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

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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

Enso Karate Hosts an Open House Featuring NEW Summer Programs

To showcase the wonderful community and programs we have at Enso, we are having an OPEN HOUSE. Bring your family and friends to this event open for all!
  • Date: Saturday, May 10th, 2014
  • Time: 11 am – 4 pm
  • Location: Enso Chicago Dojo, 412 S. Wells, 7th floor, Chicago, IL 60607. Parking information.
Our open house will include demonstrations and free classes. Come try a class, including some exciting, new programs launching this summer!

Schedule of Free Classes on May 10, 2014

11:15 am – 11:45 am: Tai Chi and QiGong

12:00 pm – 12:30 pm: Zumba

12:45 pm – 1:15 pm: The Real Youga with Sandria

1:30 pm – 2:15 pm: Karate

2:30 pm – 3:00 pm: The Art of Breaking with Kid Jungle

3:15 pm – 3:45 pm: Cardio Fit Karate and Cardio Bag Blast!

Classes Descriptions

Tai Chi and QiGong with Chris Cinnamon, 11: 15 – 11: 45 am

These classes focus first on the physical movements of our Tai Chi form, then incorporate

foundational QiGong practices. As students learn and practice the low-impact movements of the Tai Chi form, they begin to feel their bodies in new ways, relaxing at ever deeper levels, beginning to open up frozen or stuck areas of their bodies. From this foundation, most students begin to perceive palpable benefits of Tai Chi practice. They soon learn, as we like to say, “What’s not to like about Tai Chi?” Classes are informal, interactive, cooperative, with an emphasis on students learning Tai Chi at their own pace in a safe, supportive instructional environment.

Learn more about Tai Chi at Enso


Zumba with Jasmine, 12:00 – 12:30 pm

This high-energy class is sure to deliver a fun workout incorporating elements of dance, latin rhythms, and aerobics. Open to all fitness levels. No experience necessary. Classes are offered on Fridays: 7:15pm – 8:15pm. 2014 Summer Session Dates: June 6, 13, 27; August 8. $12 per class.


The Real YOUga with Sandria, 12:45 – 1:15 pm

Being the real you takes practice. Whether you’re new to yoga or a seasoned yogi, develop and enhance your life with a practice that will stretch your body and mind, helping you live a fuller expression of yourself: THE REAL YOU! Join Sandria each week as she guides you through a class that will help you relieve stress, build strength and move beyond your challenges. There’s only one YOU. Get on the mat to be the best you off the mat! Classes are offered during the Summer 2014 Session on Saturdays from 7:40am – 8:40am.

Learn more about The Real YOUga with Sandria.


Karate with Jay Nacu, 1:30 – 2:15 pm

Karate offers a complete mind/body workout that develops physical strength and mental discipline. Classes include stretching, basic techniques (stances, punches, kicks, blocks), forms, and sparring. Benefits of karate training include improvement of cardiovascular endurance, muscular strength, balance, flexibility, and coordination. Karate also helps relieve stress and builds discipline, mental focus, and awareness.

Learn more about Karate at Enso.


The Art of Breaking (hip-hop and breakdancing) with Kid Jungle, 2:30 – 3:00 pm

Learn the basics of “Breaking” with instructor Kid Jungle of the world renowned Phaze II Chicago crew. In this class, students have lots of fun with breakdancing drills and techniques in a disciplined, structured setting. Take a dive into the culture of Hip Hop and learn its movements, history, and terminology. No previous experience necessary. Classes are offered during the Summer 2014 Session on Mondays from 4:15 pm – 5:15 pm. Class dates: June 2, 9, 16, 23, 30; July 14, 21, 28; Aug 4, 11.


Cardio Fit Karate and Cardio Bag Blast! with Linda Donner, 3:15 – 3:45 pm

Sample works for two classes launching this summer.

Cardio Fit Karate: A fun and challenging cardio fitness workout that can tone both your upper and lower body as well as your abs while teaching you self-defense techniques. No physical contact. This class is designed to benefit all fitness levels. No experience necessary.

Cardio Bag Blast!: Get your sweat on while learning strikes, punches, and kicks. No martial arts experience necessary.


Karate Seminar this Weekend with Sensei Iain Abernethy (May 2-4, 2014)

We are happy to welcome Sensei Iain Abernethy who will be travelling from the UK to Enso’s Chicago dojo this weekend, May 2 through 4, 2014. Space is still available for all or selected sessions. 

Iain has written a number of critically acclaimed books on the practical application of traditional martial arts and is well known for his work on the pragmatic use of the techniques and concepts recorded in the traditional kata.  He has written many articles and produced videos on these subjects.  This seminar provides a chance to learn and practice with Sensei Abernethy in person.

Students are sure to gain new insights and skills to apply kata-based techniques to practical situations. Participants will be attending from around the midwest, from out of state.

Please email us at with any questions.  All are invited to attend this unique training opportunity!



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

Prorated fees to attend selection sessions is available. Please contact us for more information.


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.


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 Open House – May 10, 2014

To showcase the wonderful community and programs we have at Enso, we are having an OPEN HOUSE on Saturday, May 10th from 11 am – 5pm. Bring your family and friends to this event open for all!

Date: Saturday, May 10th, 2014
Time: 11 am – 5 pm (detailed schedule TBA)
Location: Enso Chicago Dojo, 412 S. Wells, 7th floor, Chicago, IL 60607

Our open house will include demonstrations and free classes. Come try a class, including some exciting, new progra