Before I talk any farther about the nature of the debate, I'm going to relate something that involves young Genghis at school last week. Apparently, there was a bit of disagreement during the regular lunchtime cricket game. Genghis denies doing anything to irritate the other party... but I know Genghis, and I'm quite sure he said something, or did something, that must have pissed off the other kid mightily.
That doesn't excuse the other kid, though. The boy in question shaped up, approached, and threw a fist at Genghis's belly. At which point, according to both Genghis and at least one onlooker who actually noticed, Genghis sidestepped and said very clearly: Please don't do that.
I'm sure he wasn't being polite, mind you. He has a very good "I'm extremely pissed off" voice that he uses on his mother regularly, and she hates it. I'm quite sure that he was warning the other boy in a very blunt fashion. And indeed, that was the end of the 'altercation'. The boy who wanted to throw the punch packed up his tents and his camels, and the game of cricket went on.
Now, as a father and a martial arts instructor, I couldn't be happier. This is almost to the exact letter what I hope for from my students. (It could only have been better if Genghis hadn't managed to piss off the other kid in the first place. But he's not quite eleven years old, and he's a bit small for his age, and he's fiercely competitive and he loves his cricket. I expect that at times he's not a perfect angel.) To break it down, Genghis
- Identified an incoming threat
- Avoided the attack
- Used the motion of avoiding the attack to place himself in a superior and defensible posture
- Maintained his distance
- Did not respond aggressively
- De-escalated verbally
- Used his voice very clearly, so that onlookers would know he was not the aggressor