Enso Karate Students and Instructors Represent Team USA

In the fall of 2014, several Enso students and instructors qualified for and competed with the AAU US Team in international competition. We are so proud of our students who represented the US among elite athletes around the world.

PolandTeamIn October, three Enso students traveled to Szczcin, Poland, for the 5th Annual WUKF World Karate Championships. The four-day tournament included thousands of athletes aged 6-21 from more than 35 countries. The AAU US Team took home 32 medals, including 10 gold. Enso’s Keplar Boonstra, AJ Cesar, and Sloane Stengal all earned valuable experience and made strong friendships during this international competition. Three additional Enso students also qualified for the US Team: Toby Nierras, Charlie Reichert Powell and Josue Reyes.





PolandTeam2In November, five Enso athletes traveled to Honolulu, Hawaii, for the 2013 Honolulu International Karate-Do Championships. All together they took home 7 medals (4 gold, 2 silver, 1 bronze). Representing Enso were: Sensei Omaun Covington (2nd place, kumite, Elite Black Belt division for men), Sensei Denise Nacu (1st place, kata, Advanced Black Belt division for senior women), Sensei Jay Nacu (2nd place, kata, Advanced Black Belt division for senior men), Maile Nacu (3rd place, kata, Advanced division

division for 7-8-year-old boys). Additionally, Sensei Jay, Sensei Denise and Mateo took home the gold in the “family kata” event.

We hope they will never forget these experiences, and that they will encourage other Enso athletes to compete nationally and internationally. Thank you to AAU Karate for providing guidance, training and encouragement for all our athletes!

Ten Enso Students and Instructors Advanced to Dan Ranks

Ten Enso students and instructors were advanced to the ranks of Shodan or higher in November 2014. We congratulate these karateka for having the discipline, courage and perseverance to advance further down the path, and we hope that karate training has strengthened their bodies and minds and enriched their lives with friendship and joy.

Special Guest Judge Sensei Dwight Holley (8th Dan) traveled to Chicago from Cincinnati to help administer an exam to Marco Martina and Jason Laufenburg (of Cincinnati Shotokan Karate-do), testing for Nidan, as well as seven students testing for Shodan: AJ Cesar, Elaine Cesar, Katie Coleman, Rahmil Magsino, Maile Nacu, Jojo Nierras and Toby Nierras. Each of these students reflected on their dan ranks in the exam booklet, which is available for download as well as at the front desk.

Additionally, Sensei Holley advanced Sensei Jay Nacu to 5th Dan and Sensei Denise Nacu to 4th Dan during his visit. These advancements represent their long-time commitment to practicing and teaching the art of karate at Enso and around the world. Congratulations, to all!

Kaminari Zoku 2014 Strikes at Tribune Tower!

Over 100 Enso Karate students surprised Downtown Chicago on Saturday, October 11th with their annual flash mob – Kaminari Zoku! This year marks the fourth flash mob Enso Karate has been part

it’s an opportunity for us to share our love of Shotokan Karate with Chicago!

Want to know what we’ve done in the past? Check out our past flash mobs here: 2011, 2012, and 2013.

Team Enso Needs Your Support!

EE_Logo_wideGoing into this season, we did not anticipate the costs needed for our coaches. Sending a strong team of hardworking athletes is exciting for all of us, and we hope to also send a strong group of coaches to lead these athletes to success. With just a few weeks away from Nationals, we hope that you consider helping in any way that you can. From all of us at Enso Elite – we thank you!

Our goal: $3,950

Our deadline: July 1, 2014

Donate to our Fundly Campaign!


Enso Elite Coaches for the AAU Karate National Championships

Jay Nacu, Denise Nacu, Saul Notario, Gerardo Fernandez, Alejandro Fernandez, Omaun Covington, Luca Bertagnoli, Elaine Cesar, Chris Dons

What this money will cover
  • Coaching Fees (including required clinics) for the AAU Karate National Championships (July 2-6, 2014). Coaching fees are $300 for technical coaches/$200 for administrative coaches
  • are ready for their kata and kumite events. Throughout the tournaments season, coaches dedicate their time and efforts to prepare the athletes both mentally and physically.

    Why coaching is beneficial

    We have found from experience that the support of a coach has helped with the overall success and result of an athlete’s performance. The nine coaches will cover the large group of 42 athletes we are sending to this national tournament.


The Art of Breaking with Kid Jungle

Enso Open House Highlights Fun, Friendship, and Fitness at the Chicago Dojo

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On Saturday, May 10, 2104, guests from all over Chicagoland visited Enso’s Chicago dojo to get a taste of our current offerings and NEW fitness programs launching this summer. Among the fun festivities and raffles, the event offered free trial classes and demos for:

  • Tai Chi & QiGong
  • Shotokan Karate
  • The Real YOUga
  • The Art of Breaking (hip-hop and breakdancing)
  • Zumba
  • Cardio Fit Karate

Familiar and new faces spent the day trying new activities that help promote great health and fitness — two very important aspects for us at Enso. Many left with new-found interests and new friends!

Summer 2014 Class Registration

Still want to sign up for our programs? It’s not too late! Get more information about each program and find out how you can register here. Sign-up before May 20th and receive $20 OFF! Offer expires: May 20, 2014. Not valid for drop-in rates. Offer not valid for Zumba session rate. For karate and Tai Chi program, offer is valid for new students only. ONLINE PROMO CODE: SUMMERFIT

Another outstanding karate weekend at Enso with Sensei Iain Abernethy, plus an interview with the Sensei!

On May 2 – 4, UK- based Sensei Iain Abernethy returned to Enso Martial Arts to lead another outstanding weekend seminar on kata applications.  As a bonus, Sensei Abernethy sat down for a wide ranging video interview sharing fascinating information on his background and teaching.

Karate kata – extracting practical applications

For readers not familiar with karate, a kata is a series of martial techniques performed in a prescribed manner.  Kata form the core of traditional karate practice, created by masters in Okinawa and Japan to pass down combative principles, techniques, and applications to students.  A main focus of Iain’s teachings, including his 4 karate books, many articles, and extensive instructional DVD collection, is analyzing kata to extract the close-in, practical self-protection techniques contained in kata.  From this perspective, karate as a self-protection system is much more than striking and kicking, it incorporates a panoply of combat techniques including grappling throws, joint locks, neck cranks, chokes, strangles, and more.  For more on Iain’s teachings, check out www.iainabernethy.com.

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Sensei Iain Abernethy at Enso.

A deep dive with kata flow drills

During his weekend at Enso, Sensei Abernethy led us on a deep dive into three core kata in the Shotokan repertoire – Kanku-Dai, Tekki Shodan, and Heian Godan.  For each kata, attendees learned “flow drills,” exercises with a partner that involve a flowing sequence of applications that follow the order of the kata.  Iain’s flow drills provide an efficient and engaging means to practice techniques, applications, and underlying combative principles.  By all accounts, it was a rich training experience, with attendees commenting on how their understanding and skills had grown appreciably during the weekend.


Still smiling after a full Saturday of training.

An Interview with Iain Abernethy

As a bonus, Sensei Abernethy agreed to answer a few questions.  During the interview, Iain covered a range of topics, including

  • His transition to full-time, professional martial artist
  • His four karate books, and his book Mental Strength, a treatise on personal growth and change
  • Why he focuses on the practical application of karate
  • Some common combative principles across martial arts
  • Training considerations for older martial artists

Lots of good information.  Click the image below to link to the interview on YouTube.

Thanks again to Sensei Abernethy from Enso for a great karate weekend!

Chris Cinnamon
Enso Martial Arts
Tai Chi and Qigong Instructor
Energy Arts Certified