Martially Nonviolent Education

Culturesmith offers a methodology-attuned aikido-based developmental curriculum that teaches children to practice peace as though it were a martial art. By methodologically attuned, we mean that the curriculum is oriented around particular pedagocial approaches such that the conflict training curriculum introduced to any combination of your facullty, staff, children, and parents is appropriate to your public, charter, private, parochial, Montessori, Waldorf school environment.


Examples of existing curriculum include:


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 bodies and thoughts as though it were a martial art, because peace is not the absence of conflict but the ongoing practice of conflict done well.

The scope and Montessori foundation for our work is suggested by these articles 

From Dr. Montessori's work:

A Remedy for War
Thoughts on Peace and Education

By Maria Montessori
Edited and Adapted by Mark Shepard


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From the work of a previous director of training programs for Montessori Teachers in India, A.M. Joosten's, extension of Gandhi's principles:

Excerpts from "Nonviolence and the Child"

A.M. Joosten


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One of many contemporary attempts to answer "What Are The Real Benefits of Sending a Child to Montessori?":

What Are The Real Benefits of Sending a Child to Montessori?

Tim Seldin


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A response to the global needs reflected by such organizations as the United Nations, for instance in the 3rd Peace Salon in Paris at the Museum of Science and Industry in 2008:

AMI Montessori United Nations NGO and UNESCO Montessori UN Decade on Peace and Non-Violence for Children

AMI Intl. Inc.


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For the past 100 years Montessori education has focused on preparing the environment and the developmental aspects of practicing peace on a daily basis which have been successful on many levels.  Schools are ready for more extensions.  It is encouraging, for instance, to know that “students carried a flag with two doves, sang peace songs, recited a peace pledge and said ‘may peace prevail on Earth’ in nearly about a half dozen or so languages” this year (2010) to celebrate The International Day of Peace. 

Students at Seabrook schools celebrate nonviolence

Robert Goddard Montessori and French Immersion pupils embrace international day of peace



Liz Skalski



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But ritual needs to grow out of  real understanding.  Our curriculum gives sensory understanding of  ‘making peace’ – how peace is made by each individual.  As in all things Montessori, materials, lessons, and habit forming practices make the presence of peace a more concrete and lasting reality so that children and staff alike may leave the ordered environment and carry the order they love, learn, and teach into the much higher stress areas of conflict in the home and beyond.


Montessori guides are hungry for more training that extends their understanding as well as directly applicable lessons and practice.  It is appropriate that this training come from a Montessori-child-grown-up.  The Culturesmith curriculum known as Martial Nonviolence, developed by Brandon WilliamsCraig, takes to the next level “Montessori’s key ideas about creating a culture of peace by working on creating ‘peaceful environments’ where children can experience peace daily at home, their schools and communities.” (AMI-UN) This emerges through sharing specific applications with faculty and staff (through in-service training and consultation), parents (through evening and weekend workshops), and children (in the classroom and dojo) that go beyond the basic training in behavior modification and innovations like the “peace table” to offer the children appropriate ways to direct their physical aggression and emotional upset.  Following the child, rather than subtly (and not so subtly) saying, “Don’t do that,” we suggest,  “When you would like to hit/attack/throw/fall, this is a way to do so in a safe and creative way.”  Since what we do is what we learn, it makes sense that we should practice Peace together with no less dedication and focus than one might practice, for instance, a martial art.


One of Brandon WilliamsCraig's Aiki Extensions colleagues, Charles Colten, is one of the foremost experts offering aikido in tandem with elementary education.

Around the country and around the world aikido professionals are realizing similar advances in a way that benefits the children in their dojos.


Imagine what might be possible if not only aikido but an entire system of peace-making behaviors became as common a practice as learning to read. This is where we are headed, and it will transform the classroom into the safe place it was meant to be so that our children may once again find their way into the future with the confidence that only comes when they are supported by their community.


To inquire further, please

Please make contact any of these ways

brandon at culturesmith dot com

Please call 972-503-6991 to schedule face-to-face client/consultation times.

or leave a comment below to let us know what you need.

We will be back to you in a flash!


Frequently Asked Questions


What elements comprise your system and for whom is it designed?

In order to directly address the issues that concern you most, like bullying and classroom safety, Culturesmith offers a developmental Peace Practices curriculum based in Martial Nonviolence (MNv), which creates an ordered environment based on the Japanese dojo in which children and adults practice peace as though it were a martial art. Presupposing the pedagogical system originated by Dr. Maria Montessori, Martial Nonviolence is a Process Arts which combines aikido, theater improvisation, and facilitation skills. The curriculum is ready for persons as young as six years of age and may continue to be practiced and deeper expertise developed regardless of age. All that is required is the capacity to communicate, the realization that conflict may be done poorly or well, and the decision to practice the latter.


What happens if we express interest?

Brandon WilliamsCraig makes contact to respond to your questions personally and address any concerns. Then we schedule a free introductory meeting which must include all persons involved in making the policy and financial decisions to begin working together. If the Faculty and Staff involved in that introduction wish to move forward, a proposal is created which includes projections having to do with curricular scope, depth of practice, people participating, and cost.


Can our group begin with a portion of your offering without fully including it in our curriculum?

Absolutely. If you would like to have us present an in-service, or targetted training, one can be created to address your needs directly. We also design and offer facilitated processes, from emergency interventions to long-term consulting and safe-school in-services, which deliver specific exercises guaranteed to improve your capacity for working through conflict.





In-School Conflict Training Resources


Shaping the Brain with Redirection



This work is deveoped in consultation with educators from each approach and supported by the Bay Area non-profit 501(c)3 Association Building Community.


Association Building Community


Founded in 1999 and incorporated in 2001, ABC operates as a fiscal sponsor for community building initiatives and as an intentional distributed community devoted to developing the Process Arts for social justice and conflict facilitation training.


Toward this end they conduct public and private dialogues, such as the community conversations in 2010 with Huston Smith and Brandon WilliamsCraig, as well as connecting Process Arts professionals with individuals and groups ready to work through conflict toward peace. Peace is impossible without conflict done well. Every minute/dollar donated to ABC deepens and strengthens the sustainable capacity of your community to respond creatively to difficulty and difference.


Please visit their website to learn more...







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Ideas 01


IM: Dividing class into "random" groups (breaking up friends) for 20 min each day to talk about what it would be like if one child didn't have toothpaste, shampoo, etc. Sometimes topics were more wide ranging but not personal enough to create profound vulnerability. Expanding children's relationships with each other to make cliques porous, practice respect. Each child gets to experience profound difference in others and be fully heard. Bullying was profoundly reduced in British schools employing this program.


LR: Story about workig with family, hearing each participant, and transition into each child performing on the piano and being appreciated. Beginning with something appreciated. In a classroom, children might be encouraged to tell the group a story about something recent which they truly enjoyed. Did anything happen lately that bothered you?


BW: developental model

3-6ish games first

5-7ish getting in to the story and being ready (to act a role, be a "martial artist")

6-9ish conflict practice

10-13ish process art



Responses 01


Lecturing to the kids before trying things might be a problem.

Abused underpriv child and what that looks like in the classroom. Hearing about good things in other people's lives makes the underpriv feel horrible.

Leaving children open for bullying. Kids can be ruthless and heartless and find others' expressions wanting.

Never mention the world "bullying."

Bullying starts in pre-school.

Connecting kids to others. What do you think it is like for them? Compassionate connection to the greater world is a must.

Who gets to learn how to take care of themselves well? This sounds like a middle class kids in private schools thing.

Class - a central theme against which a truly useful curriculum must be measured. What would it take to serve the poorest children with this work?