See the tournament website for more information and registration link.
The 2019 Chicagoland Karate-Do Challenge was held on October 27, 2019 bringing about 250 athletes from from 24 different dojos/clubs, including 1 from Canada, to compete among the best. The CKC was co-hosted by Enso Karate and Nisei Dojo and sanctioned by the Amateur Athlete Union (AAU). The event ran 120 divisions in kihon, individual kata, individual kumite, team kata, family team kata, team rotational kumite, and special needs. This year’s event was held in a new venue, the CSO Multiplex, which provided ample space and amenities for athletes and spectators.
We would like to thank our friends in karate for participating in the CKC. Congratulations to all the athletes of all ages who put their best efforts out on the mat! We are also thankful for the 80+ volunteers, officials, and coaches who helped everything run on-time, safely, and smoothly.
The CKC is dedicated to creating a positive experience for all participants. Here is a sample of some of the feedback we received this year:
- This is by far, the best tournament I have been to. It is really great to have divisions running on time or ahead of schedule. It was really great to have all advanced divisions run early to open up officials to compete and referee later. I also loved the smoothness and effectiveness of communication over multiple avenues such as email, and FB. It was great to have ring assignments as well. I wish there was a way share what you are doing and have it applied to the rest of the tournaments this season. You guys are great!
- Thank you for a great tournament. Wishing we had more competitors but that isn’t something you can control. It was great to be at a tournament that ran on time and very organized. We have been to lots of tournaments over the years across the US. This was up there with some of the better ones we have been to. Thank you again for hosting and looking forward to next year.
We hope to see you in more karate events in the coming competition season!
The tournament isn’t until Oct. 27th, but you can start preparing for Enso’s biggest event of the year today by taking these three action steps:
REGISTER TO COMPETE
You can download the forms online or pick them up at the Enso front desk.
SIGN-UP TO VOLUNTEER
We’ll provide training for various tasks – we need lots of helping hands!
PREPARE FOR COMPETITION
Our special tournament-prep sessions are designed for students new to competition.
Sunday, October 27, 2019
Tuesday, October 15, 2019
CSO Sports Multiplex
1301 E. 47th Street, Chicago, IL 60653
- 7:30 AM: Judges and Volunteers Meeting
- 8:00 AM: Doors open for $5 general admission (free for seniors and kids aged 6 and below)
- 8:30 AM: Open Flag Kata event starts
- 9:00 AM: Other events begin according to schedule. Generally, the event will run in the following order:
- Kihon (Basics) for the 4-12 year olds
- Kata and Kumite for 4-12 year olds
- Team Kata
- Kata and Kumite for teens and adults
- Team Kumite
- 10:00 AM: Welcoming Remarks
- 5:00 PM: We expect all events to conclude by approximately this time.
Specific event times will be sent out to competitors approximately a week before the tournament. Athletes should be dressed and ready to compete at least 60 minutes before their scheduled time.
$5 per person
Seniors and Children under 6 are free
Athletes and spectators are welcome to stay and watch events throughout the day!
Register to Compete
There are three steps to completing registration: (1) AAU Membership, (2) Event Forms, and (3) Event Payment. The registration deadline is October 15, 2019.
Purchase an AAU 2018 membership ($16 for youth; $29 for adults) through AAU’s website. Remember to note your membership number, which will be sent to you via email. **For beginner students who are ONLY competing in Kihon, Enso will purchase an AAU membership for them.**
You may download the individual event and team event forms online, or you may pick up hardcopies at the front desk. We’ll have copies on hand at the Oak Park dojo as well. These may be submitted either in-person or by email to email@example.com.
Calculate your total amount due for individual and any team events. You may pay online or in person with credit card, cash, or check made out to “Enso Karate.” The AAU membership should be purchased on your own.
In the week before the tournament, you will receive confirmation of your registration and and have the opportunity to make any corrections.
Sign Up to Volunteer
Successful tournaments require many lending hands! We are looking for both volunteer referees (black belts ages 15+) as well as volunteers to help set-up, check-in participants, keep score, keep time, and many other tasks that will help this special event run smoothly.No experience is necessary, and we will provide training!
We love our volunteers, and we try to treat them right! We offer our referees and volunteers:
- TRAINING! Before the day of the tournament, we host a special 1-hour training for all CKC Referees (Sept. 29) and a special 1-hour training for all CKC Volunteers (Oct. 6). During this time, we outline roles and provide specialized training to your assigned tasks, including the electronic scoreboards.
- BREAKFAST & LUNCH! On the day of the tournament, we have a break room dedicated to our volunteers and officials. There, you’ll find continental breakfast as well as a full lunch (in past years, we’ve ordered trays of food from Chinatown).
- SPECIFIED “SHIFTS.” We know not everyone can volunteer for the whole day. At our tournament, you can designate a 4-hour window of time when you’d like to volunteer. For referees, we ask that you commit to the whole day if at all possible — but we’d rather have you for a half-day than not at all! Please click-through to the sign-up forms to see the options.
- VOLUNTEER T-SHIRT (tentative). We’re still working on finding a vendor that fits our budget, but we’re doing our best to offer our all our volunteers a free CKC t-shirt.
- FREE ADMISSION. In case it doesn’t go without saying, we don’t expect volunteers to pay tournament admission ($5). If you’re arriving at 8 AM to watch your child compete, but not volunteering until 1 PM — no worries! We’ll have your name on a list at the door, so we know not to charge you.
Prepare for Competition
Students should always train regularly (2x/week) if they can! In the weeks leading up to the tournament, we’ll try to practice some tournament situations during regular classes. But if you’re new to competition, we also recommend you attend one of our special tournament-prep sessions, where we’ll take a deeper dive into tournament rules, procedures, and etiquette.
CKC TOURNAMENT PREP SESSION 1
Saturday, September 21st
CKC TOURNAMENT PREP SESSION 2
Sunday, September 29th
Frequently Asked Questions
WHAT IS THE “2020 AAU NUMBER”? / DO I NEED TO REGISTER FOR AAU MEMBERSHIP IF I’M ONLY COMPETING IN THIS TOURNAMENT?
To compete in this tournament, a 2020 membership to the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) is required — except for beginner students who are ONLY competing in Kihon, in which case Enso will purchase an AAU membership for them.
The fee for youth (17 and under) is $16. The fee for adults (18 and up) is $29. You can learn more about membership benefits and purchase a membership online at https://play.aausports.org.
The AAU membership can be used to compete in any other AAU event between September 2010 and August 2020.
WHAT ARE THE DIVISIONS? / WHY ARE THERE ONLY FOUR BELT COLORS LISTED?
This tournament uses AAU’s four ranking divisions, which wear only four belt colors (white, green, brown or black). AAU places athletes into these divisions based on the number of years they have trained, rather than by the rank they have earned. To make it easier for our students who haven’t competed previously, here is how the divisions break down:
- Beginners are competitors who have been training for less than 1 year, and they all wear white belts during the tournament regardless of their earned rank. Generally, these students may have earned a rank of 10th-7th kyu (white, yellow, orange and green belts).
- Novices are competitors who have been training for 1-2 years, and they all wear green belts during the tournament regardless of their earned rank. Generally, these students may have earned a rank of 6th-4th kyu (blue and purple belts).
- Intermediates are competitors who have been training for 2-4 years, and they all wear brown belts during the tournament regardless of their earned rank. Generally, these students may have earned a rank of 3rd-1st kyu (brown belts).
- Advanced competitors have been training for 4+ years, and they all wear black belts during the tournament. All dan ranks (black belts) must compete at the advanced level. Some of our more experienced brown belts who have been training for more than 4 years must also compete at the advanced level.
If you have any questions about which division you should register for, please ask Sensei Jay. Please make arrangements to buy or borrow a belt if you don’t have the right color in the right size for competition.
WHAT ARE THE “INDIVIDUAL EVENTS” ALL ABOUT, AND WHO SHOULD DO THEM?
Each athlete should complete one Individual Registration Form. Here is some information about events for which athletes may register:
- Kihon (Fee: $35), also known as “basics,” is only for Beginners age 12 and under. It involves performing basic techniques (e.g., stepping forward jodan punch, stepping back rising block). This is a great event to showcase your karate basics, power, and spirit! If your athlete cannot yet perform a kata on their own, this is the suggested event for them. **For beginner students who are ONLY competing in Kihon, Enso will purchase an AAU membership for them.**
Individual Kata (Fee: $45). Most students compete in this event. It is an opportunity to display the student’s kata(s) that they work hard on in the dojo. This is a great event for youth and adults, at all levels!
Open Flag Kata (Fee: $45). This event is only open to black belts ages 15 and up. Men and women each have one division of combined ages. It’s tough competition!
Individual Kumite (Fee: $45). Recommended for students who have had experience in free sparring in the dojo. If you are unsure about participating, please speak to their instructor(s) before signing up. Required gear for kumite includes: mouthguard, fist guards, helmet (ages 17 and under; can be purchased or we will have some to borrow at the tournament), cup (for males).
WHAT ARE THE “TEAM EVENTS” ALL ABOUT, AND WHO SHOULD DO THEM?
If the athlete is competing in team kata or team kumite, they should also complete a Team Registration Form. Here is some information about team events for which athletes may register:
- Team Kata (Fee: $75 per team / $25 per athlete). Teams must consist of exactly three competitors. Teams may consist of all male, all female, or mixed genders. Athletes should find teams on their own. If you would like help finding a team, please let us know.
- Family Team Kata (Fee: $75 per team). This is a very popular event among Enso families! Teams may consist of 2-5 family members, though the event fee will be the same regardless of the number of team members.
- Team Kumite (Fee: $75 per team / $25 per athlete). This event is open only to Intermediate and Advanced levels (brown and black belt competitors). Requires permission from Sensei Jay to register.
ON THE DAY OF THE TOURNAMENT, WHAT TIME SHOULD I ARRIVE?
One week prior to the tournament date, you will receive a schedule of event times. Athletes should be dressed and ready to compete at least 60 minutes prior to their scheduled event times to avoid rushing and allow time to warm-up. CKC tournaments have always run on time.
This summer was an incredibly busy season for the Enso Elite Tournament Team, which had more than 40 athletes attending the AAU National Championships in July, as well as more than a dozen representatives on the AAU National Team, which traveled to Hungary and Slovakia in June. Here is a brief summary of our travels and results!
INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL SPORT FEDERATION (ISF) HIGH SCHOOL COMBAT GAMES – BUDAPEST, HUNGARY
AAU US National Karate Team brought just nine athletes to this competition, and three were from Enso Karate: Christine Conanan, Maile Nacu, and Zachary Gin. Christine and Zachary both earned bronze medals in kumite. They qualified for the games based on their impressive performances at the ISF USA Team Trials in March 2019. The International School Sport Federation (ISF) is recognized by the International Olympic Committee and promotes the values and interests of education through sport.
WORLD UNION OF KARATE-DO FEDERATIONS (WUKF) WORLD KARATE CHAMPIONSHIPS – BRATISLAVA, SLOVAKIA
Twelve Enso students competed at this year’s WUKF world championships as members of the AAU US National Karate Team. They qualified by either earning an individual medal at the 2018 AAU National Championships or through a rigorous team trial event held in Ft. Lauderdale earlier in 2019. Enso’s athletes earned 10 medals at this highly competitive international event, including:
- Christine Conanan — bronze kumite
- Sensei Denise — gold kata
- Maile Nacu — silver team kumite
- Mateo Nacu — gold kata, bronze kumite, silver team kumite
- Maxine Ivey — silver team kumite
- Victoria Gin — bronze team kumite
- Zachary Gin — gold kumite, silver team kumite
Sensei Jay, Sensei Katie, Kepler Boonstra, Pam Wolf, and Ryan Daly also competed with the U.S. Team in Slovakia.
AAU NATIONAL KARATE CHAMPIONSHIPS – FT. LAUDERDALE, FLORIDA
Enso was recognized as the largest team participating at AAU’s 2019 National Championships! Our athletes competed in many divisions, from beginner to advanced and from age 6 to “senior.” In total, we earned 78 medals — 24 of them gold!
We set many records this year, but more importantly our athletes continued to learn many lessons about karate and about themselves. We are always humbled by the love and support shared between our athletes, coaches, senseis, parents, and siblings as we undertake this intense experience. Beyond that, the friendships shared with dojos across the country adds a dimension of camaraderie and sportsmanship that makes the entire experience just so special.
Thank you to all who were part of our journey this season.
Seventeen Enso athletes have qualified for highly selective international competitions in 2019. We are so proud to have our students representing themselves, our dojo, and the United States of America as they travel around the world this spring.
INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL SPORT FEDERATION (ISF) HIGH SCHOOL COMBAT GAMES
Budapest, Hungary | June 16-21, 2019
Team USA is bringing just nine athletes to this competition – and three are from Enso Karate! Very big congratulations to Christine Conanan, Maile Nacu, and Zachary Gin, who will compete in both kata and kumite at the event. They qualified for the games based on their impressive performances at the ISF USA Team Trials in March 2019. The International School Sport Federation (ISF) is recognized by the International Olympic Committee and promotes the values and interests of education through sport.
WORLD UNION OF KARATE-DO FEDERATIONS (WUKF) WORLD KARATE CHAMPIONSHIPS
Bratislava, Slovakia | June 20-23, 2019
Seventeen Enso students qualified for the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU)’s U.S. Team, which will be competing at this year’s WUKF world championships. They qualified by either earning an individual medal at the 2018 AAU National Championships or through a rigorous team trial event held in Ft. Lauderdale earlier in 2019. Those athletes are:
- Davian Barber
- Kepler Boonstra
- AJ Cesar
- Katie Coleman
- Angel Conanan
- Christine Conanan
- Ryan Daly
- Victoria Gin
- Zachary Gin
- Maxine Ivey
- Sensei Denise Nacu
- Sensei Jay Nacu
- Maile Nacu
- Mateo Nacu
- Toby Nierras
- Milo Platz-Walker
- Brianna Santucci
The entire Enso community is behind these amazing athletes. All our students are pushing a little harder in class to help them prepare. All our instructors and coaches are helping them think about strategy and prepare mentally. Many of our dedicated parents are making sure the kids have everything they need before they travel. And of course AAU is helping them prepare and strategize. It’s truly an all-in effort. The cheers in Chicago will reach our athletes in Budapest and Bratislava!
Great news from Budapest! Enso’s very own Zachary Gin won a silver medal in kumite and a bronze medal in kata at the the Hayashi Shito-Ryu Open International Karate Championships. The event was held on Dec. 9th in Budapest, Hungary, where Zachary had traveled as part of the AAU National Karate Team.
Zachary, 15, has been training with Enso since he was 7 years old, and he earned the rank of shodan (1st degree black belt) in 2016. He has been competing with the Enso Elite Tournament Team since it formed, and he has been a member of the National Team for the last two years.
Congratulations, Zachary, on your impressive performance on and off the tatami!
Seventeen Enso athletes have qualified for highly selective international competitions in 2018. We are so proud to have our students representing themselves, our dojo, and the United States of America as they travel around the world this spring.
International School Sport Federation (ISF) High School Games
May 2-9, 2018
Team USA is bringing just seven athletes to this competition – and three are from Enso Karate! Very big congratulations to A.J. Cesar, Christine Conanan, and Zachary Gin. They qualified for the games based on their impressive performances at the ISF USA Team Trials in February 2018.
The International School Sport Federation (ISF) is recognized by the International Olympic Committee and promotes the values and interests of education through sport.
“This is an impressive honor to represent your country in this prestigious event,” said Sensei J.B. Mirza, AAU National Director, in a letter sent to qualifying athletes. “Your commitment and dedication to the sport of karate has given you this opportunity to compete against the best.”
- AJ Cesar, 16, is a junior at Oak Park River Forest High School who earned the rank of Nidan (2nd degree black belt) in July 2017. He is a three-time national champion in kata (forms) as well as a national silver medalist in kumite (sparring) at the AAU National Karate Championships. He represented Team USA in 2014 at the WUKF World Karate Championships in Poland and in 2016 at the Honolulu International Karate Championships.
- Christine Conanan, 15, is a sophomore at Oak Park River Forest High School. She earned the rank of Shodan (1st degree black belt) in July 2017. She has won four national medals at the AAU National Karate Championships, including gold in kata in 2016 and gold in kumite in 2017.
- Zachary Gin, 14, is an 8th grader at the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools. He earned the rank of Shodan in February 2016. He was the 2017 national champion in both kata and kumite at at the AAU National Karate Championships.
World Union of Karate-do Federations (WUKF) World Karate Championships
June 14-17, 2018
Fifteen Enso students will represent the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU)’s U.S. Team at this year’s WUKF world championships. They qualified by either earning an individual medal at the 2017 AAU National Championships or through a rigorous team trial event held in Ft. Lauderdale earlier in 2018. Those athletes are:
- Sensei Jay Nacu (42)
- Sensei Denise Nacu (44)
- Pamela Wolf (64)
- Toby Nierras (18)
- Victoria Gin (18)
- Milen Rios (17)
- AJ Cesar (16)
- Christine Conanan (15)
- Angel Conanan (14)
- Zachary Gin (14)
- Maxine Ivey (13)
- Maile Nacu (13)
- Mateo Nacu (11)
- Milo Platz-Walker (11)
- Brianna Santucci (10)
Two additional students – Ryan Daly (13) and Davian Barber (12) – also qualified for the competition but are unable to attend.
“We are so proud of how hard each of these athletes have worked to earn the honor of representing their country in international competition,” said Sensei Jay Nacu, owner and director of Enso Karate. “They will learn a lot from preparing for and competing at these games, and they will bring those lessons back to Enso and make all of us stronger.”
Sensei Denise Nacu, co-owner and director at Enso Karate, added: “The entire Enso community is behind these amazing athletes. All our students are pushing a little harder in class to help them prepare. All our instructors and coaches are helping them think about strategy and prepare mentally. Many of our dedicated parents are making sure the kids have everything they need before they travel. And of course AAU is helping them prepare and strategize. It’s truly an all-in effort. The cheers in Chicago will reach us in Morocco and Scotland!”
South Loop Location
601 S. LaSalle Street
Chicago, IL 60605
Entrance on Harrison
Oak Park Location
1045 S. Kenilworth Avenue
Oak Park, IL 60304
Inside the Harvard Church
News & Events
- Our 20th Anniversary Celebration!July 18, 2022 - 9:10 am
- Enso Karate athletes hit the National and World stageJuly 18, 2022 - 8:18 am
- Enso Elite Tournament Team brings home 30 medals from 2022 AAU Karate Regional ChampionshipsApril 30, 2022 - 11:47 am
- Online belt exams at EnsoJanuary 29, 2022 - 6:57 am