Peace is a Martial Art

We can't breathe until everyone can breathe. Black and brown lives matter.

 

Conflict Done Well online training

Archetypally speaking, all systems suck. The question is when and how, not if. The founder was repeatedly clear that the job of aikido practicioners was to go beyond martial efficiency to make the world a better place by changing how conflict itself works. Even so, episodes of conflict occur in aikido settings which are dealt with in a way that is obviously hypocritical. The problem is in failing to practice what we preach both literally and metaphorically.
 
Aikido 2.0 explicitly matures the aikido training model to actually practice (like a martial art) and integrate both physical and verbal conflict skills. This is the first step in the practice of Martial Nonviolence--a #somatic (embodied whole person) conflict system that combines the physical, psychological, verbal, and group (organizational/leadership) skills which have always been implied but are seldom practiced in aikido as it is most regularly practiced.

 

Association Building Community supports the next phase of the Art of Peace...Aikido 2.0, which begins with the traditional aikido body movement but incorporates language and thought explicitly, on the mat, as soon as the basic movements are clear.  Anyone can do this and call the terrain they are exploring Aikido 2.0.

 

Most conflicts in civil society are in large part verbal. Words are the gateway to the mind, aligning action and intention. As the founder made clear that the purpose of aikido is not to throw down some opponent but to transform conflict in the world, why not practice that in every dojo?

 

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Not a faster or more deadly physical martial art...

Not the aikido name used to refer to software...

Not using the web to make your dojo more visible (though this is good too)...

Instead, the next step in the direction the founder of aikido intended: changing the world beyond the dojo for the better by changing how conflict works.

 

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Then learn with us beyond Aikido 2.0, through improvisation and facilitation skills, to become a conflict professional. Practice Martial Nonviolence and become a Peace Practices Instructor.

 

Aikido changes the purpose of the martial arts to focus on redirection and preservation, even of an attacker, so that the cycle of violence is dismantled instead of being reinforced through retribution against individuals or groups. Aikido 2.0 teaches language with every physical technique, because communication is where conflict happens most frequently in today's 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.  

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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 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 Parents

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Parents, 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?

 

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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.

 

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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.

 


 

 

 

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Thanks for your interest in Peace Practices! Here is a bit more information based on your (and frequently asked) questions.

 

Origin

 Martial Nonviolence®

refers to a unique training and conflict facilitation method created by Brandon WilliamsCraig which combines practices and concepts from the martial (aikido), theatrical (improvisation), and process arts (group facilitation) to prepare practitioners to provide co-creative leadership in conflict situations and in support of systemic revision. Capable of engaging circumstances involving obviously physical conflict and covert systemic violence, the practitioner is an artist with group inquiry and long-term analysis skills, striving for the redefinition of peace itself as "Conflict Done Well".®

 

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Local

Peace Practices®

was developed through a series of site-specific, carefully designed variations of the Martial Nonviolence training practiced by residents of the San Francisco Bay Area, in particular by students, faculty, and staff at both UC Berkeley and Pacific Rim International School (PRINTS). We received international funding in 2014 and built a movement of partners, hoping that Peace Practices will someday be found wherever our children find themselves. Our largest success was the PRINTS Montessori learning community at both the Emeryville and San Mateo campuses. We taught 12 classes a week for children 3-18yrs, with almost 100% participation from all students, as well as for faculty/staff, alumni, and parents so that the entire community practiced Conflict Done Well.

 

Future

We have moved to North Texas and are always on the lookout for potential instructors, parterns, and invitations to schools and public benefit organizations.

 

What you may expect

The following sequence

  1. Traditional tai sabaki (body mechanics)-based aikido and developmentally appropriate warm-ups, games and exercises
  2. Specific and effective communications in the form of basic scripts, followed by more normal language and then improvisation
  3. Group process tools and teaching preparation for both practicing and passing on Peace Practices principles

This creates a base toolbox and engagement of the imagination that can expand to include most commonly practiced aikido waza and create an internal process and external practice which explicitly improves both the physical potential for self-defense and the intangible skills necessary for managing everyday conflicts. This addresses bullying and peer-pressure conflicts as well as proving skills essential to leaders in all areas of academia, business, government, and civil society.

 

Watch the playlist below featuring different exercises in the Peace Practices dojo at Pacific Rim International School in San Mateo, CA. 

 

Benefits

  • Help children and adults redefine peace as "conflict done well" and practice peace like a martial art--with the expectation that it will require both time and repetition to be able to deliver non-destructive but effective techniques under pressure.
  • Take your place at the forefront as aikido moves into its next phase by including language and group process tools aligned with core traditional techniques. Contribute to the resurgence of aikido as a movement.
  • Move your professional teaching to a level most have had a hard time accessing - professional consulting based on aiki principles.
  • Deploy a curriculum that is being both developed and clinically studied to be ready for mainstream grant writing, offering to executives, schools and organizations, and deployment in any dojo or seminar worldwide

Students/Apprentices

If you are beginning your aikido or professional teaching/facilitation journey, please consider identifying yourself as a student and progressing at your own pace, or as an apprentice with an intensive approach and clear end-date for graduation as an assistant instructor. Allow "beginner's mind" to prepare you for a future practicing peace. Please get on our waiting list and join the Peace Practices learning community.

 

Assistant Instructors

If you are already a teacher or a practitioner of aikido (at least second kyu) or a Process Arts (group process design and facilitation), please become a colleague adding our tools to your already developing skill set. If you are already a teacher or facilitator in some capacity but have no aikido experience you might still be ready to begin as an assistant instructor. Let's begin an evaluation process right away. No matter where you are get on our lists, join the Peace Practices learning community, and let's figure out together how soon we can support you into your own teaching opportunity.

 

Instructors

If you are already a professional teacher or consultant/facilitator, please describe your public offering. Let's schedule an opportunity for you to evaluate what we do and determine if it will improve your chances of success. Please consider joining and taking leadership in the Peace Practices learning community, and allow us to put at your service the requests for this curriculum we receive on an almost daily basis.

 

Next Steps

  1. Donate to join Association Building Community with a clearly stated intention to be a part of Peace Practices.
  2. Provide information on your experience level and training goals by email to administration at abcglobal dot net.
  3. Schedule a time to participate in a class in North Texas with Brandon WilliamsCraig.
  4. Evaluation and training on everyone's part.
  5. Use our mailing lists and social media to connect with colleagues and prepare to create your own Peace Practices program with our support.

Options if you are far away

You come to us

Anyone who can join us in class online may feel free to make a donation, join Association Building Community and schedule:

  1. One or two classes online at ConflictDoneWell.com to get a feel for the curriculum in progress
  2. A Martial Nonviolence intensive (three-day weekend, or one to two weeks) which includes classes in a traditional dojo as well as in both PRINTS locations. This is undertaken in preparation for becoming an instructor.

We come to you

Anyone ready to explore Martial Nonviolence, introduce the idea and practice in their dojo, and consider becoming a partner/instructor may feel free to make a donation, join Association Building Community and schedule

  1. A single day seminar
  2. A weekend or three-day intensive workshop

**There is a waiting list for all of the options listed here. Additional costs include travel and all related expenses plus a sliding scale day rate based on your group size and income.