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Daewon Debate ChampionshipDebate as a Sport
Written by 임다경 Im Dakyoung | Published. 2018.02.09 17:46 | Count : 1332

In the early morning of Saturday, 20th January, students from various parts of Seoul came together to compete their English debating skills at Daewon Debate Championship 2018. 

[Daewon Debate Championship]

Held at Daewon Foreign Language High School by its own debate club, it strived to provide a platform for various teams to proudly present their debating skills and also an opportunity to improve their debating skills by letting them discuss on a variety of subjects ranging from education to politics. 

The sessions always started with a roll call for all the teams. Everyone was fascinated to hear many unique team names, and ‘Happy Meal’ was one of those that brought friendly giggles that eased tension in the room. After the roll call, the motions were released and teams against were allowed to veto. They then moved on to designated locations around the school building to prepare their case. 

The team ‘for the motion’, also known as the proposition side, was to prepare in the classrooms, and the team ‘against the motion’, frequently called as the opposition side, was to prepare outside. Both the locations were extremely cold without any heating, thus competitors had to shiver in cold while quickly writing down the speech. 

Debaters were given 30 minutes of preparation time to discuss their team’s stance and to prepare their own speech. After which real debate started, with both opposition and proposition teams trying their best to persuade the judicators of their stance whenever they took the podium. 

The round ended with receiving the results and the judicator’s feedback. The competitors returned to the location of the roll call, some of them rejoicing, and some complaining. After 5 rounds, 8 out of 18 teams qualified for finals were announced.

[Team Dream Tickets, who participated in the championship]

Having participated in the event as a member of ‘Dream Tickets’, I was able to experience the tense atmosphere at the debate competition. There was an irony in that both teams against had just met each other not too long ago, but they were already in place to fight and attack each other--without even a simple ‘hello’.

What participants truly could learn from the experience was that debate is a sport itself--a really special one. 

In a debate, a team of 3 speakers are set out on a relay one after another to support the previous teammate and break down the opponents’ links in logic. The main purpose at the end of the day is to persuade the judge that your team has the best policy or belief. However, given the short preparation time that might not be even enough for building up the team’s case, debaters are pushed into the fight with almost impromptu speeches. Often, the fate depends on the debaters’ improvisation and logic.

According to the Oxford dictionary, sport is defined as an activity involving physical exertion and skill where an individual or team competes against another for entertainment. Just like other physical sports like soccer or basketball, debate needs training for the ability to be able to aggressively argue your point and resiliently hang onto teasing and rebutting the opponents’ points. Although debate does not involve direct ‘physical exertion’ itself, it can rather be considered as a sport of the mind. During a debate, one’s mind needs to work laboriously to develop and squeeze out so much information from the brain. Personally, my head always heats up during a debate while trying to whip up good rebuttals. Bonding and teamwork between the teammates are of utmost importance too. 

The strangely exciting tension it gives participants during the session is something most debaters like best about ‘debate’. The sense of achievement they get after they finish their speech successfully is what attracts back many from quitting the sport as well.

Debate is a very special sport, in that a wide range of people--young or old, men or women--can enjoy, as long as they have the passion. Besides, debaters can bring so much benefits, such as public speaking skills and skills in developing logical links, as well as wonderful memories back home. 

‘Debate’ will continue to be a special hobby for many around the globe for years to come--even in the rapidly changing society.



임다경 Im Dakyoung
Seoul Daewang Middle School

임다경 Im Dakyoung  student_reporter@dherald.com

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