em 03 de Julho de 2014
There is no doubt that weapons play a crucial role into fighting. A strong fist is no good against someone with a machete. But this same person with a machete would be no match against someone with a revolver. Well, but a revolver is not good enough against a gangster carrying a semi-automatic machine gun.
Would you get into a fight, it is sure that you would not go barehanded. You would pick the best weapon available possible. And why? Really simple, you want to survive. In another words, you want to WIN. And that is the goal of debating. Debate is about winning.
Thus if we want to win a debate, we sure enough will have the best weapons as possible. “All’s fair in Love and War” by Francis Edward Smedley (1818-1864) is very well applied here. In this article we will learn some techniques (weapons) in order to improve our debating skills. Let´s do this by analyzing these two analogies of “sports”: boxing – chess.
It is a courageous sport, in which we have two sides who will be smacking each other’s face until one of them fails strength. It is unlikely one of the contestants will take down the other one with just one blow. Likewise, the debater should be calm and work his way to victory. It is even more unlikely that the debate will win a debate with just one argument. So, don´t try do to so, and work your arguments slowly but strongly. Keep hitting, keep arguing.
Be agile. A boxer never stays put. A moving target is harder to hit. A static target is much easier to hit. Realize how the boxers move around and around but they never stay put. If they do, they are a sitting duck. Make your strategy and then turn it around. Use the improbable. Don´t let your opponent foresee your moves. Ask one thing, do another, change the directions of where your blow might be coming. Do it and keep the opponent on his toes.
Change the mode of attack. A boxer never attacks beastly and wildly the whole time. He takes turns doing it. Likewise the debater should not only attack but observe. If you just attack you will not realize the mistakes that your opponent might be doing. Use the own weight (errors) of your opponent against him. It is very effective.
Since at boxing the opponents wear gloves, the blows don´t hurt as much but they sometimes can cut the skin of someone. In these cases you can be sure that there will be plenty of blood. Don´t panic. Debates many times are really nasty. They can get a little bit out of hand. It is completely normal. Even though academic debates are nothing else but public speaking practices, be ready in the case you get passionate because you will.
Finally, last but not least. At the end of the match once the bell rings, fight is over. Remember to keep the sportive spirit. It is a sport, so don´t lose points by doing any “ad hominem”. You attack the ideas and never the people.
Chess is all about strategy, perception and cunning. The chess player has the ability to foresee what is coming and act accordingly. The same happens while debating. It is a game where the intellect has to shine in order to overcome someone else’s intellect. Thinking properly is a must while at this game. Thus chess is very similar to debating.
First of all, chess is a game in which the opponents take turns striking the opponent. Such thing happens also while debating where the debaters wait for their turn in order to intervene. It is very important to ponder well the time. So if an argument in a debate is set to last five minutes, don´t speak for three minutes, neither overdo it lasting six minutes. Time is precious. If it is given to you five minutes to develop your thought make sure you speak exactly five minutes.
Strategy is the key word. Don´t do things just for doing them. As at chess every single move must be very well thought, so that the outcome of it will be positive. Every single word must be in harmony with your whole game plan. Doing things for the sake of it is not an option.
Be cunning. Sometimes at chess, there is what is called a sacrifice. It works by sacrificing a piece of lesser value in order to get another of much bigger value. You may sacrifice your pawn, bishop or tower in order to get your opponents’ queen. Or even sacrificing you queen in order to win the game. It prays the lore that some gladiators would let their opponents slash their chest wide open in order to get them closer and then strike a lethal blow. Such thing happens also in a debate when a debater plans to let out a weak argument with the intention of getting a bigger error by the part of the opponent.