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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New Class Schedule

Chicago Aikido Club (CAC) is changing its Monday and Friday classes from 6:00 pm to 7:30 pm to 6:30 pm to 7:45 pm. We apologize in advance if there is any confusion resulting from this schedule change, and please bear with us as everyone adjusts to the new times.

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The Orange Story’s Premiere is in NYC July 23 at the Asian American International Film Festival!

An American Tale

Source: The Orange Story’s Premiere is in NYC July 23 at the Asian American International Film Festival!

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Upcoming Peace-Themed Seminar


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Pictures from Aikido on Daley Plaza

Members of Chicago Aikido Club and Chicago Aikikai were given a warm reception by the Asian American Coalition of Chicago and the public crowd that had gathered to watch their lunchtime demo as part of 15th Asian American Festival at Daley Center Plaza. Despite some cloudy skies and signs of possible rain, the demo went off without a hitch. Emcees Joanie Lum (news reporter, WFLD-TV Channel 32)and Rose Tibayan (award-winning broadcast journalist and digital media entrepreneur) were especially pleased to see strong female representation from Qin Zheng and Satoko Bourdaghs from Chicago Aikikai.


Sean Bruegman watches Qin Zheng and Stephen Weinberg


Stephen Weinberg performing ikkyo (first technique) on Dwight Sora (Satoko Bourdagh in background).


Left to Right: Kendrick Suenaga, Satoko Bourdagh, Dwight Sora, Megan Nakano (Honorary VP for 2014 Host Community), Martino Tangkar (Indonesian American community representative, AACC Board of Directors), Stephen Weinberg, Satoko Bourdagh and Qin Zheng.

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Stay Calm, Parents

On Monday, May 9 and Wednesday, May 11, Chicago Aikido Club (CAC) member Dwight Sora gave a short demonstration of aikido for the parents and children of the Tampopo Kai play group at the Japanese American Service Committee (JASC) of Chicago.

Aikido Pushing

Invited by Tampopo Kai organizer Naomi Negi, Sora (whose 22-month-year old son Jack regularly attends Tampopo on Mondays) gave a short explanation of aikido’s history and principles, and then demonstrated some basic techniques. He was partly aided in his demonstration by fellow parent Shimako Asakawa Walker (a former student of Tatsuo Toyoda Sensei at Tenshinkan Dojo), as well as some volunteers from the audience.

Aikido with Baby

Video from the presentation may be viewed here

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Aikido on Daley Plaza

There will be a joint aikido demo by members of Chicago Aikido Club and Chicago Aikikai as part of the 15th Asian American Festival at Daley Center Plaza, sponsored by the Asian American Coalition of Chicago. The demo is scheduled for Wednesday, May 18 around 12:45 pm. If you happen to be downtown that day and have time to support us, come on by.


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