Brian Kagen pick: “Robert Kent – A Martial Artist Making a Difference” by Paul Rest

“Rob is the winner of the Ben & Jerry’s “Peace Pioneer Prize.” In an excerpt from that press release Rob writes: “We live in a world where a successful resolution of the conflict between Israel and Palestine is the single most critical step in eliminating the root cause and the rallying cry of global terrorism.” There were three PeaceCamp Scholarship winners in 2008: one Jewish, one Christian and one Muslim. This year there will be five kids: three boys and 2 girls (two Jews and three Palestinians). Rob wrote in an e mail to me that, “These young men and women will also, in turn, become leaders amongst their peers, and start sowing seeds of peace and tolerance in a land where both are scare.”

“In 2001, Rob created the website AikidoKids.com to support instructors who teach aikido to kids, or who might consider doing so. The site offers lists of games, curriculum ideas, equipment suggestions and instructor profiles. Since 2006, he has taught a course on “Aikido and Ethics” at Williams College. He is on the Board of Directors of Aiki-Extensions , an organization that brings the tactical insights and practical wisdom of Aikido off the mat and into the rest of the world – specifically engaging, among other focus areas, with therapy, inner-city gang violence prevention, and Middle East peace efforts. Rob also works as a mentor and teen counselor. He currently leads two “tribes” (The elder tribe, now 16-18 years old, is known as “Teen Samurai” and the younger tribe, 12-14, are the “Aiki-Jedi”) that meet twice a month for advanced Aikido training followed by various group-bonding activities like movies and pizza, or trips to local events like the Renaissance Faire each fall. Since young teens are going to be tribal anyway, it has always seemed a better idea to make sure that such tribes have leadership that can help the members support each other and help steer them thru the myriad challenges of adolescence. He begins meeting with these kids when they are 12 to 13 years old, and continues to meet with them until they graduate from high school.”

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  1. I wish the Palestinians luck and long life on their return to their communities.

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