Thumb Wrestling

Thumb wrestling 1For a quick experience (5 minutes or so) to get into the topic of conflict resolution and getting to win/win solutions, thumb wrestling is hard to top.  No equipment or preparation is needed, so it is a ready and accessible tool in the toolbox!

Call for a volunteer to join you in thumb wrestling.  Demonstrate for the entire group how to link fingers and then what it looks like to pin the other’s thumb.  Say you will give everyone 20 seconds (get a volunteer time keeper) to get as many points as they can.  As soon as a thumb is pinned register the point and start over.  Have everyone pair up, then begin.

While everyone is wrestling tell the person you are with to take turns with you, each pinning the other in term as quickly and as many times as you can in 20 seconds–sometimes about 20 points each!

Thumb wrestling 2At time ask how many got 3 points or more, for high scores ask the score of the other person.  Then demonstrate with your partner how many points you got.  (If another pair did something similar on their own, invite them to the front to demonstrate).

Then you can get into the discussion about win/lose approaches to conflict (or lose/win–I let the other person win because it’s a stupid game and they have a longer thumb than me!), but how in so many conflicts these become lose/lose.  The alternative is win/win, where together we got far more points than those taking an adversarial approach.


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