First Ever Debate Box Competition

On Thursday 13 October, 6 Year 10 boys from Burlington Danes Academy, White City, participated in a showcase event of Debate Boxing, the first of its kind. The Harrow Club, a youth club in West London, hosted the dinner to raise funds to expand the sport to other schools in the local area. There is a vision to host inter-school Debate Box matches.

The sport involves rounds in a boxing ring but the rounds alternate between physical sparring and verbal sparring. The sport has been pioneered since May 2016 by debating coaches from national charity, Debate Mate, and boxing coaches from the Cuban Boxing Academy.

Philippe Chappatte, a Trustee of the Harrow Club and Partner at law firm, Slaughter and May, said: “The Harrow Club is delighted with the success of this initiative. The young people debated and boxed with equal enthusiasm. To debate at such a young age in front of 200 adults was impressive. With the support of the local Community we were able to raise the funds last night to continue this programme at Burlington Danes and to introduce it to three other schools next year.”

Margaret McCabe, CEO and Founder of Debate Mate remarked: “At Debate Mate we are always looking for innovative ways of engaging young people in debate and our Debate Box programme has proven to be a massive success. The programme focuses on the transferrable skills developed by both boxing and debating: self-confidence, quick thinking, resilience, focus, and determination. Last night the students on our programme demonstrated all of these skills and more, by showing their strength of body and mind. They should be incredibly proud of what they’ve achieved.”

Charles Wallendahl, the Chaplain and an RE teacher at Burlington Danes Academy, commented: “Debate Box has become a huge success as the boys have thrown themselves into innovating a new sport. The boys had never done debating before and without Debate Box might not have engaged with debating. The project was initially designed as a behaviour intervention for boisterous students, and we have seen them mature and become more focused in school as they have thrived in the Debate Box initiative.”