Last week I went to this amazing event in Rio de Janeiro. Well, I had the opportunity to know many guys that I never met before and to know other interesting guys as well (most of them users of django, community #django- br on freenode and the mailing list at google groups).
In this event I'd participated of a coding dojo season, since I never had participated of a season before and I would like to know what is that about. That was cool... nothing like a programming contest or a project sprint, like I was thinking of it. The dojo itself is more like a trainning, where a problem is presented to a group of people and then solved using a baby steps approach together with pair programming (from extreme programming) and TDD (test driven development).
Once a pair start presenting a solution and then coding it, they have 7 minutes to move it on. A refactory can be done (since all the tests still passing after that) or then continue implementing the last solution proposed (test first, as TDD dictates). After 7 minutes, the pair is changed.
The main feature of this dojo I liked most is the fact that nobody (except the pair writing the code) can to communicate, they have to wait for the test implementation finishes and executes (passing or failing) to speak something. This leads the public to think carefully about the code/solution that is being write, what is hard if everybody could speak at same time, proposing new solutions or starting complaining about the current solution (your solution could be accepted, but you need to present the advantages or then go ahead and implement it there).
For more information: http://www.codingdojo.org/