Monday, April 09, 2012


As a Catholic, I've just gone through the season of Lent. Having few material vices (I don't have money to splurge on anything), it's hard for me to think of any material sacrifice. It seems hypocritical to give up something for forty days only to pick it back up on Day 41. In recent years, I've focused on behaviors I want to control better, and usually well before forty days are up, I catch myself falling back on the same behavior in the same situations I have for years.

Late last year, I discovered Verbal Judo when its founder, George J. "Rhino" Thompson, died. A core principle of Verbal Judo is that our natural responses to verbal abuse lead to more conflict because they are intended to assert or defend our own sensibilities. A trained response, on the other hand, consciously removes our sensibilities from the equation.

I looked into Verbal Judo because I was fed up with conversations that blew up into arguments. In the same way, I suppose, I was fed up with falling short of my Lenten goals. I've only begun to succeed as I've learned not to rely on instinct, but to seek practical training.


Steven said...

Wait. So did you take up or give up Verbal Judo?

Gerald So said...

In past years, I've remained focused on what I was giving up. If I gave up chocolate, for example, I'd be thinking, "This is my sixteenth day without chocolate." This year, I used my recent study of Verbal Judo to put out of mind the usual thoughts of what I gave up for Lent. I was less plagued with thoughts of my sacrifice and was able to focus my energies elsewhere.