The participants split into two groups. One group will be in the “fortress” and the other will be outside trying to get in. Both groups have 15 minutes to prepare a strategy in separate rooms. Additional instructions for the groups For the fortress group: “You decide where your fortress is and what it looks like. Your aim is not to let the other group into the fortress in the first three minutes. After that time, the other group can enter the fortress if they meet the requirements that you set down.” For the outside group: “You are in an emergencyand you desperately need to get into the fortress. You have ten minutes to achieve this.”
- Suggested questions to evaluate the exercise: How do you feel after this exercise?
- What happened? How did you perceive the other side, and how did you perceive your own side? Who made the decisions? How did you agree on what to do?
- How did others influence you?
- Were there any reactions that surprised you (your own and those of others)? What was most difficult?
- What does this experience remind you of? How does it relate to real life?
* Bittl-Drempetic. Gewaltfrei Handeln, p. 390. 390.
This exercise is very complex and demanding because it pits people directly against each other under a time constraint. The confrontation may even escalate into a physical tussle if it is not stopped in time. Because of the course of events, at least some of the participants will come out of the exercise frustrated, which is why emotional evaluation should follow immediately after the exercise. There will be a lot of material for analysis. The exercise mostly demonstrates how resorting to violence is one of the first ideas that crop up in a situation of feeling threatened and how it can quickly lead to distrust and animosity towards the other group. Sometimesa conflict arises within one of the groups due to lack of cooperation and agreement on the strategy. During the evaluation, it is important to guide the discussion away from who started with the violence towards reflection about one’s own triggers that prepare us for violence and about how we react when someone from our group commits violence.