Brian Kagen pick: “Alan Vann Gardner – A martial artist making a difference” by Paul Rest

“Alan has taught adult and children’s Aikido classes for over thirty years. In 2003, he was awarded a Ed.D. from the University of San Francisco. His Doctoral Thesis was titled, “Students as Apprentices in Caring – I/Thou Relationships as Experienced by Early Adolescence in School.” His Master’s Thesis focused on Aikido, “The Aikido Way: Inner Approach Movement Education with Children.” In both of these papers, he addressed how to integrate the principles of Aikido into his profession as an educator.

Alan is currently the Assistant Principal at the Del Mar Middle School, part of the Reed Union School District. He sees his role as “promoting a culture of inclusion, kindness and caring.” Working on developing a Professional Learning Community at school, the focus is not only on bottom line results, but on how adults work together to build trust. For Alan, Aikido is more than a metaphor how to listen or respond to conflict; it is an embodied practice that helps him keep focused on the bigger picture, the larger context and continually return to a poised, positive and more peaceful presence.”

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