Tohkon Classic Results!!! Another great, fun, crazy day of judo!! Team did a great job today!!!! Rose Taheny - GOLD
Maximus Kos - GOLD and 4th (7-8 div)
Clark Zylius - GOLD and SILVER (9-10 div)
Nick Wood - GOLD
Collin Coffey - GOLD
Riley Coffey - SILVER (7-8 div)
Gus Nemec - SILVER
Hunter Pittman - SILVER
Dan Lisnic - SILVER
Sebastian Koenig - BRONZE
Leo Nemec - BRONZE and BRONZE
Anna Woloszyk - BRONZE and 4th
Adam Woloszyk - BRONZE and 4th
Sean Dunford - 4th
Mike Taheny - 4th and 4th #tohkonjudoacademy
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A then 83-year old Joe Takehara dumps Dwight Sora, forty-two years his junior, during an aikido demonstration at Tohkon Judo Academy’s 2015 Kagami Biraki at Chicago’s Japanese American Service Committee. Takehara sensei was a founding member of the Illinois Aikido Club, the first aikido dojo in the Midwest, in 1961. The dojo was started by a group of Nisei professionals in Detective Tony Muranaka’s matless 3-flat basement on Clark Street in Lakeview’s unofficial J-town. Incidentally, Muranaka was the first Nisei on the Chicago Police Department (featured elsewhere on Windy City Nikkei).
A retired dentist, in the 1960s Takehara’s office at 3355 N. Clark was across the street from Muranaka’s home, and two blocks from the IAC's first formal dojo at 3223 N. Clark. A Nisei resettled from Poston WRC, he was invited to try this “new” martial art by John Omori, an optometrist down the street at 3206 N. Clark, who had formed the club a week prior with Norman Miyagi, an osteopath. Early members included Robert “Red” Sakamoto, Sab Tanaka, Carl & George Kita, Lester Katsura, June & Mary Tanaka, and Norio "Mike" Mamura from Milwaukee, who would go on to establish the Milwaukee Aikido Club.
25-year devotee of the art Dwight Sora began practicing aikido in 1993 under Hiroshi Tada, while attending Tokyo’s Waseda University through an exchange program with the University of Chicago. He is a Japanese documents translator by trade, as well as a professional actor. In 2010, Sora co-founded the Chicago Aikido Club with Joe Takehara and Yukiko Hara (the focus of an earlier WCN feature) as senior instructors & advisors, continuing the legacy of Nikkei involvement in aikido. Sora, a Yonsei Nikkei, is a past board member of Chicago JACL and active with the Midwest Buddhist Temple.
For his 56-years of service to aikido in Chicago, in 2017 Joe Takehara was inducted into the Illinois Martial Arts Hall of Fame. He and Yuki Hara continue to teach on Sunday mornings.
Credit: Erik Matsunaga
Founded in 1992, Tohkon Judo Academy is one of the largest judo dojos in the United States. With an international membership of players representing dozens of countries worldwide, Tohkon’s roots nevertheless date back to the period of Japanese American resettlement from WWII incarceration camps.
Judo, a grappling art somewhat akin to wrestling, has been a popular pastime among the Nikkei community since the turn of the century when Japanese began immigrating en masse for plantation jobs in Hawaii and farm and cannery work up and down the West Coast of the mainland U.S.
Tohkon is affiliated with the Chicago Judo Black Belt Association, founded in 1947, who received its charter directly from the Kodokan (Judo World Headquarters in Tokyo). They are additionally affiliated with the United States Judo Federation, USA Judo, and Illinois Judo Inc.
The dojo’s head instructor is Douglas Tono, 7th dan, former world champion and U.S. Olympic Team member, whose parents were Nisei resettlers to Chicago. A volunteer yudansha staff runs a variety of classes for both children and adults, as well as a women’s program.
In 1995, Tohkon partnered with the Japanese American Service Committee in Chicago’s Uptown neighborhood, building out a sizeable dojo on-site which they have called home ever since. In conjunction with JASC they hold an annual summer picnic as well as a New Year’s Kagami Biraki and mochitsuki.
Photo credit: Erik Matsunaga
At New Year’s, many Japanese Americans participate in mochitsuki (ritual pounding of rice into mochi). Can you believe Microsoft just autocorrected “mochi” to “mocha”? I pre-write these things in thought spurts out of an Outlook window on my computer as time permits, and later copy/paste from my phone. (One small post like this might take an entire day or more in between other things.) Here, Mr. Nakai – the mochi (no, not mocha!) turner at this event – instructs the next generation on the finer points of cleaning the usu (mortar) in which all the rice was pounded at Tohkon Judo Academy’s annual Kagami Biraki at the Japanese American Service Committee. The usu was on loan from the Buddhist Temple of Chicago, located a few blocks away.
Every single instance of mochi was autocorrected to "mocha" and had to be manually changed back. It's not even like mocha is an English word, either, referring to the city of Mocha in Yemen, historically known as a shipping port on the Red Sea well-regarded as a source for an arabica coffee referred to as Mocha Sanani.
Least it prompted me to learn about mocha, anyway.
Photo credit: Erik Matsunaga