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Kagami Biraki Class with Joe Takehara Sensei



Chicago Aikido Club (CAC) will host a 2018 Kagami Biraki Class with Joe Takehara Sensei on Sunday, February 11. Class will be held from 11:30 am to 1:00 pm, followed by a potluck. Friends, family and newcomers welcome.


at Japanese American Service Committee (JASC)

4427 N Clark St, Chicago, Illinois 60640

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San Cubed

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Images from Tohkon Judo Academy Kagami Biraki 2018

Some pics from Tohkon Judo Academy‘s Kagami Biraki celebration at Japanese American Service Committee (JASC) on Saturday, January 13, 2017.

Clockwise from left: Rice cookers steaming away in JASC kitchen; Consul General of Japan Naoki Ito taking a turn at pounding; the finished product; Visiting members of Aikido of Northwest Kansas helping out; CAC member Kat Guzman taking a break from pounding; CAC member Dwight Sora hard at work.

Left to right: Setting up dojo for the audience; All the pieces in place for the ceremony; CAC member Dwight Sora representing for the club.

Left to right: Alexander Hindley and Daniel Braithwaite watch while Qin Zheng and Dwight Sora demonstrate paired bokken kata; Demonstration of basic teams by the entire team; Joe Takehara Sensei offering an explanation of aikido’s basic concepts; Takehara Sensei inviting judoka Felix Lanier up on stage to demonstrate.

A video excerpt of the demo may be viewed here on Youtube.


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Kagami Biraki at Tohkon Judo Academy

Chicago Aikido Club (CAC) will once again be participating in Japanese American Service Committee (JASC)‘s and Tohkon Judo Academy‘s annual Kagami Biraki event on Saturday, January 13.

Doors open at 8:00 am with mochitsuki (rice cake-making), followed by the day’s program. Included are a traditional purification ceremony, a taiko (Japanese drum) performance by Kokyo Taiko of Buddhist Temple of Chicago (BTC), an aikido demonstration by CAC, and a judo demonstration by members of Tohkon. Everything concludes with a community potluck luncheon starting around 2:00 pm.

The event is free and open to the public. Hope to see you there.


Happy New Year!


JASC and Tohkon Judo Academy Annual Kagami Biraki

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Japanese American Service Committee (JASC)

4427 North Clark Street, Chicago

8:00 am – 12:00 PM Traditional mochitsuki (rice cake making)

12:00 pm – Tenrikyo Oharai purification ceremony by Rev. Kuni Fumioka

12:40 pm – Kokyo Taiko Japanese drumming performance

1:10 pm – Demonstration by Chicago Aikido Club

1:30 pm – Demonstration by Tohkon Judo Academy

2:00 pm – Potluck fellowship luncheon


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AIKIDO – El arte de la paz

Spanish card

New Spanish-language promotional postcard. Art by Ivan Lee. Translation and editing by Marlon FadragasSol HMJose Nateras and Blanca Estela Lopez. Thanks everyone!

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Promoting Peace with Urban Warriors



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: https://www.facebook.com/UrbsintheCity/


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“Night at the Nisei Lounge” (2013)

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?”


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The Orange Story Continues to be Told


Although filmed more than a year ago and having premiered at the end of 2016, the short film The Orange Story starring Chicago Aikido Club (CAC) senior instructor Joe Takehara Sensei continues its journey to educate the public and a new generation about the World War II Japanese American internment.

In September, the film was shown as part of a session on the internment in the intro to Asian American studies course taught by Dr. Corinne Kodama of the Global Asian Studies Program at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC). Takehara Sensei was in attendance along with representatives of the filmmaking team. At one point, the students were polled of their previous knowledge of the internment, and only four of 30 students said the topic had been covered in high school. Three more such sessions at UIC are planned for October.


Then on September 30, Takehara Sensei accompanied the filmmakers to Los Angeles for a screening and panel at the Japanese American National Museum.

Thank you again to Takehara Sensei, producer Jason Matsumoto, and the team at Full Spectrum Features for keeping this important part of American history (and Takehara Sensei’s own life) alive and in the minds of people today.

On a side note, although not directly connected to Takehara Sensei, The Orange Story or Chicago Aikido Club, Alphawood Gallery in Chicago has been hosting an in-depth and informative exhibit on the internment. Titled Then They Came for Me, the exhibit includes extensive photos, artifacts, film footage and video testimonials. If interested, you have until November 19 to catch it.




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Post-Hurricane Assistance for Michi Dojo in San Juan, Puerto Rico

Request for assistance for Michi Dojo, an affiliate of our national organization Aikido Schools of Ueshiba (ASU). They are based in San Juan, Puerto Rico and suffered damage from the Hurricane.



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