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!

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

Enso Elite Brings Home 55 Medals from AAU Regional Championships!

GroupOn April 26th – 27th, our tournament team, Enso Elite, competed in the 2014 AAU Regionals in Grayslake, IL. With 45 members on our team, we took home 55 medals in total: 20 gold, 22 silver, and 13 bronze!

Competing among top athletes from all over the region, our students left this experience feeling inspired and filled with excitement as Nationals quickly approaches! We are thankful for the amount of support we receive and effort put forth from our parents and coaches as without them, none of this is possible. We are also proud of the commitment and hard work from our athletes. We understand that preparing and competing for tournaments is never easy, but it is our hope that our athletes continue to become motivated and humbled by the experiences they have.

Way to go, team! With only 2 months left, the countdown to Nationals begins!

Enso Karate Summer Camp

Enso Karate Summer Camp 2014!

Karate Camp at Enso is back for 2014!

Kids ages 5-12 will love our fun-filled camps which will be held in August.  Open to current karate students as well as kids new to martial arts, this camp involves learning new skills; practicing basics, kata, and kumite; fitness games; and more.

Sensei Jay and his amazing team of instructors will keep all campers moving in a positive, social setting.  The highlight is the “Camp Show” and Pizza Party on Friday to showcase their camp experience!

Camp dates:

  • August 4-8, 2014
  • August 11-15, 2014

Time:  9:00am-12:30pm

Cost: $250 per week

We are also happy to continue our Junior Camp Counselor program for brown and black belt youth, which gives them the chance to build their leadership and teaching skills.  Parents: please assist your child in applying online by May 18, 2014.

Learn more and register.


Creating "Enso" Art at Summer Camp

Enso Belt Exams Coming Up – March 15, 2014


Another big event for our students is approaching—belt exams!


check if you are eligible, please visit our Student Portal. If you need to gain access, please find us at the dojo or email elaine@ensostudio.com for the password.

Classes will be canceled the day of the exam, however we encourage students and their families to come and support those that will be participating.

  • Date of Exam: Saturday, March 15, 2014
  • Registration Deadline: March 14, 2014 at 7pm
  • Make-Up Exam: April 4, 2014 at 7:15pm; Extra $10 fee



Enso Chicago Dojo, 412 S. Wells St., 7th floor



Arrival time will vary depending on rank and age. Please visit the Eligibility List via our Student Portal for exact arrival times.



Students who are eligible are permitted to take the exam. To find out if you are eligible, visit our Student Portal.


Registration Deadline

The deadline to register and make payment is Friday, March 14th, 2014. Receipt of exam fee payment confirms your spot in the exam.


How To Register
  1. Register online.
  2. Email info@ensostudio.com with permission to charge your account.
  3. Pay in person or provide permission to charge your account by March 14, 2014 (7:00 PM).


Hope to see you there!

Sensei Iain Abernethy Seminars

Enso is honored to welcome 6th dan Sensei Iain Abernethy, who will join us all the way from the United Kingdom for a full weekend of karate training. Space is limited, please sign up early to ensure your spot.



Friday, May 2, 2014. 6 – 8 pm

  • Foundational Bunkai

Saturday, May 3, 2014. 9 am – 5 pm & Sunday, May 4, 2013. 9 am – 1 pm

  • Historical Development/Background of Kata
  • The

    4 stage Approach to Kata

  • How to Analyze the Movements of Kata
  • The Nature of Live Conflict
  • How to Create Effective Bunkai Drills
  • Karate Grappling (throws, locks, chokes, strangles, groundwork)
  • Kata Applications (Heian/Pinan series, Tekki/Naihanchi, Kushanku/Kanku-Dai, Passai/Bassai-Dai,Gankaku/Chinto, others as time allows)
  • Kata-Based-Sparring (live bunkai drills)



  • $175 All Sessions (Friday, Saturday, and Sunday)
  • $35 Friday Night ONLY


Open to adults 7th kyu and above, and teens 3rd kyu and above


Pay online through our online store or mail a check to Enso: 412 S. Wells Street, 7th Floor, Chicago, IL 60607.


Hotel Information

Union League Club of Chicago

Special Group Rate: $159/night (not including 20% surcharge)

Reserve rooms by calling 1.800.443.0578 or e-mailing ulcrooms@ulcc.org. Mention “Iain Abernethy Seminar” when booking.

Reservation cut-off date: Friday, April 18, 2014


Any questions about this seminar can be directed to info@ensokarate.com.


Host Dojo

Founded in 2002, Enso has grown into a leading shotokan karate dojo in the Midwest, offering a full program of classes, competition, and private instruction for adults and youth. Located in the vibrant heart of downtown Chicago, the Enso dojo offers a spacious training facility and convenient transportation options.


About Iain Abernethy

Iain Abernethy has been involved in the martial arts since childhood. Abernethy holds the rank of 6th Dan with the British Combat Association (one of the world’s leading groups for close-quarter combat, self- protection and practical martial arts) and 5th Dan with the British Karate Association.

Abernethy is in great demand on the seminar circuit and he teaches many seminars on his approach to practical karate both in the UK and overseas. The bunkai that Abernethy teaches are not prearranged karateka vs. karateka applications; nor are they static, complex, elaborate or reliant upon finite movement. Abernethy’s approach to karate makes kata application practical, simple, direct and accessible to all.

Abernethy regularly writes for the UK’s leading martial arts magazines and he is a member of the Combat Hall of Fame. Abernethy’s books and DVDs have sold worldwide and his highly pragmatic approach to kata applications (bunkai) has proved to be very popular with those who wish to practice karate as an effective self-protection system.


Hotel Accommodations

A special rate is provided to us at the Union League Club of Chicago, a local hotel in downtown Chicago, that is near our dojo. The block rate is $159/night (not including 20% surcharge).

Hotel web site: http://www.ulcc.org/

If you’d like to reserve a room, you can by calling 1.800.443.0578 or e-mailing ulcrooms@ulcc.org. Please mention “Iain Abernethy Seminar” when booking.

Please note that the cut-off date to reserve is on Friday, April 4, 2014. You can cancel room reservations 24 hours in advance to avoid a charge.

Over 100 Students Compete in Enso Dojo Tournament 2014

On Saturday, January 25, 2014, Enso held it’s annual dojo tournament with over 100 competitors and were joined by guests from Fonseca Martial Arts, Midwest Shotokan Karate, and Hu Shin Kai. With the help and support of our volunteers and judges, the tournament ran smoothly from 9 o’clock in the morning until 4:30 in the afternoon. At this special event, it is our goal and hope that our students are able to gain tournament experience, develop good sportsmanship, and challenge their abilities. At the end of the day, many competitors went home with happy faces and a new story to add to their karate journey!

More pictures can be viewed on our Facebook page.

Dojo Tournament

Enso Karate Dojo Tournament 2014 is Coming!

We are kicking off 2014 with a small, friendly karate tournament that will be held in our Chicago dojo on Saturday, January 25, 2014! We hope that you can join us for a great event that aims to help build healthy competition, good sportsmanship, and tournament experience. This tournament is open to all of our students, ages 4 and above.

In addition to the Saturday tournament, we will also be holding Black Belt Exams on Friday, January 24th, and Training Seminars on Sunday, January 26th.  Details to be announced.

Enso Dojo Tournament 2014 Info

Register online list of domains . three domains of learning .

Kaminari Zoku 2013 – Enso’s Friendly Flash Mob

On Saturday, October 5th, 2013. Enso Karate Students delighted tourists and Chicagoans with their Kaminari Zoku (“thunder clan”), a surprise kata performance, at Buckingham Fountain.

2013’s Buckingham Fountain Flash Mob


Previous Kaminari Zoku events:

2012’s Union Station Flash Mob
Behind the Scenes: http://vimeo.com/105764341
Spectator’s View: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YlR4FLMM_fM

2011’s Cloud Gate Flash Mob