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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Peace Practices In Progress May - July 2014
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 psychological/cultural studies, as an adult, 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.
Please become a partner with us in actually building peace!
Thanks very much for your attention.
Community Gathering this Sunday
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!and share this information with your networks using the tools below!
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.
Epworth Community Explores Peace Practices
At the upcoming retreat, Epworth member Brandon WilliamsCraig will offer the somatic (bodymind oriented) facilitation method he created for "doing conflict well". His method is called Martial Nonviolence(MNv http://martialnonviolence.com) and begins with zero-impact aikido movements almost everyone can do and martial but nonviolent principles which help keep your body safe under pressure without fighting. These movements and principals suggest communication strategies which are then built into habits using theater skills so that practitioners develop authentic leadership techniques. The youngest students of this work are three years old and the eldest, thus far, is seventy four. Peace is thereby a practice, rather than a recommendation, practiced by those with no experience as well as by professionals making decisions which affect thousands of people. When a class series or seminar is designed for a particular community to explore MNv, that event or series of classes is called Peace Practices(PxPX http://peacepractices.com), a learning process which is now internationally funded and moving into its second phase in the San Francisco Bay Area through the mutual effort of Association Building Community and Pacific Rim International School on both their Emeryville and San Mateo campuses. Please come ready to play, share stories which have troubled you, care for yourself in whatever way seems best, and practice peace ("conflict done well") together!
Free Aiki Dojo and Golden Bears Aikido training
Our class at the Suitcase Clinic was a wonderful success! Around forty homeless women, kids, and volunteers participated, while others watched and enjoyed, while much was learned by all.
Our coordinator at the Clinic was incredibly together, welcoming, and had this to say after:I wanted to thank you and your team for coming out tonight! It was truly amazing seeing everyone learn and interact with each other. We got some great participation from the women at the clinic, as well as many volunteers from The Suitcase Clinic. This was the best Fun Friday turn out we have ever had! I hope you enjoyed this experience as much as we did.Here is one of the pictures we took tonight.Best,Monica Eng
Lasting thanks to Golden Bears yudansha Vivian Tran, and to Aikido of Berkeley uchi deshi Joe Zummo and Justin Tyle for all their support! Joe's farewell party is next Tuesday's (March 4th) 8:30pm potluck at AiBerk. Please come to wish him well.
Help work like this continue and grow! Pay what you can. If you can't, don't. Really. Always train, no matter what. Bring your friends.
DONATIONS ARE ALWAYS APPRECIATED!
Please set up an automatic donation for whatever you can afford here at Association Building Community by clicking on Free Aiki Dojo Partnership, and thanks!
Here's the Free Aiki Dojo and Golden Bears Aikido usual training scheduleMonday 11:30am - 12:30pm on campus will feature weapons training on Faculty Glade or Sproul Plaza (first Mondays only). Bring bokken and jo if you have them. We have extras if you don't.Tuesday at 1514 University AveFree Aiki Dojo classes are from 6:30-8:30pm at our host dojo, Aikido of Berkeley, at 1514 University Ave.
From 6-6:30 you are welcome to an informal warm-up and Q&A session.
6:30-7:30 is a basics class w Brandon Sensei, and 7:30-8:30 is a general class with Kayla Sensei.This is an excellent evening to get to know a large cross-section of people in our training community.
Wednesday at 1514 University Ave7am -8am is at 1514 University Ave. There is no better way to start your day!
Thursday on campus10:00 - 11:00 PM The Late Night Thursday class with Rob Sempai will return next semester.
Friday at 1514 University Ave
2:30pm-4:30pm at 1514 University Ave.
Saturday at 1514 University Ave
10:30am - 12pm is at 1514 University with Ricardo Sempai or me (we alternate).
I look forward to training with you!
Some maps for locations:
Free Aiki Dojo (hosted by Aikido of Berkeley)
1514 University Ave
Berkeley, CA 94703
As always, no previous experience is necessary.If you didn't receive this through freeaiki@ or firstname.lastname@example.org, you will soon receive an notice of being added to our email lists to receive weekly notice of classes. Please make sure you have become a member by checking your status.
If you haven't checked out the Facebook Group James just kicked off, by all means go to https://www.facebook.com/groups/GoldenBearsAikido/
from Brandon WilliamsCraig Sensei Ph.D. 4th dan
GoldenBearsAikido.com ~ FreeAiki.com
Skype bdwilliamscraig (510) 962-3921
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