Attentional capacity development now happens in the context of relentless and ever-expanding media exposure: not only the ubiquity of delivery mechanisms, such as screen devices grafted on to every social and management function, but also psychological campaigns designed to capture individual interest and operationalize desire to serve consumption, and infonews businesses whose entire revenue stream depends on exposing individual eyes unremittingly to the vast scope of our shared dilemmas. It is increasingly hard to handle any single choice while being barraged with too many. This is especially true of children whose brain development is happening under the influence of audio-visual media designed to keep and control a user's attention. They have no defense until they are provided with the time and attention needed to develop useful strategies. How are they to defend themselves against overwhelm while trying to develop the capacity to do so? It seems almost a parallel process to studying a martial art in order to keep one's balance and make conscious tactical choices during physical conflict.
Adults too have never before had potentially conscious access to the immense and impersonal complexity of the systems humanity is creating. Beyond the tendency of screened images to overwhelm and control how we think and make choices, the energy we spend communicating is often consumed by those willing to reduce ideas to their most simplistic, attempting to clutch our precious attention under the false pretense that an idea that is faster to grasp is more useful in the metaphorical hand of decision-making. Constant grabs for our attention prevent rather than refine our understanding as we try to find some way to grapple with challenges much larger than an individual can fully comprehend, much less decide how to respond in a way that includes all relevant aspects of our shared problems.
It is the purpose of Martial Nonviolence and the work of Peace Practices to be a whole conflict system, helping you and your child bring your body and attention together under your own direction, especially while in conflict and under pressure, in order to make decisions and act in a way that works out well for everyone involved. This is in order to give us, and generations that follow, more tools to deal with issues that reach from the broad, almost mythic ("As long as there have been people...") to the specific and daily (we have sought "some way to grapple with challenges..."). If you'd like to hear more about the details of our work, please read on. If you'd like more information after reading this, please email [ administration at abcglobal dot net ] and we will be more than happy to respond.
Peace Practices is just such a project. Peace is that daily reality in which the most vulnerable, especially children, are more likely to find welcome than threat. "Community" is another word for this experience, a felt sense that conflicts are normal and will be approached as a practice, an opportunity to transform fear into opportunity with the help of others who care about the future and practice a dedication to nonviolence that is martial in character and commitment. In community, every individual learns to expect access to all that they need and an opportunity to work through conflict toward what they want and dream about.
It is time to grow. As we prepare to reach out nationally and then internationally,
- Aikido professionals from around the world have consistently expressed their strong desire to learn Martial Nonviolence and create Peace Practices programs of their own. We will provide an instructor training in the first quarter of 2015 and welcome those who are able to join us in the East Bay.
- We will begin our first study of this work in the very near future and are searching for a Study Director.
- You are no doubt already aware that we are offering sturdy uniforms as a fundraiser. They are necessary to keep your child's clothing from being damaged as they learn to keep their bodies safe, and we hope you will help the program by buying them at the promotional price. We are also prepared to offer them at cost, if your family is in financial difficulty. Please visit our store today!
- We have secured a working agreement to establish our office in downtown Oakland.
- We have assistant instructors working with us now, and more waiting their turn to begin. It is on these excellent folks that the future of the work also depends, as they will make additional programs possible. It is time to give them an unqualified message of support as well.
Now it is time to fund the future. We are counting on you to vote for your children's success and the growth of our work together with your attention and money. Inaction is not neutral, but is a vote against a profoundly hopeful and practical path to peace that can reach around the world, building one community at a time. As you consider how you will spend your time and allocate your treasure this holiday season, please join your children and join us in actively practicing peace.
PLEASE RSVP and come to Peace Practices for adullts at PRINTS:
or Free Aiki Dojo class (please see our schedule at freeaiki.com).
Please cast your unambiguous vote for our success by creating a recurring donation!
A San Francisco Bay Area tax exempt (501c3) NGO, Association Building Community (ABCglobal.net), received international funding in 2014 to launch a curriculum called Peace Practices (PxPx). Local launch 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. Thus far, at both Pacific Rim International School campuses, 97 children have participated of 103 possible and 17 faculty members have participated of 19 possible. We hope to include as many parents as possible as well, but this is our target group.
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 multi-phase study will accompany the project, beginning with a qualitative sample to generate a narrative that will both grow the program and form 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
Take part in a dream come true that is getting ready to change the world!
Martial Nonviolence integrates the movements of aikido with the language and mind of Aikido 2.0, and takes the practice to a realistic and professional level through improvisation and facilitation training that puts Conflict Done Well in the context of sustainable and inspirational leadership.
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?
- 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.
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!