Pi fashions a shield from a turtle shell to protect him during these training sessions. On his first attempt Richard Parker charges him and knocks him into the water. Terrified, Pi swims to the raft and stays there in shock for a whole day and night. Pi explains that the tiger didn’t really want to kill him, as animals generally prefer to avoid violence. Pi tries this again four times, and each time Richard Parker knocks him into the water. On the fifth try Pi backs down at the right time, and then begins making the tiger seasick. After this Richard Parker never strikes him again.
This is the only real physical contact Pi makes with Richard Parker, and it is a reminder of the tiger’s awesome power. Richard Parker at least respects Pi’s boundaries even as he lashes out, for Pi can always retreat to his raft. Richard Parker is only fighting to defend his own territory – Pi is the one seeking to shift the boundaries between their respective domains.