Welcome to Association Building Community!
Since 1999, we have supported individuals and groups making thriving communities. We believe that communities become more sustainable when they practice the process arts (group process design and facilitation) in order to work well through conflict. We support those who practice the making of peace--conflict done well.
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An invitation to help shape our studyDear colleague,
A San Francisco Bay Area NGO, Association Building Community (ABC), is a 501(c)3 which received international funding in 2014 to launch a curriculum called Peace Practices(PxPx). Local sites have included schools in Oakland, Emeryville, and San Mateo, and we will expand to a national application in 2015-16 and an international application in 2016-17. Please see http://peacepractices.org.
We hope to tell the story of our work and demonstrate the benefits of framing the practice of peace as a martial art: an ongoing repetition of physical, verbal, and co-creative practices which allow the practitioner to keep the bodies involved in a given situation safe while refraining from violence and domination of others, even in the face of physical, verbal, and systemic violence. The method within the Peace Practices curriculum is called Martial Nonviolence and combines aikido with language patterns aligned with specific techniques. The practitioner learns to apply whole system strategies to group awareness and participatory leadership.
A study will accompany the project, beginning with a qualitative sample in the mode of depth psychology (a focus on the engagement of imagination to make meaning, understand roles, and co-create culture) to generate a narrative that will both grow the program and choose the appropriate questions for a quantitative study. ABC needs the help of an independent researcher to work with our staff and client sites to structure the study and guide it to completion. The work will begin as soon as the selection process is complete and we have a Study Director in place. If you would like to be a candidate, or know someone you would like to recommend, please contact our staff via (866) 236-0346 or administration at abcglobal dot net.
With gratitude for any suggestions you might offer,
Brandon Williamscraig Ph.D. 4th dan
CEO, Association Building Community
Join Us for Peace Practices and Community Building!
Welcome to the Fall!
We hope this can be a time for grounding, harvesting what has been in progress all through the Summer in order to nourish us in the months ahead. At ABC, we continue in our commitment to you, our community, to Peace Practices, to being centered in our bodies and focused as we build our work together. Will you please bring your best gifts and join us?
New Peace Practices Classes Specifically for You
We are having an inspiring and lovely time with the children, teaching the next generation about conflict done well, but did you know that it's available to you too? We are happy to see more and more parents join us in classes with the students and faculty, and would love to welcome you as well. In addition to Free Aiki Dojo and Golden Bears Aikido classes, we are also now offering Peace Practices for adults on PRINTS campuses. Please read below for details; we'd love to see you there!
You probably already know that Brandon Sensei offers adult classes through Golden Bears Aikido (on campus at UC Berkeley)
and Free Aiki Dojo (hosted by Aikido of Berkeley at 1514 University)
- Mondays 11:30am - 12:30pm
We will now offer classes at PRINTS.
- Tuesdays 6:30-7:30pm
- Wednesdays 7-8am
- Saturdays 10:30am-12pm
The next ones will be:
- Wednesday, October 29th from 5-6pm at the San Mateo campus
- Thursday, November 6th from 5:30-6:30pm at the Emeryville campusPlease give us feedback about these days and times (should the next classes be similarly scheduled?) and stay tuned for each month's new class times. Please also follow Peace Practices on Twitter and get reminders and updates on classes or subscribe/see our public Google calendar here.
ABC Community Building Circlesand Culturesmith Roundtable
In the late 1990s we began offering open, regularly scheduled, facilitated opportunities to join a circle and be heard by others committed to building community on purpose -- for its own sake. We know you've probably already seen the Facebook invitation, etc.(No? Please visit and "Like" us at https://www.facebook.com/abcglobal)but we thought we'd remind you thatWe are offering our Community Building Circle again!
Every second Sunday evening
starting Sunday, October 12th, 5 - 7 pm
followed by the Culturesmith Roundtable, 7 - 9 pm
What is Culturesmith?
Imagine an inquiry with a diverse group of casual and professional cultural critics and change-makers turning over ideas and action together, forming and reforming a therapy of the cultural imagination. Imagine studying and working on the cultures in which you take part every day, such that psychology, religion, martial, liberal, and performing arts, politics, in fact all mythologies (belief systems) are shaped in service to the richness of life and the potential depths of human understanding and planetary stewardship. Would you like an introduction to that imagined conversation, and even to take part in realizing its conclusions? Learn more about Culturesmith here. Facilitated by Brandon Williamscraig Ph.D and other scholars of myth, psychology, and culture.
If the roundtable isn't for you, please come to the Community Building Circle from 5-7 and consider the 7-9 slot to be open space in which to propose a different co-creative process with the input of others present.
What is Association Building Community?
We meet as a community to explore ways of working together to build a deeper sense of community and the process arts (the field of group process design and facilitation) in a structured way. Through rotating facilitation, we both work together (creating projects and performing tasks we agree to complete) and explore individual and group dynamics, discussing what comes up while consciously building community. Learn more about ABC here.
What are the Process Arts?
Processes can relate primarily to the individual (such as meditation), interpersonal dynamics (as refined, for example, by Nonviolent Communication), group processes (e.g. Open Space, World Cafe, and wiki), on up to very large scale systems, such as economic, legal and political structures (e.g. Threebles, Restorative Circles, or Citizen Deliberative Councils). Even more than a list of particular processes though, the process arts are about an awareness that however we are doing something, that is simply one particular way, and we can and often do experiment with doing it any number of other ways. Learn more here.
Request for Support from the Community
Hugo is looking for a new home that is quieter than where he currently lives in the Elmwood district in Berkeley where his upstairs neighbors are disturbing him:
The "Property I am looking for: Ideally i would love to live in a property with a garden and easy access to nature
Price: up to $3000 per month Date of move in: 21st to 31st October
Lease length: until 15th December Location: ideally within driving distance of the dojo (which is on University in Berkeley)
Property size: large 1 or 2 bedroom apartment / cottage / bungalow (about 700 sq ft or more in size)
About the property: Quiet and thoroughly insulated to keep out any noise from any surrounding neighbors … so I can study in peace! Equipped with a kitchen and enough storage space for my bike
About me: I am a responsible 39 year old graduate student from England studying here in the East Bay. Currently I am completing my studies in Health, Leadership and Entrepreneurship before I begin working next year. If you know of any home that fits the description and is being offered for rent, I would be very grateful if you could let me know. I can provide excellent references and evidence I can afford the rent."
Many kind thanks,
(Please email email@example.com to let us know of any options we may pass on to Hugo.)
Copyright © 2014 Association Building Community, All rights reserved.
Peace Practices In Progress
Take part in a dream come true that is getting ready to change the world!
Since beginning to perform in professional theater as a six-year-old Montessori child, Brandon WilliamsCraig has wanted to understand conflict through practice and performance. Aikido and liberal, psychological, and cultural studies gave him the engine to move this process forward and Association Building Community provided the context wherein his method, Martial Nonviolence, has found its expression in the Peace Practices curriculum.
Pacific Rim International School provided the visionary commitment to launch the entire Peace Practices process in the San Francisco Bay Area, which made possible the receipt of international funding and a future which includes both national and international expansion. The dream that one boy inherited from his family, from Montessori, from Paul Baker's ensemble at the Dallas Theater Center, and from his local community became a vision and opportunity. Rather than "peace" becoming passive or a recommendation for other people, Martial Nonviolence practices the language and presence of peace as though it were both a physical martial art and a way of thinking and communicating deeply, as a life practice, shared with each generation, elder and younger learning together in Community.
Martial Nonviolence teaches the body movements and techniques of aikido combined with language that aligns the inner quality of the strategy with the outer deployment of the technique.
For instance, it is possible to execute a technique with muscle, trying to overpower an enemy, and have it fail, and then learn to deploy it by blending with your partner, without forcing, and have it succeed. Getting out of the way of an "attack" can become encouraging your partner to continue their movement, paired with the phrase "tell me more..." (see the photo with the two girls). A listening quality helps to make this transition, so the most common technique in aikido is paired with the spoken words "I'm listening". In this way the child or adult learns deeply through repetition that they can be prepared for both physical and intangible forms of conflict. They also learn that their body and mind can remain balanced and focused, generating options that can work well for everybody, even when they are under serious inner and outer pressure. This addresses bullying, low self-esteem and, eventually, creates conflict facilitators who expect to engage individual, group, and systemic violence with peaceful proposals on their lips, in their hands, and in their hearts.
Martial Nonviolence Introduction+For ParentsParents, staff, faculty, and alumni are warmly invited to attend classes, and many do. They want to know what the children are learning, prepare themselves to be good partners in practicing peace, and judge for themselves if the curriculum is effective. They also will be asked to participate in our studies, and often become quite enthusiastic about tracking their child's and family's progress.
The children bring home what they practice during the day and carry back into the classroom the realities of their family life. Peace Practices are designed as Whole Community Learning because this reality of inter-dependence cannot be escaped and is both frustrating and the ideal fertile ground in which to cultivate the success of everyone involved.
What about practicing at home, on the playground, and other places outside of the dojo?
We make very clear that the physical part of the practice must happen in an environment specially prepared for the work. The following guidelines get consistent repetition:
- Basic practice is careful and slow for quite a while. Please don't play at fast aikido with your friends. Wait to train in the dojo.
- To practice, both people must agree, knowing what permission they are giving. If you don't ask first, or somebody doesn't know what they are saying, wait to practice.
- If there in no soft place on the floor, like mats or padded carpet, wait to practice falling down (ukemi) until you are in the dojo.
What about being attacked by other children?
If someone attempts to hit or grab you, please get out of the way and call an adult right away. Children test their power on each other all the time, with and without martial arts. Minor injuries are common and, in our experience, do not increase with the study of martial arts. We repeat frequently the phrase "aikido protects" and make clear that this includes even those who might seem threatening or aggressive.
What about the practices involved, like hitting and imagining attacks?
Children take to heart and carry with them between school and home what they learn and imagine. Some parents believe that their child might not have conceived of physical conflict until introduced to it in our classes. This is extremely unlikely and, even if it were to happen, is the best possible introduction to a problematic dilemma. The big shift we propose is from saying "Don't Hit!", which does little good in the long term, to making clear that the dojo is the place to learn what hitting is about, with teachers who are attentive and friends who have agreed to stop when asked, and how to make that kind of aggression at least less threatening and at best irrelevant.
Do I need to sign a waiver for my child every session?
Waivers need to be signed for ever particpant (adult and child alike) once to cover all of their future particaption in Peace Practices.
Please become a partner with us in actually building peace!
Thanks very much for your attention.
Community Gathering July 20th 2014
We've just launched our July 17th Newsletter
highlighting Peace Practices, inviting everyone to a gathering this Sunday (see below), and introducing Cheynne Barr!
We are celebrating the regeneration of Association Building Community with a series of gatherings. Will you join us?
We invite all who are interested in building community on purpose (RSVP below) to our first meet & greet followed by a facilitated circle in Berkeley this Sunday, July 20th, 4-8pm at 1708 Franklin street, Berkeley CA 94702 (a block away from North Berkeley Bart station and plenty of free street parking).
We know this is very short notice, and hope that you will stay tuned for our next gathering, if you are unable to make this one. We will be inside and outside on the grass (particularly if you are allergic to cats), with light tree cover. We hope to see you there!
Peace Practices Assistant Instructor invitation
PEACE PRACTICES (PxPx) AND MARTIAL NONVIOLENCE (MNv)
Aikido practitioners sought for emerging initiative
"We do not train to become powerful or to throw down some opponent. Rather we train in hopes of being of some use, however small our role may be, in the task of bringing peace to mankind around the world."
~ Morihei Ueshiba, "O Sensei", founder of aikido
Martial Nonviolence (MNv) is a method that teaches aikido and communication skills at the same time, through the body, so that everyday conflict itself changes. Peace Practices is Martial Nonviolence deployed as a curriculum for a specific community, and has secured international funding through Association Building Community (abcglobal.net) to expand from Oakland, CA, into both Emeryville and San Mateo. Aikido practitioners are sought who wish to learn Martial Nonviolence as interns, apprentices, and instructors.
You can get paid to teach what you love, learn a method that makes your skills more marketable, and take aikido to its next phase by practicing conflict movement, language, and group facilitation at the same time. Participants will prepare themselves to lead new Peace Practices sites as the initiative grows locally, nationally, and then internationally.
Call Brandon Williamscraig at (866-236-0346) or email brandon at peacepractices dot com to learn more.
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