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-- Lee Fjelstad, President


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To read the Verbal Judo Blog or to view Products please visit:
For Business, Government, Travel Industry, medical Fields, Sports Officiating, and Education:


Police, Federal Agents, Corrections, Probation and Parole, Private Security

Verbal Judo Law Enforcement Course Objective.


Every year local governments spend millions of dollars on defensive tactics and weapons training for law enforcement officers.  In some cities the bill for ammunition alone reaches six or seven figures.  Every year millions more are spent by local governments defending itself in lawsuits brought against 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.  Our officers must be as competent with words as they are with firearms.  The cost of neglecting such training will be measured in blood, money and public opinion.



Verbal Judo teaches a philosophy of how to look creatively at conflict and use specific tactics and strategies 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 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.



In many departments the number of complaints has been reduced by 40-80% and countless dollars in lawsuits saved.  That relates to less time defending our actions in the four arenas of our work: with our Peers, the Public, the Courts, and to the Media.   The less time we spend thinking who is watching the more time we have for staying safe.

Make no mistake; safety is critical in a profession that had 598,500 injuries and 855 deaths in just over a decade.


What will participants learn to do?  


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

  •   The Goal of Law Enforcement Work: To generate voluntary compliance using one or more of the six force options.
  •   How to use Words to achieve professional purposes and how to resist expressing personal feelings.
  •   How to control themselves inside so they can exert control on the outside.
  •   How to employ 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 Stop, and the Five Step “Hard Style."
  •   The arts of “Translation,” to ensure that what we say is actually what we intend, and “Mediation,” for 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.


The President of the Verbal Judo Institute and an international trainer with a professional background that includes over twenty years of speaking and training experience.  As a presenter and trainer, Lee is highly animated, humorous, thought provoking, and entertaining. He has instructed audiences on Verbal Judo in the United States, Canada, the Caribbean, Scandinavia, the Netherlands, and in England and over 400,000 participants attending his lectures during his career in public speaking.

Verbal Judo and the Tactical Communication Program has been the subject of magazine articles ranging in interest from Conde Nast Traveler and Broker Magazine to sports publications like Referee Magazine, and in newsprint articles from the USA Today and the Wall Street Journal to small town newspapers.

In addition to the above print, Lee has been seen and heard internationally on CNN, nationally on NBC, ABC, and Fox, in Canada on the CBC, and on local television and radio across North America and in Europe.

Lee Fjelstad, President

Lee was the first to be brought into the Verbal Judo family in 1985 as an Associate.  He met “Doc Thompson” in 1984 in Albuquerque while still serving in the military. Lee helped promote George to Black belt and they taught Tae Kwon Do together for a year under Grand Master Kim. Lee and George continued conducting self-defense seminars and George asked him to consider working the VJ program for police and corrections. By 1988 Lee was asked to create and pilot programs for business, city government, utility companies, and a new and adapted program for federal law enforcement.  In 1991 George made Lee his Vice President and he soon developed a program for the travel industry. Specifically tailored to airlines and cruise lines for dealing with verbally abusive passengers the program was presented to over 200,000 employees and 5 airlines. 

Lee has taught the VJ program across North America and the Caribbean; across the pond he has presented in England, Sweden, Finland,and the Netherlands.  Lee has instructed martial arts classes and self defense seminars for over twenty-five years and retains 2nd degree black belt rankings in Sikaran (from the Philippines), Shotokan (Japanese) and Tae Kwon Do (Korean) karate. He has also trained in Hapkido, Combat Judo, Arnis, Awayan, and Aikido.

His educational background includes degrees in English, Business, and Organizational Communication with additional work in Psychology and Behavioral Science. Lee took on the title of President of the Institute with the untimely passing of Dr. Thompson.


Conflict is inevitable and success favors the prepared mind.




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