What We Teach

At Peacemakers, we strive to teach an engaging and in-depth set of skills and knowledge in peacemaking, traditional TaeKwonDo, andĀ self-defenseĀ to fully prepare students as Peacemakers and leaders:

Peacemaking

At Peacemakers, we understand that making a more peaceful world is a big challenge:

  • We begin by making peace within our own hearts, and then making peace with others.
  • We see conflict as an opportunity for growth rather than something to be feared and avoided.
  • We don’t focus only on the immediate conflict, but on the situation that caused it and the next steps we will use to help ourselves and others.
  • We affirm that the best outcomes happen when people in conflict can work together to find a solution, instead of fighting over it.
  • The more people feel Safe and Welcome, Compassionate and Connected, and Growing and Dreaming, the more people will be at peace.

We teach peacemakers through Character Formation, Empathy Training, and Verbal Peacemaking.

Character Formation

For students to grow and mature as peacemakers and leaders, they need to understand it. We have regular Circle conversations where we discuss qualities like respect, responsibility, wisdom, and courage, as well as activities and tools for applying these concepts to the rest of our lives. For these discussions we use Peacemaker’s own EmPower manual alongside other resources.

Empathy Training

Peace is built on the need for empathy and connection, but too often we are disconnected from our own emotional lives and the emotional needs of others. When we ignore what people are feeling and needing in a stressful situation, conflict is more likely to become verbally or physically violent. As such, we learn empathy skills from tools like Nonviolent Communication (also called Compassionate Communication) to improve our emotional awareness and vocabulary.

Verbal Peacemaking

We also need practical skills for making peace in the midst of conflict. We use role plays and other activities to help students learn to use their Compassionate Communication skills alongside Verbal Self-Defense skills (adapted from KidPower’s verbal self-defense tools) to navigate conflict and tricky situations in ways that are safe, de-escalating, and relationship-building.

Traditional TaeKwonDo

TaeKwonDo is a Korean martial art well known for impressive and powerful kicks. It started in Korea following World War 2 in the 1940’s and 50’s, when martial arts instructors began opening new schools influenced by Korean, Chinese, and Japanese martial art traditions. Korea has a long history of martial arts, from the ancient Hwarang warriors to the historic martial art of Taekkyeon. This legacy has influenced the skills and moral codes taught in TaeKwonDo today, now represented by numerous traditions and styles practiced around the world.

At Peacemakers, TaeKwonDo is the core of our class. Students practice kicks and fundamental techniques to improve speed, accuracy, and power. They learn traditional patterns, which develop discipline, control, and focus. They do one-step sparring to learn range and fluidity, and contact point sparring to develop skills against live resistance. All of this builds toward students’ long-term dreams of earning their black belt.

Self-Defense

At Peacemakers, we know that the best way to make the world more peaceful is through better relationships and a stronger community. But we also know that sometimes people act violently in ways that our words cannot stop. In these situations, making the world more peaceful means we first need keep ourselves and others safe, stopping or escaping from the violence so that we can get help and start addressing the underlying problems.

Self-Defense at Peacemakers is designed with the understanding that good self-defense:

  1. Starts with confidence, awareness, and strong boundaries.
  2. Can adapt to different situations, from a scuffle at school to a violent attacker or kidnapper out on the street.
  3. Must be prepared to change and learn from different traditions.
  4. Needs to be live-tested against active and aggressive opponents.

Our Self-Defense syllabus uses principles and techniques from Hapkido, Krav Maga, Jeet Kune Do, MMA, and a variety of modern fighting systems and reality-based self defense systems. We utilize escapes, strikes, restraints, and takedowns to keep ourselves safe and prepared.