Saturday, October 21, 2017

Promoting Peace with Urban Warriors
Reposted from the blog of Chicago Aikido Club (CAC).

(P.S. I'm leading these workshops)



Chicago Aikido Club (CAC) will be partnering with Urban Warrior Fitness in Rogers Park to present two free Monday night introductory aikido workshops on October 30 and November 13. Both workshops will last 90 minutes and start at 7:00 pm.

The workshops will emphasize the use of aikido to develop mindfulness through movement, breathing and balance, as well the self-defense aspects of the art.

Both groups hope these workshops may be helpful to the local community, which is still dealing with the aftermath of a fatal shooting incident that took place on October 13.

Aikido Workshop at Urban

Monday, October 30 and November 13

7:00 pm - 8:30 pm

at Urban Warrior Fitness

1546 Howard St, Chicago, IL 60626

For more information, call (773) 754-7351, Ext. 0

Facebook event page

Monday, October 16, 2017

I don’t have a “Me too” to offer

I don’t have a “Me too” to offer. Thank God, I guess. But I do have a reflection. And that is I must regretfully admit that the collection of nerds, artists, martial arts enthusiasts, self-proclaimed intellectuals and liberals amongst whom I count myself and have many friends includes just as many abusers and gas-lighters as the jock bullies and bro-types commonly stereotyped as perpetrators. And though I have a few proud moments, such as when I ratted out a college dorm-mate engaged in an early form of cyber-bullying, or when I punched an actor backstage for making lascivious comments about an actress, there’s plenty of times I turned a blind eye and did nothing. Or I self-rationalized what I saw or heard. Or joined ‘the boys’ in locker room banter or lewd jokes over beers. And for that, and whatever other contribution I may have inadvertently or passively made to support the worst aspects of male American culture, I offer an apology. And I hope others do as well.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

“Night at the Nisei Lounge” (2013)

(reposted from the blog of Chicago Aikido Club)

Erik Matsunaga, head instructor of Ravenswood Shorin-ryu Karate Dojo and who profiled Chicago Aikido Club (CAC) senior instructor Joe Takehara Sensei in Discover Nikkei recently shared this memorable photo and memory from 2013 with members of the two dojo getting together at a Japanese American community fundraiser at the Nisei Lounge bar in Wrigleyville.
Left to Right: Ryan Yokota, Dean Yamada, Dwight Sora, Joe Takehara

Thursday, October 10, 2013

“Night at the Nisei Lounge” was a benefit fundraiser for the Japanese American Service Committee. Nisei Lounge is among the final vestiges of what used to be a sizeable Japanese American community that once resided in the shadows of Wrigley Field.

At one time, Takehara sensei lived on Newport Avenue, a half block east of the Nisei Lounge. He opened his dental practice one block south on Clark, across the street from Tony Muranaka’s home, whose matless, marble-floored basement served as the original gathering place for the Illinois Aikido Club. Incidentally, Detective Muranaka was the first Nisei on the Chicago Police Department.

After moving out of Muranaka's 3-flat basement, the IAC opened its first dedicated, storefront dojo with makeshift mats across the street from John Omori’s (co-founder of IAC) optometry practice.

And the Japanese American Service Committee, whose Uptown facility a mile-and-a-half up Clark Street currently hosts Takehara sensei and the Chicago Aikido Club, once triangulated these positions at its old location two blocks south of Nisei Lounge, on the corner of Sheffield and School.

I’d venture to guess Takehara sensei was the first Nisei his generation’s namesake tavern had seen in a long time, and quite possibly the only one since. For more information as to why that would be, peruse & listen to WBEZ’s recent Curious City feature: "What Happened to Chicago's Japanese Neighborhood?"