Kung Fu Mediation: A New Approach to Conflict and Negotiation

Mediator Jeffrey Fink Launches Blog Applying Martial Arts Concepts to Negotiation, Mediation and Arbitration

Jun 21, 2013, 10:26 ET from Jeffrey Fink

WELLESLEY, Mass., June 21, 2013 /PRNewswire-iReach/ -- Every personal or business interaction has the potential for conflict. To share ideas from a millennium-old conflict resolution system, Jeffrey Fink has launched a new blog on what he calls "Kung Fu Mediation": the parallels between negotiating and physical conflict (www.kungfumediation.com).  According to Mr. Fink, anyone who has to negotiate, mediate or bring a disagreement before a judge or arbitrator could make use of the insights of Shaolin monks and those who learned from their lineage.

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"Since our bodies are hardwired to fight, we engage some of the same mental and even physical systems in every negotiation as we do in a fistfight," Mr. Fink said.  "Kung fu, taiji and other martial arts can teach us about more than violence. They can provide tremendous insight into nonviolent conflict as well, both in the way people respond to it and in how we can deal with it.  We can express the techniques of the martial artist with words as well as with fists."

Over centuries of study, martial artists have developed definite ideas about conflict, he pointed out.  They recognized that different people approach conflict in different ways, based on their physiology and character, and therefore developed different tools for different people to use.  That is one of the reasons there are so many different forms and styles of martial arts, he said.  Mr. Fink also noted that different styles contain many different kung fu tactics that the martial artist, like the negotiator, stay flexible to adapt to different situations.

Mr. Fink said he was starting by sharing information about the famous five animal-five element system. "Tigers and snakes make great animated characters in kids' kung fu movies," he said, "because they are real archetypes we can call on to explain behavior.  While we are not consciously using techniques in daily negotiations that have cool-sounding names like, 'Tiger Combats Wolf' or 'Snake Strikes Up From the Earth,' we should have something like them in our toolboxes to use when the need arises."

For example, he advises, "Your natural response to conflict may be aggression, but don't go in swinging all the time.  An active arbitrator or judge will shoot you down.  A mediator will separate you out from the other side so you can't further inflame the situation, and your counterparty in a negotiation may respond in kind so you can't reach an agreement.  Blog readers will learn some techniques from the kung fu masters that might show them ways to approach conflict more successfully."

About Jeffrey Fink

Jeffrey Fink is an attorney, mediator and arbitrator in Wellesley, Massachusetts who works primarily with business law and the resolution of family and business disputes.  He also holds a second degree black belt in kung fu.

Media Contact: Jeffrey Fink, Law Office of Jeffrey Fink, +1.781.237.0338, jfink@jfinklawadr.com

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SOURCE Jeffrey Fink