VERBAL JUDO is a tactical communication training course. Dr. George Thompson Ph.D. is the President and Founder of the Verbal Judo Institute. He has applied his diverse experience, including ten years as an English Professor, as well as five years as a Police Officer, to create an internationally recognized training program in Tactical Communication.

VERBAL JUDO is offered as a 2-day training program. The principles and tactics taught enable graduates to use "Presence and Words" to calm difficult people who may be under severe emotional or other influences, redirect the behavior of hostile people, diffuse potentially dangerous situations, perform professionally under all conditions and achieve the desired outcome in the encounter.


  • Increased Officer Safety
  • Enhanced Professionalism
  • Decreased Citizen Complaints
  • Decreased Vicarious Liability
  • Decreased Stress
  • Increased Court Power
  • Decreased Cynicism
  • Increased Morale


Verbal Judo, or Tactical Communication, enables officers to further preserve law and order  while maintaining their own and the public's safety by using Appropriate Presence and Words as force options.

Verbal Judo is the principle of Judo itself: using the energy of others to master situations. It contains a set of communication principles and tactics that enable the user to generate cooperation and gain voluntary compliance in others under stressful conditions, such as hostile suspects, upset or frightened victims, or any action which places the officer and the community at odds with each other.

Verbal Judo teaches a philosophy of how to look creatively at conflict, offering specific, powerful, and usable strategies to resolve tense situations. The presentation is geared primarily but not exclusively, to law enforcement situations. You will learn to respond to situations, rather than react to personal feelings, understanding how to deal with difficult people using conflict management tactics to defuse confrontational encounters.

The course has precisely defined training goals that address concerns of importance, both to administration and to individual street officers:

SAFETY: Officers use words to prevent confrontations from becoming violent situations, reducing the potential injury to officers and citizens.

ENHANCED PROFESSIONALISM: Officers recognize the impact their words have on the public and use language appropriate to each encounter. Officers perform well before the audiences they encounter, thus creating a positive community attitude.

REDUCED VICARIOUS LIABILITY: Officers who handle citizen encounters skillfully and professionally are less likely to generate complaints and lawsuits. Officers trained in Verbal Judo will be able to describe their reasoning and explain their actions according to professional principles.

This two-day program is designed for officers whose duties require them to resolve tense confrontations peacefully and safely. Verbal Judo is the top rated law enforcement communication course in the country with over 600,000 graduates.


Verbal Judo teaches a philosophy of how to look creatively at conflict and use specific strategies and tactics to find peaceful resolutions. These skills are beneficial to officers in their duties because dealing with the public is often difficult and trying emotionally. Maintaining a "Professional Face" is crucial if officers are to remain under emotional control and be able to effectively find solutions to potentially violent encounters without escalating to physical force options. Further, where there are times that such physical force options are indeed necessary to protect both citizens and officers, such force must always be part of the professional process so officers are protected within the four arenas: with our peers, on the streets, in the courtroom, and with the media.

Departments can expect that once its officers are trained in Verbal Judo, they will know the following things:

  • How to use Words to achieve professional purposes and how to resist using language to express personal feelings.

  • How to control themselves inside so they can exert control on the outside.

  • How to employ empathy and "The Art Of Representation" to become Contact Professionals, maintaining self-control and staying in contact with the needs of the department and their audience - the public.

  • How to effectively deliver words that are on target by first understanding the receiver's point of view. This includes two distinct tactical approaches for dealing with difficult people: the "Eight Step Traffic/People Stop" and the "Five Step Hard Style".

  • "The Art Of Translation", to ensure that what we say is actually what we intend, and "The Art Of Mediation", delivering words in the form of a personal appeal, to achieve voluntary compliance from people who are under temporary emotional influences, ranging from despair and fear to anger and prejudice.

  • How to read others and diagnose a verbal encounter.

  • How to use the four appeals of persuasion and the twenty-four principles of street work.

  • The five conditions where words demonstratively fail and officers must move beyond words to physical force options.


Every year local government spends millions of dollars on defensive tactics and weapons training for law enforcement officers. In some cities the bill for ammunition alone reaches six and seven figures. Every year millions more are spent by local governments defending themselves in lawsuits brought against their officers for unnecessary use of force. Officers are often injured or killed in confrontations that escalated beyond the power of control holds, sticks, or guns to control the situation.

 Of the six "force options" available to police officers - Presence, Words, Empty- Hand Control, Chemicals, Batons or PR-24, and Firearms - only Presence and Words can promise a non-violent resolution to street encounters.

In addition, only these two have the power to reduce vicarious liability suits, improve citizen relations, and increase officer safety.

Officers to date have received little or no specific training in the use of Appropriate Presence and Words as force options. Daily, officers must attempt to GENERATE VOLUNTARY COMPLIANCE from difficult people, and we should train our officers in this most difficult and important art.

The cost of neglecting such training will be measured in blood, money, and public opinion. Our officers must be as competent with words as they are with firearms.


Seminar Agenda

Verbal Judo

Tactical Communications


Law Enforcement & Public Safety Personnel


The Five Goals Of The Course

Traits Of A Professional


Module One:

The Goal Of The Peace Officer

The Force Options Used To Achieve This Goal

The Habit Of Mind Necessary To Achieve This Goal

The Contact Professional

The Art Of Representation


Module Two:

Communication: From The Receiver's Point Of View

Three Survival Truths Of Communication


Module Three:

Verbal Karate Versus Verbal Judo:

Definition And Physical Demonstration

Verbal Judo Illustrated:

The "Five-Step Hard Style" Of Persuasion


Module Four:

How To Recognize When Words Fail And

Be Prepared To Move To Action: S.A.F.E.R.


Module Five:

The Three Arts Needed To Be A Peace Officer:

Representation, Translation And Mediation

The "Thin Blue Line" Defined


Module Six:

The Four Appeals Of Persuasion

The Forty-Six Principles Of Disinterest For Action


Module Seven:

The "Tactical Eight-Step" Car/Person Stop


There are five primary goals for teaching Verbal Judo to police officers: 1. Officer Safety, 2. Enhanced Professionalism, 3. Less Complaints, 4. Less Vicarious Liability and 5. Less Personal Stress. Officers are safer when they use their words to achieve a professional purpose rather than express their personal feelings. The most dangerous weapon an officer carries is the "Cocked Tongue." He must use words as tools not weapons. Mind and mouth disharmony causes violence. Everything we teach in Verbal Judo can markedly enhance an officer’s ability to look good and sound good, as well as be good. How we do, what we do is often the difference between success and failure. We teach officers how to deliver "bad news" to others with dignity and respect. This stress on the "Art of Delivery" results in officers generating fewer complaints from their interaction with the public, and hence generating fewer lawsuits from their actions. Departments trained in Verbal Judo have seen reductions of up to 80% in complaints from the public, and an untold amount of dollars saved in lawsuits. All of this results in less stress for the officer and the department.


Module 1

An in-depth definition of Professionalism, defining its central goal - Generating Voluntary Compliance: its force options, stressing presence and words as the first two, its necessary habit of mind -- MUSHIN or a still, unbiased mental center; and its new name, The Contact Professional, who is an artist at representing something other than himself. In this Module we define and show how to become the consummate Professional.

Module 2

The Peace Officer works in an arena of verbal assault, and in this section, we teach officers the theory necessary to understand how to perform a "Professional Self" before the public. Knowing more about communication than the people they will meet enables them to become who they have to be to handle the difficult situations they will face daily. The module stresses that 93% of an officer’s effectiveness lies in his "Delivery Style", not his message and we show officers how to use their "Style" more effectively and safely.

Module 3

Here we teach officers the difference between an offensive attacking style of language, Verbal Karate, and the professional re-directive power of Verbal Judo. We define our terms and demonstrate technique over brute power in a physical demonstration. We will illustrate Verbal Judo in action through the "Five-Step Hard Style" form of persuasion using real street examples. If the officer uses the five-step discipline, he CANNOT LOSE IN COURT. We teach the limits of words and how to reach their maximum power.

Module 4

NO OFFICER IS SAFE IF HE IS TALKING WHEN HE SHOULD BE ACTING. Hence, we teach the five times when words fail -- summed up by the acronym S.A.F.E.R. -- and show officers how to evaluate the threat and to move to other appropriate force options.

Module 5

Police Officers are the great PERSUADERS in America. Here we teach the three arts necessary to change the way people may want to behave when they are under the influence of liquor, drugs, rage, stupidity or greed. How to influence difficult people to think better for them than they may naturally desire is the sum of the three arts.

Module 6

To show officers how to verbally "hook people up" for their own good, we teach the four basic appeals of Persuasion and arm then with 46 or more principles of disinterest or flexibility taken directly from cops on the streets. Knowing the four appeals enables officers to remain flexible in their approaches to persuasion and more efficient in their use of words. Knowing the ethical and verbal principles help officers stay centered and focused on the goal of generating voluntary compliance rather than reacting to personal feelings.

Module 7

In this section, we teach the "Tactical Eight-Step" a safer and more powerful approach to car or people stops, one which elicits far less resistance and misunderstanding and sounds professional and strong throughout. Put together with the "Five-Step Hard Style", these two disciplines arm officers with a TACTICAL ADVANTAGE they have never had before. There is a better way to do business, and this is it!


Verbal Judo courses are conducted at your department training site. Occasionally departments will provide open seats for outside personnel. Hit the "Course Schedule" icon at the top of this page to find available training opportunities. Call the Verbal Judo Institute, (888) 966-7421, for information and registration.

For information:

(704) 773-1415

        email   info@verbaljudo.org

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© 1997 - 2016 Verbal Judo Institute, Inc. 

Dr. George J. Thompson, President & Founder

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