Let’s make this new year a year with more peace and better dialogue
There are still plenty of potential peace dojos in the world.
Wonderful aikido session for the Red-Cross center for refugees in Belgium.
Physical practice is a wonderful way to connect and when you add the aikido ethics you touch each participant profoundly.
This place could become the next Peace Dojo in our international network
Il est des personnes qui sont des exemples, des personnes qui nous guident, qui nous inspirent.
Martin Luther King a fléchi le cours de l’histoire en donnant toute sa puissance à la non-violence.
Il y a 50 ans, disparaissait un symbole qui était convaincu qu’il était possible de changer les choses par une forme de désobéissance civile non-violente.
Garder de lui, le message qu’il nous a transmis et que sa mort a imortalisé
An inspiring interview
The Center for Movement Arts/Shamokin Aikido Kai (TCMA) recently undertook the process of applying for recognition as a Peace Dojo through the Peace Dojo International Organization (PDI). The process involved creating a document/ letter of introduction explaining the work/practice at TCMA to board members of PDI .
I initially modeled our introductory letter on the letter from our sponsor, Christian VanHenten and his Dojo in Namur, Belgium. As I collected information and products for my portfolio, I discovered a more dynamic and advanced platform used by teachers, photographers, and artists of various disciplines called an eportfolio.
The eportfolio “is a private electronic space where you can create, collect, reflect on, organize, and, if you choose, share your work and experiences with others and solicit feedback. Your ePortfolio can include a variety of file types, including text documents, audio, videos, images, and webpages.” (University of Waterloo, CA)(link). A search of the internet will provide a variety of academic sites and examples.
There are any number of FREE website building platforms for this purpose. I located a FREE website builder called WEEBLY. This site provide templates for completing and publishing my project. You can view the final product here:
As PDI expands it’s membership and invites other organizations to join in its mission, utilizing the technology provided in an eportfolio might help to facilitate the process. Additionally, it will surely save a lot of trees.
When you get stressed do you feel your ability to interact skillfully with others becomes blocked and you slip into old reactive patterns?
Somatic Practices are powerful tools to help you use your senses to access the sources of your unconscious patterns where they are stored in your body.
When you become aware of the patterns you hold in your body your Nonviolent Communication (NVC) skills are sharper, you feel more centered, and you realize the value of … coming to your senses!
In just a few weeks I will be leading a three-session course built around combining the valuable techniques of Somatic Practices with NVC:
Mondays, December 4th – 18th, 4:00 – 6:00pm Pacific (California) Time
Here’s some of what you can expect from the course:
If you would like to feel more comfortable and effective as you face the inevitable stresses of life, love and learning, please register soon so you can join me in just one week for Somatic Practices For Embodying Nonviolent Communication!
Eleven years ago my wife, Judith, son Sam, and several students went to Ethiopia where we met Tesfaye Tekelu and led Aikido classes as one of a long line of teachers who came to advance his training. Since that time he has started four more schools, developed programs within the Ethiopian school system, and opened, The Institute for Social Advancement to teach alternative ways of dealing with conflict.
I’m heading to Ethiopia in November as part of a team of international trainers to share Aikido and conflict resolution skills with young Africans from Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, Tanzania, Uganda, and Djibouti. This conference will also bring respected East African elders to share their wisdom and ancient traditions in resolving conflict. This conference will serve as an unprecedented cultural exchange and collaboration for peace and provide a unique stage that brings together African tools and approaches to leadership and conflict resolution with Western and Asian practices and perspectives.
Aikido is a modern Japanese martial way developed in the 1930’s by Morihei Ueshiba who developed it as an art of peace, “a way to reconcile the world.”
This is a time for reconciliation near and far!
To help raise funds to support the attendance and participation of 100% of the African attendees along with some of my own travel expenses I have crafted a handmade pin as a thank you for those who help by donating 60 dollars or more.
click here to go to my website to donate on line.
or please send a donation
The root of the word courage is cor—the Latin word for heart. In one of its earliest forms, courage meant “To speak one’s mind by telling all of one’s heart.”
We all seek the experience of being connected and alive. The difficulty is that to find the connection we desire, we must not be afraid of it. Courage is not as much about going off to fight dragons as it is about facing our demons, tolerating our feelings, and not reacting so quickly, in order to hear what our emotions are trying to tell us. Empathy requires a profound fearlessness to listen to and even embrace what we do not know, sometimes for a long time. Sometimes it takes great courage to not do anything and just listen.
One day a young woman in her mid-20s, Joanne, showed up at our door. She was strung out, suicidal, and wanted help to kick her heroin addiction. Judith and I knew her a half dozen years earlier as a bright, loving, and capable friend. Now with her mind and body compromised by drugs, she was fighting for her life. Joanne spent the next month at our house. Never completely clean, her ability to be honest with herself was patchy. Several neighbors helped where they could, but none of us had much experience with this sort of thing. We called on our friend Peter, an ex addict now clean for 30 years who surely had some understanding of what Joanne was up against. Peter wept as he told us of people he had known, befriended and tried to help that had died and his fear of putting his heart back on the line once again with someone who might go back on the streets and self destruct. This being true, the next day he offered to go with Joanne to Narcotics Anonymous every day for the next 30 days if she would commit to it! He cared. Her courage to fight moved him; his courage to help moved her. When last we spoke, Joanne was on a healing path! Peter, died recently and the mark he left most on me and the people who knew him is the courage he had for authentically being his caring, playful, jokester, artist self.
Carl Rogers, the founder of humanistic psychology, said, “What we are most ashamed of is often what is most common.” We’re wired to tell our stories, and even though our mother culture teaches us not to reveal our imperfections, this is where we can deeply connect. Common sense tells us that we are all in this together and this being the case there is a collective processesing and learning we are a part of. Living our lives more courageously honest and transparently is an essential shift towards healthy community. Through the years in our workshops, there is nothing more moving than when someone who is afraid to reveal his or her self musters the courage to speak out and does so for the sake of genuinely connecting and contributing to the others in the room.
When someone courageously risks vulnerability against all his or her imperfections, it opens the hearts of those near by. Surprisingly, people who are considered the least likely leaders can end up inspiring us the most. Everyday people and everyday acts of courage and heart change everything
Our passages from childhood into adulthood, committing to life long relationships, becoming parents and entering elder hood are moments that ask us to look inward. Initiatory rites of passage in elder traditions honor such thresholds from one stage into the next. When our eldest son, Devin turned 15, over the course of a 7 month period he met with an extraordinary group of men who gathered regularly to guide and ready him and his peers for their solo vision quests, a rite of passage into responsible adulthood. Drawing from the Lakota tradition, each of the young men went “up on the hill” for inner guidance and vision, alone in the wilderness and without food for several days and nights. The process was life changing and meaningful for all who touched it. You see, these young men leave the village to face death, to find their own truths, and then return, all for the sake of enlivening the whole community. Such rites speak to a gaping hole in modern culture’s lifestyle, a wanting and needing that honors the unique gifts that every stage of life contributes to the circle.
In our culture of consumerism there are endless possible things we can buy or do to distract or fill ourselves up in order to “fix” the emptiness and pain inside of us. Maybe “Life” is truly awesome, and that is why it feels overwhelming to go fully into it. Life has an elegance that surpasses by far anything we might devise. Wisdom lies in knowing when to sit back and allow the unfolding. Too hurried an activism may lead to lesser consequences and, more importantly, may cause us to trust ourselves instead of learning to trust life. Our bodies put us in direct contact with life. Originally we chose the name, Liminal Somatics for our company because a “Limin” is the threshold of a door, and somatics is the integration of mind, body and spirit. To cross thresholds of life, we must engage our whole selves. This is a core principle in all our trainings at Liminal Somatics.
Let us know if you would like to host a workshop in your area. Stay tuned, David’s book on Practices for Embodying Nonviolent Communication and Judith’s book on Connective Culinary Arts are both in their final edits!
love and light,
David and Judith Weinstock
I am delighted to share this excellent news with you. The Peace Dojos International network is pleased to welcome two new Peace Dojo candidates.
In order to facilitate the access of new dojos to the Peace Dojos International network, the steering committee changed the recognition procedure to become a peace dojo. A new intermediate step has been put in place, that of Peace Dojo Candidate.
Once a member of the steering committee contacts a dojo cho who has explicitly expressed his intent to establish a peace dojo and finds that both the practice and the spirit of the dojo are oriented toward greater peace, the steering committee member may recognize the dojo as a Peace Dojo Candidate. This first step opens the door to the “more formal certification” that will take place and will be declared by the steering committee.
That’s the approach I followed. In April 2017, I met with Jack Richford in the United States. I had known Jack for years and I was eager to get acquainted with him in his dojo. There, we chatted, we had discussions, we practiced, and we did plenty of brainstorming about how to make Aïki practice a practice of reconciliation and peace.
And at the beginning of June I met with Jean-Rock Fortin, who was spending a few days on vacation in Paris. Amazingly enough, it is in the Luxembourg Gardens that we talked and even practiced some exercises. This was amazing because nine years earlier, to the day, at the very same place, I met with Don Levine, the founder of Aiki Extensions .
For me, meeting Don Levine was an extraordinary opportunity to discover that I was not alone in the world in my quest to adapt aikido applications to daily life. Nine years later, I was back in Paris myself, in the position of welcoming another sensei to introduce him to the existence of a network of dojos desiring to go beyond mere physical practice to contribute to a better world.
The first Peace Dojos International Peace Dojo Candidate is SHAMOKIN AIKIDO KAI.
Led by Jack Richford and assisted by Ted Kendris, this dojo is located in a former church in Shamokin, Pennsylvania (USA).
Jack Richford is committed to sharing the values of dialogue, listening, and respect through his aikido classes for adults and children. Jack is an avid researcher of what his martial art can bring to those who practice it.
The second Peace Dojo Candidate is located in Quebec (Canada) and is directed by Jean Rock Fortin, shihan. Jean Rock defines himself as a globetrotter for both business and pleasure, a martial arts instructor (Ki-Aikido), an artistic knife maker, and an author. He is also a consultant in sustainable development. His dojo, the KI-AÏKIDO-KAÏ QUÉBEC, already bears the label of peace dojo, clear evidence of how the dojo is oriented towards listening to oneself, working with Ki in its dimension of reunification of body and mind, and practicing aikido for more harmony in all the dimensions of one’s being.
On behalf of the steering committee, I would like to welcome these two new members of the Peace Dojo International network. Their new status as Peace Dojo Candidate opens the doors to invite them in and show us their dojo and their project. Their dojo presentation will be submitted to the Steering Committee to begin the certification process..