Top Five Martial Arts for Nurses / Health Workers.

Originally posted on dontmakemeangrymrmcgee:


Sadly if you work in the Emergency Department of a Public Hospital, your chances of being punched, hit or otherwise assaulted at work are on the increase. Nurses for years have often been the target of physical violence in the workplace ranging from being attacked by patients with Alzheimer’s disease who simply do not recognise who they are and respond out of fear through to crystal meth addicts looking for the fastest way out of the emergency department after being detained.

So how then does a nurse or allied health worker reasonably defend themselves at work? – There are a number of self defence systems, yet how many are suitable in a hospital or other health environment where punching and striking patients is strictly forbidden and will quickly result in your suspension from work if it happens, including if you try and tell your employer that you were simply trying…

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Takehara Sensei in Action

Some previously unposted photos of Joe Takehara demonstrating at Tohkon Judo Academy’s Kagami Biraki celebration on Saturday, January 10, 2015.

The full gallery is available for viewing here.

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Age is a Mental Thing

Chicago Aikido Club member Dwight Sora kicked of celebrations for his 42nd birthday with a round of birthday breakfalls following evening class on Friday, June 26.

The very generous nage work came courtesy of club members Marlon Fadragas, Cyril Oseledets, Joe Takehara, Hai Tran, Nguyen Tran and Andrew Vitale.

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Aikido for Over 40’s.

Originally posted on dontmakemeangrymrmcgee:

unnamed Turning 40 was an interesting time in my life, as it came nearer I tried not to really think about it and I really did not celebrate the occasion when it came around. Reflecting on it now, I don’t know what it was that I really expected to happen. What I know is that I soon discovered that I felt no different in any way at all. Still, it was in my late 30’s that I first made my decision to begin training in martial arts. I did not know a great deal about the differences between them, but knew that I wanted to learn self defence training. I tried Hapkido / Taekwondo first, then on to Krav Maga and then Aikido where I am today. I loved Hapkido but Taekwondo came with it, I struggled with kicking above waist height and found the Patterns or Kata incredibly confusing, It…

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In Memoriam – Donald Levine (1931 – 2015)


Last weekend, Professor Donald Levine of the University of Chicago, a good friend of the Chicago Aikido Club, passed away on April 5 after a long period of illness. A professor of sociology, Professor Levine began studying aikido in his 40s, eventually receiving the rank of yondan (4th degree black belt) under the Aikido Schools of Ueshiba (ASU).

As head instructor of the University of Chicago Aikido Club from the late 1980s onward and through his undergraduate course Conflict Theory and Aikido, Professor Levine served as the conduit by which many young people first discovered and nurtured their interest in the martial art. He was also the founding president of Aiki Extensions, Inc., an organization that networks and supports individuals involved with “off-the-mat” aikido applications.

A service in memory of Professor Levine will be held at 1:00 pm on April 9 at KAM Isaiah Israel Congregation, 1100 E Hyde Park Boulevard, Chicago, IL 60615.

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Happy 84th Takehara Sensei

The Man

Dr. Joe Takehara (竹原譲), senior instructor of Chicago Aikido Club (CAC) and a founding member of the original Illinois Aikido Club celebrated his 84th birthday on Saturday, April 4 at a party organized by his daughter Susanne. The lively gathering was attended by members from the CAC, as well as members of the Milwaukee Aikido Club, Chicago Aikikai and Ravenswood Shorin-ryu Karate Dojo.  Happy Birthday Takehara Sensei!!


Ellen Fitzmorris and Trevor Clarke              Andrew Vitale, Sol Mayorga and Leo Hinami

Helen and JoeThe Tran Family

Helen Nagata and Joe Takehara              Ai Tran, Hai Tran and Mika Hinami

YukiAndy and Stephanie

The ageless Yuki Hara                              Andrew Vitale and Stephanie Folk


Cyrill Oseledets                                 The Organizer! (Susanne Takehara)

Eric and DanielJim and Mika

Eric Castillo and Daniel Braithwaite                      Jim Carr and Mika Hinami


           Ewa Mierzejewska

The Buffet

The spread! (Daniel Braithwaite, Susanne Takehara and Erik Matsunaga)

Enjoying the spread

Ewa Mierzejewska, Ai Tran and Joanne Doi


The lighting of the cake                              The presentation of the cake


“Let me show you how it’s done, kid”                            “Breath . . . . ”


Mika Hinami assisting

Good Times

Good times (Yuki Hara, Elizabeth Margetich, Ellen Fitzmorris, Helen Nagata)


Dwight Sora and Joe Takehara

Debbi and YukiYuki and Bob

Debra Mamura-Beltier and Yuki Hara                    Yuki Hara and Bob Mita

Keiki, Ivayvo and Peter

Keiki Hinami, Ivaylo Evtimov and Peter Georgiev


 Leo Hinami

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Photos from the Illinois Japan Bowl (March 7, 2015)

The Japan America Society of Chicago (JASC)  very kindly shared some photos from Chicago Aikido Club‘s demonstration at the Illinois Japan Bowl held on Saturday, March 7, 2015 at North Central College in Naperville.


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Featured in photos: Patrick Miller, Dwight Sora, Andrew Vitale and Illinois Japan Bowl high school participants

Thanks again to everyone at JASC for the opportunity. Special thanks to Erik Matsunaga at Ravenswood Shorin-Ryu Karate Dojo for referring us, our contacts Patrick Noonan, one of the judges of the Illinois Japan Bowl, and Erika Kono, Director of Administration & Logistics at JASC. Also thanks to Mitsukuni Baba, Executive Director, for his welcoming and complimentary remarks. And a big shout out to all the Illinois high school students who competed that day.

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Chicago Aikido Club at Illinois Japan Bowl

Japan Bowl

Chicago Aikido Club (CAC) members Patrick Miller, Dwight Sora and Andrew Vitale will be performing an aikido demonstration as part of the cultural program for the first-ever Illinois Japan Bowl on Saturday, March 7, 2015.

The Japan Bowl is a competition for high school students, in which three-person teams are tested on their knowledge of Japanese language and both traditional and modern Japanese culture. The winning team will go on to participate in the National Bowl in Washington, D.C., as part of 200 students from over 30 high schools across the U.S.

The event is sponsored by the Japan America Society of Chicago  and will be held at North Central College in Naperville. Admission is free and open to the public.

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A Touch of Zen

CAC members Dwight Sora and Patrick Miller explaining aikido at the Zen Life & Meditation Center of Chicago (photo by June Tanoue)

On Sunday the 22nd, members of the Chicago Aikido Club were guests of the Zen Life & Meditation Center of Chicago located in the western suburb of Oak Park. At the invitation of June Tanoue, who runs the center together with her husband Robert Althouse,  club members Dwight Sora and Patrick Miller were guest speakers for that week’s “Sunday Morning Zen” session, which normally includes meditation, a talk and discussion.

After an hour of sitting and walking meditation starting at 8:00 am, Dwight spent the next hour explaining the history and principles of aikido, emphasizing the art’s focus on breathing, relaxing and non-aggression. At times, the explanation was supplemented with live demonstrations of basic technique together with Patrick. Much to the surprise of the gathered audience, the hour also included getting up on their feet and pairing up to try some simple exercises so attendees could experience some of the “feel” of aikido.  These included attempting the “unbendable arm” exercise, and a simple response to a katadori shoulder grab.

All in all, the morning proved to be very productive and informative according to the people attending. During a round of vegan and gluten-free “zen eats” after the session, Dwight and Patrick had an opportunity to socialize casually with the attendees and further speak about their own observations and experiences studying aikido.

In terms of the pleasant atmosphere and conversation juxtaposed with the flowing movements of the aikido techniques presented, the morning truly lived up to its advertised title of ““Stillness in Action – Action in Stillness.”

Attendees watching the presentation.

Dwight demonstrating what a peaceful mind and body does not look like

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Kicking Off 2015 with Food and Friendship

2015 CAC KB Group photo

Chicago Aikido Club kicked off the New Year in earnest with its annual Kagami Biraki class and party on Sunday, February 8 at Tohkon Judo Academy. Regular club members were joined on the mat by visitors from Aikido of West Bend (including chief instructor Eric Novak), Chicago Aikikai, Milwaukee Aikido Club, Ravenswood Shorin-ryu Karate Dojo and Tenshinkan Dojo (including chief instructor Stephen Toyoda).

As announced, class was taught by Joe Takehara and Yuki Hara, followed by a potluck luncheon held next door on the premises of the Japanese American Service Commitee (JASC). The spread included some great vegetarian stew, meatballs, Spam musubi, lumpia (Filipino eggrolls), and as has become a tradition, kringles courtesy of our friends from Wisconsin.

All-in-all, a terrific start to 2015.

2015 CAC KB Bob Mita and Hai  2015 CAC KB Jamey and Eric   2015 CAC KB Yuki and Toyoda2015 CAC KB Takehara Sensei and Luis 2015 CAC KB Toyoda throwing Keiki
2015 CAC KB Yuki teaching (1)   
2015 CAC KB Yuki teaching (5)

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