2017 Flyer and Card Design

The club has a new design for flyers and cards that we’ll be trying out this year. It is a piece of original artwork by graphic artist Ivan Lee (a club friend and supporter whose family also runs Aloha Eats, a local restaurant popular with our members).

Check it out.


The image is based upon a photo taken by Jim Moy featuring Dwight Sora and Bill Cruz.


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“The Orange Story” at 2017 Day of Remembrance


The Orange Story, the dramatic short film about the WWII Japanese American internment starring Joe Takehara Sensei, will be screened again at this year’s Day of Remembrance observance.

Titled “Time for Action,” Day of Remembrance is an annual event held to commemorate the signing of Executive Order 9066 by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt which led to the internment.

The event will take place from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm at Chicago History Museum (1601 N Clark St, Chicago, Illinois 60614).

Here is the complete schedule for the event.

2:00 p.m. Welcome
Chicago History Museum President: Gray Johnson
Chicago Japanese American Historical Society President Jean Mishima

2:05 p.m Mistress of Ceremony Anna Takada
Presentation of Colors Nisei Post 1183

2:15 p.m. Reading of The Civilian Exclusion Order Zoe Ariyama

2:20p.m. Viewing of the films:
The Orange Story
A Song for Manzanar

2: 50 p.m. Poetry Reading Dwight Okita
The Nice Thing About Counting Stars
In Response to Executive Order 9066

3:00 p.m. Panel Discussion: Moderator Sandra Yamate
Panel Members: The Orange Story Jason Matsumoto, Executive Producer
Erika Street Hopman, Writer & Director

A Song for Manzanar
Kazuko Golden, Writer & Director
Dwight Okita, Poet & Author

3:50 p.m. Retiring of the Color

4:00 p.m. Acknowledgement
Announcement: Refreshments will be served upstairs in the “Chicago Room”.

Refreshments will be served upstairs in the “Chicago Room.”

Validated parking is available on 1730 N. Stockton. It is right behind (west) of Lincoln Park Zoo.





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Happy 2017 from Chicago Aikido Club

The club had a nice turnout for its 2017 kagami biraki class and party on Sunday, February 12. Joe Takehara Sensei taught one of his characteristically informative and thought-provoking classes, followed by a hearty winter potluck luncheon.

Old and new friends gathering on the mat before class.

Joe Takehara Sensei in action

 Potluck time! Food a cooking, Aikido kids setting up the room and Aikido cookies.


Happy 2017 Everybody! (photo by Jim Moy)

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Kagami Biraki at Chicago Aikido Club


Chicago Aikido Club (CAC) will be hosting its Kagami Biraki party to ring in the new year on Sunday, February 12. Class will be from 11:30 am to 1:00 pm (taught by Joe Takehara Sensei), followed by a potluck luncheon. The event is free and open to the public. Visitors wishing to check out Aikido for the first time may come and observe.

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An “Uplifted” Experience


Local photographer Kentaro Yamada has made Joe Takehara Sensei a subject of his inspirational photo series “The Uplifted.” According to his website, his mission is “to expose something positive and contribute ‘good’ to counter all of the sadness and negativity that we’re exposed to lately.” In doing so, he has profiled on camera dozens upon dozens of people around Chicagoland, ranging from dancers to chefs, to musicians and athletes. The “hook” of his work is a touch of anti-gravity through the magic of Photoshop.


As Yamada himself posted on Facebook after snapping pictures during one of Takehara Sensei’s Sunday morning classes, “I got to uplift the Midwest Aikido living legend & master Dr. Joe Takehara who has trained with great legends during his 55 years of long Aikido career. ✨Just talking with him brought me such peace☺️🙇🏻”



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Orange is the Color of Friendship

On Sunday, December 4, old students and friends of Joe Takehara Sensei in the Aikido community joined his regular morning class to say thanks for his long-time contributions, particularly his first-time acting appearance in the short internment drama The Orange Story which had premiered locally that weekend. The gathered crowd was treated to Takehara’s insights into breathing and relaxation (and occasional admonishments), and then retreated afterward for lunch at nearby Furama Restaurant.

Before departing, however, Takehara Sensei was able to present a sankyu certificate to club member Patrick Miller (unable to train that day due to a shoulder injury).


Left to Right: Jim Carr, Yuki Hara, Patrick Miller, Joe Takehara

All photos by Jim Moy

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Yasuo Kobayashi Soshihan in Chicago

This week our friends at Aikido Association of America (AAA) are hosting a weekend seminar with noted instructor Yasuo Kobayashi Soshihan* (8th dan, Aikikai). Kobayashi Soshihan entered Honbu Dojo in 1954 as an uchideshi to Aikido founder Morihei Ueshiba, and in 1969 established the Kobayashi Dojo in Kodaira. This has in turn become the center of 120 affiliate dojo around the world, stretching between Asia, Europe and North and South America.



The seminar will be preceded by a special event cosponsored by the Japan America Society of Chicago (JASC) on Thursday, November 3. Kobayashi Soshihan will give a presentation and demo, followed by a Q&A session at Japanese Culture Center (home of the AAA) at 1016 W. Belmont Avenue. Doors open at 6:00 pm and the presentation starts at 6:30 pm. The event is $5 for members of JASC and Japanese Culture Center and $10 for non-members. Registration and further information may be found at the JASC website, or calling them at (312) 263-3049.


The seminar itself will be held from the evening of Friday, November 4 through the morning of Sunday, November 6 at the MAC Gym on the campus of the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC). Registration at the door is $100 for Friday/Sunday, $150 for Saturday and $250 for the entire weekend. For full details, visit the seminar’s Facebook event page,



*Soshihan (総師範) is a title akin to “Grand Master”

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The Orange Story Premiering December 2016


The Orange Story, a 13-minute short set during the early days of the World War II internment of Japanese Americans and featuring the acting debut of Joe Takehara (senior instructor of Chicago Aikido Club and founding member of the original Illinois Aikido Club) will make its Chicago premiere at 7:00 pm on Friday, December 2 at the Chicago Cultural Center.

The screening is part of “Hidden Histories and the Power of Narrative Film: Telling the Story of Japanese American Incarceration and Beyond,” an event co-presented by the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events. In addition to The Orange Story, the event will include screenings of other short films and a post-screening discussion.

Tickets are free and will be available to reserve starting October 18 at 9AM on Eventbright.

The Orange Story is directed by Erika Street and produced by Chicago filmmaker Eugene Sun Park and his company Full Spectrum Features, in collaboration with fellow filmmaker Jason Matsumoto. Details on the production were previously posted here.

UPDATE – We have added a short photo tribute to Takehara Sensei through the years.





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Aikido Takes Center Stage


The club will be partnering with Green Shirt Studio, a neighborhood acting school, to offer an intro to Aikido class as part of their “Free Fridays” programming on Friday, August 19 at 8:00 pm.

As part of building a sense of community, every Friday Green Shirt Studio offers a 2:00 pm yoga class, a 7:00 pm Meisner repetition practice, and then an 8:00 pm rotating workshop.

All Free Friday events are first-come, first-served and donations are accepted.

Green Shirt Studio
4407 N Clark St
Chicago, IL 60640
(773) 217-9565


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Andrew Vitale (3rd Dan) teaching at September Friendship Seminar

CAC member Andrew Vitale, who also trains and teaches at Chicago Aikikai, will be part of the roster of instructors at an upcoming friendship seminar on Saturday, September 17 at Abiding Spirit Center in Crystal Lake, Illinois.

Andrew will be joining James Bator (4th Dan, Abiding Spirit Center), Salvatore Forestieri (4th Dan, Tenshin Shinjitsu Dojo of Chicago), Wendy Kopka (4th Dan, Midwest Aikido Center), and Michelle Tate (4th Dan, Abiding Spirit Center).

Classes are 9:00 am to 12:00 pm and 2:30 pm to 4:30 pm with a break for lunch. Cost for the seminar is $50.

Abiding Spirit Center is a member of the Aikido Shimboku and is located at 829 Virginia Road, Crystal Lake, IL 60014.

For more details, visit their website at www.abidingspiritcenter.org or call (815) 444-6019













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