Joe Takehara, the most senior aikido practitioner in the Midwestern United States and Illinois Martial Arts Hall of Fame inductee, talks about his experiences as a founding member of the Illinois Aikido Club, Chicago’s first dojo dedicated to the Japanese martial art. Initially meeting privately in the matless basement of Chicago Police Detective Anthony Muranaka’s 3-flat at 3324 N. Clark, the small group of Nisei enthusiasts soon after rented a storefront at 3223 N. Clark (Royal Indian Grill) and installed foam flooring to absorb their breakfalls and rolls. Additional to his role in introducing aikido to Chicago, Takehara sensei operated a dental practice up the block at 3355 N. Clark. He continues to teach a Sunday morning class at the Japanese American Service Committee.

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