The training started off with a lecture by Robert entitled Arguing Constructively, where he advanced a vision of debate that emphasizes not victory or unilateral achievement, but self-discovery, teamwork, analysis of pressing world issues and building skills that can be used for advocacy. Eight Chinese debaters then put those ideas into practice with a Friday night debate on “This House Would Abolish Capital Punishment.” These brave volunteers put their wit and intelligence on display for hundreds of their colleagues and judging by the audience response, nobody was disappointed. On Saturday and Sunday, Veronika Vlckova and James Edenborough worked with judges on the fundamentals of adjudicating BP style debate, while Robert, Vishal Nangalia and I addressed argument and case construction, refutation, fallacies and several Q&A and interactive sessions. Most of the training materials are available on the Debatepedia at http://wiki.idebate.org/index.php/Beijing_BP_Training
The enthusiasm for debate in Beijing is contagious! Dozens of participants stayed after the training and wanted to talk more about the ideas covered over the weekend. There are already more than 100 teams signed up to debate on the weekend of December 8 in Beijing – in fact interest is so widespread that Gary Rybold, the tournament director, has had to limit the number of teams!