Verbal Judo for Beginners

Bobby Knight critic gets pointers on self-defense

The campus cop has just left. Professor of English Murray Sperber sits in his office at Indiana University, mulling the advice on how to protect himself from hotheads. Sperber, 60, figures he had better take two self-defense courses recommended by the cop, including "Verbal Judo," which is designed to help de-escalate potential violence. When he returns to teaching in January, after sitting out a semester to avoid having his teeth knocked out, his name will not appear on course listings. For his own protection, he'll be Professor Incognito.

Sperber's problem is that he can't keep his mouth shut. He sees corruption...

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