I'm now reading a book...
Ugh. Okay, now that I got that out of the way. Let me see, on to practical, non-physical aikido and verbal blending?!
In aikido, there is the concept of blending. When attacked, an Aikido master will blend with their opponent by moving towards them, slightly off their line of attack so that they are missed by the strike. After this sneaky dodge the Aikido master will do a quick 180 degree turn to find themselves sharing the vantage point of their attacker, without losing their own, of course. From this position, they will have many options and will be much more capable of dispelling the situation, if they so choose.
Now, the book that I'm reading (The Way of Aikido) recommends that we extend this concept of blending to the rest of our lives. For instance, verbal sparring. Many of you, as forumites, are familiar with flaming. In the various MBTI fora, flaming may instantiate itself in the form of mean-spirited & angsty, 'intellectual' debate. The various perpetrators of this activity rarely listen to what others are actually trying to say, and instead, will simply attack for the sake of attacking. Many of them are young and juvenile, full of energy, and ready to pounce regardless of the consequences. Others are old and wise and highly skilled, virtually unbeatable. Most, however, choose not to identify with this subgroup, and rather try and sometimes fail to avoid conflict. If you count yourself as one of these individuals, then perhaps the way of Aikido can guide you along a better path through the thick and dangerous woods of yar interwebs.
Utilizing the concept of blending within verbal sparring is rather easy. First, you must give up your negative, hormone laced feelings. As your opponent's temperature rises, you must become cold like a snake ready to strike, but you won't be striking. When your opponent finally attempts to strike a blow, you blend. How? Empathy. You put yourself in their shoes and you try your best to see the situation or discussion from their vantage point. Once you see exactly what it is that they're on about, then you must share with them the fact that you understand their position. However, you must never lose sight of your own. Empathizing with them won't defeat them, it will only disarm them. They'll be surprised, somewhat confused, and their only recourse will be the act of lateral thinking. Their target may have vanished, but they'll more than likely want to continue to speak, or strike. It is in this act of finding a new target that they'll reason themselves into seeing things your way.
I'm late for class.