Much is said about the value of empathy and the need to cultivate habits of nonviolence which lead to Peace. At the same time, it is very rare to find truly humane and co-creative environments which insist on the daily practice of peace in order to actually achieve this end. Through the local non-profit, Association Building Community, the Peace Practices curriculum was offered for the first time in 2009 at The Renaissance School, a Montessori learning environment in Oakland, CA. We opened a door there through which even the most scattered and conflicted children and families walked to learn habits of peaceful interaction. Peaceful ways of working through conflict and difference have always been one of the traditional pillars of learning and of Montessori education in particular.
In May 2014 we received three years of international funding and began the next phase, our local launch in partnership with Pacific Rim International School in Emeryville and San Mateo, CA. In 2016, we began working with Beacon Day School in Oakland. For more, please visit Association Building Community's Peace Practices page. In 2016, the second of three years of promised funding, the foundation supporting us failed, and we became unable to support our administration. Some classes continue, but our infrastructure had to be disassembled while we search for a more sustainable funding model. Now is the ideal time to offer your support and help us multiply our impact.
Brandon WilliamsCraig, Ph.D. is co-founder and CEO of the Bay Area nonprofit, Association Building Community (ABCglobal.net). He has extensive experience with private and public educational institutions, works in corporate leadership positions, offers leadership and facilitation training, and has provided conflict management and community mediation services since 1998. His academic teaching and research focuses on the embodied psychology of belief and the narrative construction of culture.
Brandon Sensei is a 5th degree blackbelt in aikido and Founder/Chief Instructor of Free Aiki Dojo and Golden Bears Aikido at UC Berkeley. His students learn to Embody Nonviolence through somatic conflict resolution, traditional aikido techniques paired with language and improvisation that results in Conflict Done Well. This body-based conflict facilitation method, also called Martial Nonviolence, is the heart of the Peace Practices curriculum being offered by ABC and practiced by students from four to 84 years of age. He resides in California with his wife and two children, and teaches nationally and internationally as his executive duties permit.
In my experience, Aikido can help students in several ways no matter their age. At least the following apply:
For School-age Children
In-school Conflict Training
Using Montessori philosophy and Approach to the Child, we offer an aikido-based developmental curriculum that teaches children and adults to practice peace together with their ...
As long as there have been martial arts, a minority of practitioners have carried forward the work of directly applying the conflict skills learned on the mat to situations that reach well beyond. Aiki Extensions, for instance, is an excellent contemporary example of aikido practitioners joining together to amplify the purpose of that art, as made explicitly clear by the founder, making a martial art into a process art for the benefit of the world.