Welcome Threat

“It feels good to be threatened.”

That off-the-cuff comment was made by my buddy; retired professional fighter Dave Castillo once the stop watch timer went off at our gym; Competitive Edge.  Our grappling training round had just ended, and Dave narrowly avoided his training partner’s aggressive submission hold.  I nodded my agreement while wiping my hand across my face in an attempt to determine if the blood on the mat was mine (it was) and if it was coming from my face (it was).  I, too, had just survived a fairly intense match with my long-time training partner, Arlo.

Dave was referencing the emotional payoff most fighters experience after a competitive sparring session.  Actively confronting the threat of losing in a very real way is a bit of a rush; especially when you make it through the threat and wind up on top.  I’d just made it through a friendly, albeit competitive roll unscathed.  Well, save for the bloody lip Arlo gifted me.  It felt great!  I recognize while typing this it might come across like I’m posturing as some type of “tough guy.”

Tex Predator

Rest assured; I am not a tough guy and I don’t “have it rough” by any stretch. I sleep on Minky Couture blankets, sip the occasional mocha latte, and I make a good living sitting on my butt in an air conditioned office.  I come home every night to a loving wife, my parents never abused me, and I sat down to pee this morning.  I’m no Gladiator.

With that said, Dave’s remark about a physical threat feeling good landed with me. I thought about it all day.  I have spent well over a decade sparring with my friends at least a couple times every week.  Fighting and getting roughed up is normal and enjoyable; at least when I’m the one roughing folks up. Then, along comes Covid 19 and that outlet gets cut off for two months due to social distancing.  The absence of a physical threat in my life had made my heart grow fond.  I’d missed it!  The value that comes from challenging yourself, within reason, is optimal for well-being. Tyler Durden was on to something. Fight Club

Do you, dear reader, think this might be true for  you?

Grappling with Corona Chaos

Corona virus

I have never experienced anything like the effect Covid 19 has had on all of us. There are times in my life that have been scary, and day-to-day living has been altered, but not like this. Most of us don’t have a frame of reference for Covid 19. I was young, but I remember the fear of nuclear attack towards the end of the Cold War. Y2K generated a lot of anticipatory fear, but the smart folks of the world remedied that. 9/11 ramped up fear, uncertainty, and certainly generated world-wide changes that continue today. I’m not proclaiming Covid 19 as worse or better than the other events I mentioned, but it does set a new social-behavioral precedence for every living person on Earth.

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People that know I am a mental health therapist often ask my take on various things that we are confronted with in society. I have been asked my opinion on mass shooters, terrorists, sexual abuse, substance abuse and addiction in general; a little bit of everything. There are actual experts way more qualified than I am in those fields, but several people in my life still seem interested in my take on the darker side of contemporary life. Nobody has asked me my opinion about Covid 19 from a mental health perspective, yet. Once again, I’m not qualified to give an informative answer because I am right in the middle of it. I haven’t had the luxury of being well outside the perimeter of a given event; like a mass shooting. The perimeter or “blast zone” of Covid 19 is global. I couldn’t possibly render an objective, informed opinion on the toll this has taken on mental health worldwide, so I’ll just share my personal experience.

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First and foremost, I’m lucky enough thus far that my loved ones have not been directly impacted by the disease caused by the Corona Virus. I assume my luck to be short lived, based on the forecast of the epidemiological prognosticators. As of March 26th of 2020, I have lived in a bubble that has been free from the virus. That gives the illusion of being outside the perimeter of the disaster; akin to being on the outside, looking in. Most of us were on the outside looking in to disasters such as the Twin Towers collapsing or the Columbine High School mass shooting. There are a lot of people in my personal life still fooled in to thinking they are outside the perimeter of this growing disaster. Lots of scoffing and eye-rolling at those of us taking heed of the advice of epidemiologists. I absolutely understand this skepticism, as I’m usually right at the tip of the skeptical spear when the media tells me to be afraid of something. I still grapple with competing thoughts that generate ambivalence, i.e. “I’m not falling for the media’s bullshit.” and then minutes later, “Brace yourselves!

Corona is coming

… and then, back to, “Nah, it’s probably bullshit.”Unfortunately, the psychological buffer provided by “being on the outside looking in” to this particular disaster will be short-lived. We are all within the perimeter of this growing disaster; Covid 19. While I do recognize my own ambivalence about the seriousness of Covid 19, my wife and I are erring on the side of caution. We have both let fear and anxiety guide our behaviors; albeit in a fairly measured way. Letting fear guide behavior sounds bad, and a good chunk of my career is spent helping people work through irrational self-limiting fear.

With that said, tuning in to what’s driving the fear is not necessarily a bad thing. Fear is a survival response. Fear tells us to make changes; to be prepared. My wife was on top of this pandemic well before it ever came to the United States, so we saw it coming. Fear allowed for us to prepare. Fear led to hitting the grocery store well before everybody else. Yes, we got a reasonable amount of toilet paper. Despite the financial hit, fear encouraged me to temporarily shut down a lot of our company’s services so as to not contribute to the spread. Fear has led to me consuming massive amounts of data on Covid 19. Feeding my need for the most up-to-date knowledge temporarily abates that fear. Fear led to my second firearm purchase, and then fear of my inadequate knowledge of how to win a gun fight led to my mass consumption of information on laws, tactics, and home defense preparedness. While consuming all this information, I quickly realized those Doomsday Prepper-type folks are sitting pretty right now. My observation of the “Prepper’s” preparedness juxtaposed with my overall reliance on the luxury of living in a First World country generated more fear. Yet again, I’m trying to use that fear as motivation to access needed knowledge and make arrangements for the worst case scenario.

My Precious.jpg

My .45

I have definitely experienced some of the downsides to fear as well. I was two hours in to a YouTube rabbit-hole consisting of survivalist and self-defense videos when I hit pause on the video I was watching, rubbed my screen-strained eyes, and had a good laugh at my own expense. I was rewatching a video made by some Green Beret bad ass called something like, “How to RELOAD on the RUN!” What is this, Mad Max? Not quite. Entertaining, to be sure; but productive? No.

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Fear has also turned me in to a fat-boy. I wasn’t eating great the last few months as it is, but my diet is worse now more than ever. Food provides comfort. The more fat and sugar in the food, the more comfort that food seems to generate. Oreos are becoming a problem. I need to make better food choices.

Fear has also led to me resenting those people with a cavalier, dismissive attitude towards Covid 19. Resenting the “it’s all media hype” people in my life is not helpful if they pick up on my resentment. If I let my irritation color my interactions with the less-worried loved ones in my life, what are the chances they’ll come around and see it my way? Not very good. People push back and become defensive when others angrily accuse them of not behaving a particular way. Every action has an equal and opposite reaction, therefore, force-feeding somebody the moral virtue of “social distancing” predictably leads to the rebound effect of toilet-seat licking Spring breakers “bravely” posting their exploits to Instagram. Fear is at the core of my impulse to give those folks a Purell-soaked slap across the face; but that isn’t effective.

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So, what is effective? What can we do to mitigate fear, remain productive, and not lose the core of who we are? What can be done to retain normalcy and generate productivity as we upend our lives in this global call for social distancing? The answer is to reestablish your routine. How do we establish a routine when so much has changed? We are being called upon to stay home. This has wreaked havoc on all of our day-to-day routines. Our employment routine has changed. Work is different, now. Leisure is different. Family events are different. Everything familiar has been upended. When all that you know is topsy-turvy, fear becomes our default setting. The unpredictability and lack of answers tend to make fear the lens through which we process our daily reality. Fear becomes the scaffolding upon which we construct our plans for the future. Ultimately, chaos is what we fear.

Order is the antidote to chaos. Structured routines and behavioral patterns create the foundation of order. Find some way, small as it may be, to plug a routine in to your life. This routine needs to be something that helps you feel happy and productive. This sounds obvious, but is tough in our current Covid-climate. If you know me or have been a reader of Killer J for any amount of time, you probably know I like lifting weights and love submission grappling/jiu jitsu. Well, as you know, everything is shut down. Two of the things that bring passion and enjoyment to my life are now more difficult to accomplish. If not for my belief in the value of establishing a routine, it’d be easy for me to rationalize my inability to train jiujitsu with my friends as “non essential” and just wait until this blows over. I’d be miserable within a week.

Fortunately, I’ve been able to establish a routine in spite of these barriers. This routine has been made possible with a little bit of ingenuity on my end, and a whole lot of generosity coming my way from friends, family, and complete strangers. My good friend Arlo owns a gym (Competitive Edge Fitness), and he let me borrow mats and a Kettlebell. My parents contributed further by letting me scavenge some of their home gym, which provided me an Olympic bar, a flat bench, and roughly 200 lbs. in weight. Legendary jiujitsu coach, John Danaher, rounded things out for me. In response to this Covid 19 pandemic, he released a free, four volume video on solo jiujitsu drills for all of us rendered unable to train together. My wife and I now have the ability to keep with our routine of going to the gym, and even better, she’s actually started to get on the mat with me and learn jiujitsu!

Although we live in uncertain times, routine provides us solace, normalcy, and fun. Our future success depends on it.

Katchie pushing my vehicle while rocking flip flops! Savage.

Democrats: Tuck Your Chin!

The Democratic National Committee (DNC) ought to learn to tuck their chin if they plan on beating the Republican National Committee (RNC) in 2020.  The DNC needs to learn to effectively defend against the RNC; which is also an acronym for rear naked choke.  “Tuck your chin!”

RNC defense tuck chin

Tuck your chin!

Jiujitsu’s true beauty lies in the reality that I cannot hide my weaknesses.  Not for long, at least.  Every time I step on the mat, my ability to perform is under the spotlight.  The culture of jiujitsu places significant emphasis on live competition. Whether it’s training or competition, I have found a competitive “roll” against somebody fully intent on beating me shines a spotlight on my strengths and weaknesses in decisive fashion.  I can’t help but recognize my glaring weaknesses every time I tap out.  There’s something very real about getting strangled, as I’m left with the options of tapping out or losing consciousness.  This is incredibly valuable because it allows me to quickly identify and fix any errors in my technique that allowed my opponent access to my neck. I’ve learned self deception, excuse making, and shifting blame for losing temporarily makes me feel okay about losing, but ultimately hinders me in the long run.  When I lose, it’s my fault. I’m doing something wrong and I need to fix it.  Simple concept.

Don’t get me wrong.  In no way are jiujitsu players somehow exempt from self-deception.  We have all made excuses to preserve our ego on the mat from time to time.  We manufacture reasons as to why we lost rather than taking accountability for having sub par technique.

“He was too aggressive.”
“He muscled that submission hold rather than using good technique.”
“The mat is too slippery.”
“That guy was physically fresher than me.”
“She was too sweaty to arm bar.”
“It’s too hot/cold/early/late for me to fight effectively.”
“I lifted weights before I came otherwise I’d do better.”
“I injured my _________ so that’s why I didn’t perform well.”
“I’m hungover today, so I’m not at my sharpest.”
“She only triangle choked me because she’s flexible.”

Everybody lies to themselves from time to time.  Training jiujitsu regularly, however, can really help with this. Many of the lessons learned on the mat have helped me transcend the lesson and apply it to my personal life.

This is why the democrats need to train jiujitsu. The current DNC front runners as well as most of the media make a habit out of slamming Donald Trump supporters as racist, sexist, Nazis, transphobes, and ultimately, deplorable people.  When Trump won in 2016, the explanation du jour was the USA is full of sexist racists.  If the democrats lose again, they will once again blame the bigotry of Trump supporters, and for that matter, the USA at-large.

A large percentage of moderates in this country are not on board with “woke” identity politics. The DNC would do well to realize a large portion of society does not necessarily agree with (or even like) Trump but absolutely do not endorse “woke” politics.  My vote is very much up for grabs.  A moderate, normal Democrat (RIP Tulsi and Yang) could, for the first time in my life, snag my vote.  The current DNC front runners, however, seem to be doing everything they can to deep-six a huge percentage of moderates like me in favor of catering to the small-yet-loud fringe.

Democrats, if you care to listen:

  1. Quit focusing on Trump.  We get it.  He’s a dick.
  2. Cease the incessant vitriol towards civilization’s boogeyman; the straight white male.
  3. Being on the other side of the aisle from Trump doesn’t automatically grant you the moral high ground.  Listen and then Steel Man the arguments of your political opponents rather than construct a straw man of those arguments.
  4. Reclaim the beautiful virtue of focusing “not on the color of skin but on the content of character” and unite our damaged country! Are there any remaining DNC candidates willing to do this?
Unity

United We Stand, Divided We Fall

In summary, if I blamed my opponent for having lanky arms that unfairly slipped under my chin every time he choked me, I’d never learn to tuck my damn chin!
Democrats: Focus on shoring up your own policies and understand woke identity politics will get you no closer than the front lawn of the White House.  There’s a lot of us out there waiting and willing to grant you the vote, but you haven’t earned it yet.  We’re listening.

Deep Time

 

Time is one of the most important resources we have. I value my time; a trait I share with most everybody I know. Anything regarded as a waste of time is often quickly dismissed, or met with disdain. Reebok taught us, “Life is short, play hard.”

Reebok

As it turns out, I am a pretty efficient guy. I have most of my week planned out in advance in terms of appointments, meetings, and tasks.  All the things I have decided matter to me are structured and prioritized so that I have the time to get them done.  There’s a lot of stuff I’m trying to cram in to the 80’ish years I have on this planet.

All of that seems to count for nothing when I consider time from a geological perspective. 14 billion years. That is just about how long the universe has existed; at least from what the current best and brightest say. I was a dinosaur nerd when I was little, so I have had that number bouncing around my orange dome for most of my life.  The thing is, this staggering amount of years isn’t really comprehensible to us because we just don’t have the ability to truly contemplate how long 14 billion years is. I have been doing some reading the last couple years and have come across various explanations that truly paint the picture of deep time.

Try this exercise as you are reading this: fully extend one of your arms out to the side of your body. Your arm represents the timeline starting from the beginning of the universe until today. Let your chin demarcate the beginning of the universe, and the very tip of your finger tip as today. Dinosaurs didn’t even come into existence until about where your wrist is. Humans showed up about halfway up your fingernail. Here is where things get a little nutty. If you were to run a fingernail file one time over your fingernail , the filings from that one stroke of the file would capture the whole of recorded history, including the Egyptians, Babylonians, Romans,, etc, up through the present day. Just one stroke of the nail file captures humanity’s entire written historical record.

Here’s another one. If we mapped all of time on to a calendar, meaning that the Big Bang happened on January 1st at midnight, then dinosaurs didn’t come into existence until mid-December, modern humans showed up December 28th, and all of humanity’s recorded history happened about 90 seconds before the end of the year on December 31st.

COSMIC CALENDAR

It is cliche to say that life is short, but cliches exist for a reason. If I play my cards right, I might have another 40 to 50 years left. Life is truly over in less than a blink of an eye on the geological time scale. When I consider my life span stacked up against deep time, it is pretty easy to feel insignificant. Humans like to feel as though they matter and I am no different.

At the same time, there is a palpable release of pressure when I consider just how little the things I am currently stressing about actually matter in the grand scheme of things. Trying to comprehend deep time is dizzying when considering the sheer magnitude of it all. Can we learn to embrace this disorienting effect?

Crazier still is the realization that the universe will eventually come to an end. One day, the last star in the universe will expend its fuel, collapsing in on itself. The remaining light trapped at the final event horizon will serve as the universe’s last call. That light, too, will eventually extinguish, and with it, all that ever was.

event horizon

We must accept this reality, however, the value is in the way we process it. At first glance, the magnitude of deep time juxtaposed with our blink of an eye lifespan is some pretty depressing shit. If the whole of written human history can be visualized in whatever filings come from the scrape of a nail file, then the biggest potential accomplishment I will ever achieve will likely never transcend the subatomic level.

Thinking about this has me even more convinced that time is the most important resource we have.  Reebok had it right. Life is short.  Play hard!

 

Shower Thoughts

Animals smell better than us. We just think we smell good because we shower. Can you imagine what people would smell like if they had the same access to a shower that a raccoon has? The thing is, you really can’t smell a raccoon until you are right up close to it, and then you get the musty forest animal smell. What would you smell like if you never rinsed off in the shower other than whatever the occasional rainstorm rinsed off? I know from working at the jail that once somebody starts to get into the one to two week range without a shower, I smell them from ten feet away, and it’s ghastly. If it only takes a human a couple weeks to become entirely rancid smelling to the rest of us humans, then how do we smell to our olfactory enhanced animal friends? Can you IMAGINE how our unshowered ancestors must have smelled to a fox or a bear?

Animals just don’t get quite that smelly. You can’t count a skunk because that is a defense mechanism for which they have control. Don’t say a pig because the only reason they are covered in shit is because we stick them in an enclosure with a bunch of other pigs unloading their bowels everywhere. In the wilderness, Hogs have room to roam and therefore not be covered in shit in its natural state.

That leaves, what, ferrets? They smell pretty bad. The thing is, I will cuddle a ferret, but I’m not cuddling the smelly guy that lives in a tent by my office. I might throw him a ten spot, but I’m keeping my distance.

Razor

Fake news, propaganda, and conspiracies seem more prevalent than ever. Our news feeds are rife with different sources offering widely varying accounts of the same event, with the explanations offered to us for the given event suspiciously aligning with the political bias of the source. This has had the effect of clouding my judgment. What is the real story? How can we know? Often, we can’t know.

I have stumbled across a three bladed razor that may help cut through the shit. This isn’t the overpriced Mach 3 razor developed by the obnoxiously “woke” Gillette company, rather, this three bladed razor is an amalgamation of three philosophical reality seeking razors; Occam’s, Hanlon’s, and the razor credited to the late, great Hitchens.

Occam’s razor suggests that when we are faced with two explanations for an occurrence, the explanation that requires the least speculation and least amount of assumptions is usually correct. The more elaborate the explanation, or the more speculation that goes in to explaining the occurrence, the less likely it’s correct. When in doubt, the simplest explanation is the best choice.

The conspiracies surrounding 9/11 are a good example. One explanation for 9/11 is that 19 religiously delusional hijackers flew airplanes in to buildings. Another explanation is that our government orchestrated an inside job that would require secrecy of quite a few people extended over a long period of time. It would also require explosives be placed in buildings without anybody noticing, and various other incredible logistical demands in order for the inside job to happen and remain secret for the last eighteen years. Both explanations are possible, but the “inside job” explanation requires more steps for it to occur.

Hanlon’s razor is the second blade, and it posits the idea, “When in doubt, never attribute malice to that which can be explained by stupidity.” A lot of the divide our country is experiencing politically is due to our tribal nature. Some people on the right wing are convinced anybody espousing left-wing ideas must be Stalin-incarnate, and in my perception, the left seems to be even more likely to condemn anybody right of center as Hitler 2.0. While there are certainly people alive today that are more than willing to throw their political opponent in the gulag or outright extirpate them from the Earth, I truly believe the vast majority of the people spouting off about their social policy du jour are simply stupid. Myself included! I would like to think my political opinions have been arduously forged in the belly of a University library; with each tenet of my beliefs having passed through a rigorous methodology derived from the scientific method. The reality, however, is I probably subconsciously downloaded my worldview from a 10 minute YouTube video a few years back. The quicker you realize that you, the reader, are just as dumb as me and misinformed, we can stop hating each other.

Hitchens razor rounds out our epistemological hat-trick, stating “That which is asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence.” Have you received that email about your long-lost cousin of Nigerian royalty that needs you to Western Union them money to get them out of a jam, and that you would be repaid for your generosity to the tune of 25 million dollars once they are freed from the jam your loan provides? My dad and I used to mess around with those people rather than just deleting the email. Anytime we would ask them for proof, we got stonewalled, rebuffed, and redirected. If they generate as lofty a claim as being not only related to me, but also cut from the fine linens of royalty and in need of my help, then they better have some pretty fantastic clear-cut evidence to substantiate their claim if they expect me to wire them money.

Illegal immigrants steal American jobs? Prove it. Gender is a social construct? Prove it. God says man should marry women only? Prove God.

Look, maybe you can prove one of those things. That proof needs to be in the form of evidence, otherwise, you have nothing. Get to know these razors, and put them to use.

Sumo!

Super_Honda

E. Honda and wide-leg deadlifts comprised the bulk of my Sumo knowledge until this past weekend at Fitcon 2019.  Katchie and I were killing time before I had to weigh in for a grappling tournament the next day, and decided to check out the Sumo wrestling exhibit.  Long story short, the event promoter talked me in to competing right then and there, and a reporter for a local news channel (Fox 13) overheard the invitation for me to compete and ran a story on my experience!

Lucky for me, they threw me in the “lightweight” category.  Unlucky for me, the Mawashi (the diaper looking thing) is basically a handle for my opponent to off balance me.  I laid a big, fat goose egg and came up 0-2 in the tournament.

There’s probably some connection I can make having to do with trying new things and challenging myself, but my true take away is that it is a pretty fun sport and more technical than it looks.

Cultural appropriation accusations be damned, I have my Halloween costume for 2019!

Killer J’s Loose Thoughts Compendium

Calvin-Brain-Dump

Inspiration for blog posts hits me at inconvenient times, but if I don’t get the gist of it down somewhere, I’ll lose it before I get around to writing a blog about it.  The problem is I rarely get around to it, therefore, I have a junk list of ideas written in a haphazard format.

Rather than creating a separate post for each idea like I usually do, I’ll just post the unrefined blurb that zipped through my head while driving to work, or in a meeting, or whatever.

  1. Calligraphy and Kimuras.  Fancy handwriting and attacking somebody’s shoulder joint with a submission hold are worlds apart, but if you want to get good at something, repetition is critical no matter what the endeavor is.
  2. Staying in shape is a series of choices extended over time.  As long as the ratio of good choices far outweighs bad choices, you will probably be in decent shape.  That allows you to continually make choices in any given moment to decide if you want to have a little fun or buckle down and crush it.  If you crush it most of the time, you will probably be pretty happy with the outcome.
  3. Dunbar number  (150 people “close” to us), social media friends list, and the idea that our relationships might be more diffuse and shallow now that we live in a world that is decidedly different than the way people lived for the bulk of civilization.
  4. Teach “zooming out” as a coping technique.  We get too myopic with belief systems, religions, toxic relationships, and addiction-based choices.  Like with religion, when you grow up in a culture that drives the myths and fables home as truth from a young age and that is all you are surrounded by, you can end up holding on to some pretty crazy beliefs when, in other areas of your life, you are logical and rational.  You don’t really realize you hold on to crazy beliefs because of that myopic/near sighted view.  “Zoom out” and examine your beliefs as though you were a scientist discovering a new species.
  5. Fat is flavor and taste.  Aversion to that is based on the repression based mindset, when we should really be listening to our bodies telling us what to eat.  This goes hand-in-hand with ignoring other biological drives like waking up, going to bed, eating past satiation point, and inhibition of sexual drives.
  6. American universities unwittingly give advanced degrees for endorsing psychologically unhealthy concepts.  Hard left politics in our universities preach safe spaces, micro aggression, hate speech legislation, and a focus on the intersectionality of identity politics (race, gender, sexual orientation).  These concepts drive a psychologically unhealthy mindset (external locus of control).  Cognitive behavioral therapy would label most thoughts within that mindset as “cognitive distortions,” also known as thinking errors.  “You offended me!” is not an argument.

Steel Man Your Relationships

Colossus

not my image

Have you ever been in an argument with somebody that doesn’t play fair?  Perhaps they don’t even address the point you’re trying to make, and instead, they twist your words in to something you don’t even mean, and in so doing, they make it look like you’re the jerk?  Of course you have.  We all have.

People use cheap tactics during arguments because they want to win.  You do it and so do I.  Have you ever had somebody argue that you hold a view that is not actually your view?   Instead, they are taking a distorted view of what you believe, twisting your belief in to something bad,  and then arguing that point to show that you’re wrong.

strawman

not my image

For example, John and Dave are debating whether nutrition or exercise is more important for getting in to shape.  When reviewing this example, don’t get caught up in who is actually right or wrong, rather, pay attention to the argument technique Dave uses.

John states, “Nutrition and exercise are both important, but exercise is more important because it actually burns fat and adds muscle.”

Dave states, “Six packs are made in the kitchen, John.  You can’t just dump buckets of grease down your throat all day every day and expect to get in shape because you did a jumping jack.  Clearly you’re wrong.”

So, even though Dave might have a good point about nutrition, he attacked a position that John doesn’t actually hold.  John never said he could get lean by dumping buckets of grease down his throat and doing one jumping jack.  Dave fabricated and exaggerated John’s actual position to make himself right. Dave, therefore, created Straw Man out of John’s argument. Not a good tactic.

We see Straw Man arguments all the time in politics, and it’s destructive when in pursuit of truth.  This can be seen in intimate relationships as well.  If you Straw Man your wife’s argument, you are essentially sacrificing her trust and respect in favor of winning the argument.  Straw Man works well for political enemies if you are clever about it, but is a dick move when it comes to people you love.

Try to Steel Man your next argument with your significant other.  Steel Man, as opposed to Straw Man, is when you state your opponent’s (or wife’s) argument to the best of your ability before you offer up your counter-argument.  When using the Steel Man tactic, you have to actually take her perspective, verbally state her position accurately and to the best of your ability, and then ask her if you are representing her position accurately.  Once you get the affirmative nod from her, then you can proceed to make your argument.

The Steel Man tactic is about as fair as it gets, and is much more likely to lower the defenses of the person you’re arguing with.  When your opponent knows you understand their position and aren’t trying to twist words via Straw Man tactics, they’re much more likely to listen to your point and potentially change their mind.  If they don’t change their mind, then you have at least demonstrated you care enough about their perspective that your relationship survives the disagreement.

Become Colossus, my friends.