Inaka Dojo 25th Anniversary Seminar

Inaka Dojo in Beecher, Illinois will celebrate its 25th anniversary this weekend with a special training seminar on May 5 – 7, 2017. Special guest instructors will be Chuck Weber Sensei (7th dan) and Charlie Page Sensei (7th dan) of Baltimore Aikido.



Chuck Weber Sensei and Charlie Page Sensei

Classes are scheduled for 6:30 pm Friday, 10:00 am and 2:30 pm Saturday, and 10:00 am Sunday.

Seminar fees are $150 for the full seminar and $45 per class.
Per class $45

Inaka Dojo is located at 704 Dixie Highway in Beecher. For full information, visit the seminar event page.



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The Health Benefits of Internal Martial Arts (speech by Grandmaster Wai Lun Choi)

Grandmaster Wai Lun Choi

At this year’s Illinois Martial Arts Hall of Fame Banquet (where Chicago Aikido Club senior instructor Joe Takehara was a recipient this year), the event opened with a speech by Grandmaster Wai Lun Choi, an expert in Liu Ho Ba Fa and 2016 Hall of Fame inductee.

Grandmaster Choi’s speech covered his thoughts on the internal martial arts. The complete text has been provided here courtesy of Hall of Fame organizer Pete Hoffman.



Presented at the Illinois Martial Arts Hall of Fame Banquet on April 1st, 2017


Martial arts practice is not just for self-defense.  It also has great value in promoting and maintaining our health as we grow older.


It is well known that from birth until about age 30, the body is generally strong and vibrant.  After 30 years of age the body naturally starts to slow down. After 30 one’s overall energy starts to go down and many people easily become tired from vigorous physical activities. While this natural change with aging affects many people, some individuals are able to avoid these negative affects.  One of the reasons many people have low energy as they age is that when doing physical activities they only use hand power, and do not use whole body mechanics.  The old masters identified that using only hand or muscle power in this manner, in martial arts training, is described as external style martial arts.


In 1971 at the age of 31, I challenged myself in order to test my courage, and signed up to compete in the all Southeast Asian hand to hand tournament.  After this tournament, as I began getting older, I started to feel my energy and endurance begin to lessen.  It was at this time that I began to analyze and study the internal style training principles and methods in more detail.  In studying the classic writings of the old masters I noticed that the founders of the internal martial arts were also interested in understanding this problem of decreasing energy that occurs as we age.  The masters figured out that by using whole body mechanics, leverage, comfortable breathing and gravity they were able to prevent the fatigue, low energy, and weakness often associated with aging.


The masters of the internal martial arts realized that the first thing one has to learn is to completely relax the whole body.  They also understood that one has to learn how to get the whole body united as “one piece”.  A united body structure and proper body mechanics allows you to move as a single unit.  This principle was later described by Newton in his second law of motion, which states that “force equals weight times speed”.  Based on this law of physics, when one moves with the whole body connected as one piece, greater amounts of force can be generated.  An example of this type of whole body power is illustrated in the power generated by a battering ram used to break through a strong door.  The internal methods that the old masters developed and practiced involve using mind and whole body mechanics, not using muscle power alone.  If you only use muscle power, you just use your hand and muscles, and do not use your whole body weight.  The masters of old also understood that in addition to getting the body structure to be united as one piece, it is also important to develop harmony of motion.  When we talk about harmony of motion we are referring to the coordinated opening and closing of the nine main joints in the body.

Returning to the topic of whole body relaxation, the reason why it is so important to relax completely is that when you’re relaxed, your breathing will be natural and comfortable.  We all know that we breathe in order to get oxygen into our bodies, and to circulate the oxygen through the body, so we can have the energy we need to move.  When one is not relaxed one’s breathing is shortened and delivers less oxygen into the body.  This will cause fatigue to occur.  Not being able to relax can create other problems as well.  First there is the problem of mental pressure, which will create tension in the body and affect one’s energy and speed.  In addition, if you are tense in the body for too long, this depletes the oxygen in your body quickly, and you become tired and thus slower in movement.  Excessive mental and physical tenseness can also lead to damage of one’s nervous system, musculoskeletal system, circulatory system, and can potentially cause damage to the heart as well.  When we understand the effects of this type of tenseness, it should motivate us to practice relaxation exercises in order to prevent these negative health effects.  One of the most effective ways to develop whole body relaxation is through standing meditation practice.  This kind of meditative relaxation exercise can be called a “natural medicine”.  Relaxation practice of this type has many health benefits and costs no money at all.  Standing meditation relaxation practice can help reduce and prevent much of the illness, sickness and suffering that frequently occurs as people age.  However, we should also remind ourselves that proper nutrition, healthy eating as well as regular aerobic exercise are important for maintaining good health as we age.  In addition, regular check ups with one’s health care provider is recommended for the overall prevention of illness and medical problems associated with aging. 


In closing, let me say that although we know that one day we will all have to leave this world, it’s very important for us to do what we can to maintain our health and energy as well as to limit our sickness and suffering as we age.  When eventually it is our time to pass on, the best we can hope for is to leave this world naturally and peacefully, and if possible, with a minimum of sickness, illness and suffering.







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Pics from 2017 Illinois Martial Arts Hall of Fame Banquet

The Illinois Martial Arts Hall of Fame held its annual banquet on Saturday, April 1 at Abbington Distinctive Banquets in Glen Ellyn, Illinois. Chicago Aikido Club senior instructor Joe Takehara was among this year’s inductees, sharing the stage with 17 other notable martial instructors, students and competitive athletes recognized for both their individual achievements as well as contributions to the greater martial arts community.

Program book: cover, list of inductees, Takehara’s entry


Signing the commemorative banner (with students Joanne Doi, Luke Sims and Kendrick Suenaga)
JT6036Takehara with members of his family


With students and friends (L to R, back row: Luke Sims, Erik Matsunaga, Christine Matsunaga, Dwight Sora, Joanne Doi, Kendrick Suenaga; front row: David Babbitt, Joe Takehara, Phil Marmet, Maggie Marmet)
Speech and award time (with organizers Pete Hoffman and Mike McNamera)
JT6262The 2017 inductees


Saying congratulations (L to R; back row: Jim Moy, Erik Matsunaga, Luke Sims, David Babbitt, Phil Marmet, Kendrick Suenaga, Jim Carr; front row: Joanne Doi, Joe Takehara, Dwight Sora, Christine Matsunaga)

Photos courtesy of Jim Moy

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Hiroshi Ikeda at Oberlin College

Hiroshi Ikeda Shihan of Boulder Aikikai will be teaching at Oberlin Aikikai’s annual  May Fair Seminar April 28-30. The event is open to Aikido students of all levels and affiliations.

Classes will will be held at the Hales Gym on the Oberlin College campus (180 West Lorain Street, Oberlin, Ohio 44074-1016). Registration is $140 for the entire seminar or $40 per class (Pre-registration recommended). For more information, visit the Oberlin Aikikai website or call 216-392-2274.

Class schedule:

Friday, April 28, evening class at 7 – 9 p.m.
Saturday, April 28, morning class at 10 – 12 p.m., and afternoon class at 3 – 5 p.m.
Sunday, April 30, morning class at 10 – 1 p.m.

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Friendship Seminar at Ryoshinkan Dojo

Ryoshinkan Dojo in Arlington Heights (534 W. Campus Dr.) will be hosting a one-day friendship seminar on Tuesday, March 21.

Instruction will be by Judy Leppert and Graig Neville.

The seminar will include classes for both children and adults. The children’s class will be held from 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm, and adult classes will follow from 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm and 8:15 pm to 9:15 pm.



For more information, contact Josh Weiser at or (847) 361-9714.


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Hiroshi Ikeda Shihan at Chicago Aikikai

Hiroshi Ikeda Shihan (7th dan, Boulder Aikikai) will be teaching a seminar at Chicago Aikikai the weekend of September 1 to 3.

Classes will be held on 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm on Friday, 10:00 am to 12:00 pm and 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm on Saturday, and 10:00 am to 12:00 pm on Sunday.

Registration for the full seminar is $140 in advance (before June 2) and $170at the door, or $50 per class. To register, go to Contact (312) 880-7357 or for further information.

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Tres Hofmeister at Chicago Aikikai in June


Tres Hofmeister (7th dan, Boulder Aikikai) will be teaching a seminar at Chicago Aikikai the weekend of June 2 to June 4.

Classes will be held on 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm on Friday, 10:00 am to 12:00 pm and 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm on Saturday, and 10:00 am to 12:00 pm on Sunday.

Registration for the full seminar is $125 in advance (before June 2) and $145 at the door, or $50 per class. To register, go to Contact (312) 880-7357 or for further information.



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Joe Takehara Inducted into Illinois Martial Arts Hall of Fame

clockwise from top left: Joe Takehara in the 1960s receiving instruction from Koichi Tohei at the old Illinois Aikido Club, teaching class at Chicago Aikido Club, demonstrating at Tohkon Judo Academy’s annual Kagami Biraki

Chicago Aikido Club (CAC) has received an official announcement that senior instructor Joe Takehara  will be inducted into the 2017 class of the Illinois Martial Arts Hall of Fame in honor of his years of dedication to the art of Aikido as a student and instructor.

On Saturday, April 1, Takehara will join 17 other recipients representing a wide range of martial arts at the Illinois Martial Arts Hall of Fame’s 13th Annual event, to be held at Abbington Distinctive Banquets in Glen Ellyn.

For tickets, contact Mike McNamara for tickets at or at 708-473-0682. Details may be found at the Illinois Martial Arts Hall of Fame Facebook event page.

Complete list of the 2017 Class of Inductees of the Illinois Martial Arts Hall of Fame

Steve Abbatte – (Posthumous) Viet Nam veteran and noted Chinese style martial artist

Oscar Bravo – Boxing Champion and lifelong martial artist

Charles Brown – (Posthumous) early Illinois karate black belt and the first African American to own and operate a commercial martial arts school in Illinois.

Gerald E Cook – High ranking Taekwondo practitioner and the first coach of multi-Olympic Medalist Juan Miguel Moreno

Tim Critser – one of the highest ranking Tracy’s Kenpo Karate stylists in Illinois and trainer of hundreds of students

Bernice Downs – the first high level female karate competitor from Illinois, she dominated local and national competition in the 1960’s and 1970’s

Manson “Master Blaster” Gibson – holder of multiple World Kickboxing Championships in several weight divisions for multiple organizations. Gibson would fight anyone, anywhere

Gregory T Johnson – early Kyokushin black belt who has operated his karate school in the southwest suburbs for more than 50 consecutive years

Phillip Koeppel – early Illinois Karate pioneer, noted instructor, formerly a high ranking USKA officer and now head of the USKK

Lorraine Lissner – Chinese stylist and competitor, a consistent winner fighting, forms and weapons

Paula Lezarz – high ranking Chinese martial artist, instructor and competitor on the regional and national level

John McSweeney – (Posthumous) early Ed Parker Kenpo black belt, early Illinois Kenpo instructor and the Father of Kenpo Karate in Ireland

Juan Miguel Moreno – member of three Olympic Taekwondo teams as a competitor, Moreno won two silver medals at the Games and is now a national team coach

Rick Sollo – one of the first people from Illinois to train Muay Thai, now a noted trainer. The first Illinoisan to regularly train in Thailand

Rick Stellwagen – retired, undefeated kickboxer and holder of several professional and amateur titles

Mark Streator – retired kickboxer who held many titles, now a top trainer

Dr. Joe Takehara – High ranking Aikido sensei and one of the original members of the Illinois Aikido Club, the first group to regularly train Aikido in the state. Dr. Takehara is also a retired dentist

John Zurisk – World Breaking Champion


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“The Uplifted” on Chicago TV

Photographer Kentaro Yamada who recently featured Chicago Aikido Club senior instructor Joe Takehara as part of his series “The Uplifted” appeared on the local Chicago program You & Me This Morning (WCIU).

Yamada’s shot of Takehara with several “levitating” students appears at 0:25 in a clip that may be found on Youtube.




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Busy Weekend in Illinois Aikido Seminars

There are two noteworthy seminars taking place this coming Saturday, March 4 at different dojo.

「Ken Purdy aikido images」の画像検索結果Tim Spies Sensei photo「Terry Leonard Sensei images」の画像検索結果

First up, there is a friendship seminar being held at Aikido of Havard (39 N. Ayer Stt., Harvard, Illinois 60033). The lineup includes Ken Purdy (4th Dan, Northern Wisconsin Aikido), Tim Spies (4th Dan, Ryoshinkan Dojo) and Terry Leonard (5th Dan, Aikido of Harvard). The seminar is divided into morning and afternoon sessions starting at 10:00 am and 2:30 pm, followed by a party starting at 6:00 pm. No mat charge, just a suggested $10 donation to contribute to the party. The contact for the event is Josh Weiser (, 847-361-9714).

Image may contain: 1 person

Then, Abiding Spirit Aikikai (829 Virginia Rd, Crystal Lake, Illinois 60014) is hosting “Strikes and Slices” with Jeff Hempel (5th Dan, Aikido of Madison) from 12:00 pm to 4:00 PM. The seminar will focus on strikes and knife techniques.

Both events are open to all styles and affiliations.

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