bone. Pretty neat, right?
Do YOU have any other tips to avoid physical fights?
Leave a comment & let me know.
“The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting.”
— Sun Tzu (544-496 BC)