Convener(s): Matilda

Participants: May, Shelley, Stella, Lucy, Angela, Paschale, Mary, Cobna, Angela, and many, many other fighting spirits.

Summary of discussion, conclusions and/or recommendations:

This session came out of someone at the close of Saturday saying, amidst all the positive feedback, that they were disappointed that there had not been more fighting. 

During the session we wrestled physically, but not much verbal combat took place, although we talked a lot, agreeably, about disagreements. Some people found the idea of verbal fighting more challenging than having a physical fight and other people felt the other way round.


Here are some thoughts that came from the discussion and the fights that happened:

-This event is called ‘Devoted and Disgruntled’ – the ‘Disgruntled’ bit is important.

-Fighting is edgy. It points to an edge and can provide the energy that is needed to go over that edge. It is exciting. It signals huge passion.

-People’s different attitudes towards fighting, physical or verbal, are strongly influenced by the place of arguments/ lack of arguments in their families when growing up.

-Fighting can be about the play of it, not about winning. About engagement and passion.

-How could we make a place for safe verbal fights in D&D? Have an argument boxing ring, a specific place can step in and out of, for when ‘hot spots’ arise?

- We discussed the importance of ritualized combat.

- Can ritualized combat sometimes support the status quo? It provides a structured outlet, a safety valve for the (dangerous) energies that would otherwise lead to change?

- The definition of community is of a group that can contain dissent, not of a group that all agrees (That’s a gang perhaps? – a group whose identity rests on same-ness and on the source of conflict lying outside themselves in ‘the other gang’).

- What happens in the room when people are wrestling… how does this affect other groups? The group next door, talking about what kind of women they wanted to see on stage asked us to be a bit quieter. But also these wrestling women may be the ones wanted on stage….watch this space.

- It was different when the women fought to when two men fought – it felt more scary/ edgy when then men fought.

- We tried a ‘group fight’- personally I find the one on one engagement in a fight much more satisfying!

- Open Space is meant to work best when there is the potential for great conflict. The group collectively negotiates the passion present and in the peace seems to break out.

-Fights can invite/ stimulate high performance, unprecedented strength, ideas, creativity.

- You can role play arguments – can take up a position you do not necessarily ordinarily believe. 

-Phelim used to run a group called ‘Cooking Chaos,’ as influenced by Arny Mindell’s World Work. Maybe this, or something like it, should start up again?