Spirit Challenge a Huge Success

6.9.2017 by Thousand Waves

The Youth put the spirit in Spirit Challenge with their Punch & Kick-a-thon event.

We are thrilled to report that our annual fundraising event – Spirit Challenge 2017 – was a success in every way! More members and families than ever before supported our mission driven work by raising funds for our organization – 227 households participated. Together, we raised over $129,000, surpassing our $125,000 goal. Thank you!

Read on for details and to view photos.


Fundraisers were rewarded with a week of Challenge events from May 1 – 6.  During the events, many students broke their first boards, some sparred for endurance, and others tested their fitness limits.  Sei Shihan Nancy provided her first yoga class and Jun Shihan Sarah brought us curricular material from Kajukenbo, her first martial art, including Nunchaku and Punch Attack Defenses. Sensei Katherine, Sensei Tom, Sensei Alan, Senpai Jordan, Senpai Sam, and Senpai Tabitha also led events.  Other rewards for fundraisers included a carnival party for our youngest members, sleepovers for our youth and teen members, and an unbelievable dinner party for those bringing in $1250+.

A special thanks to the many volunteers – from adult members to board members to parents – who came together to make the event a success.  Thousand Waves is so fortunate to have such a supportive community; we would not be the organization we are without your dedicated support.

Finally, we hope you will join us in thanking our Spirit Challenge sponsors by considering them as you seek services of the type they offer.

Visit the Thousand Waves Facebook album page to view more photos of the Spirit Challenge events.

Sunday’s first day of Spirit Challenge events included Sei Shihan Nancy’s inaugural yoga class.
Board breaking – The ultimate spirit challenge! Many broke for their first time at this year’s events.
Spirit Challenge included board breaking events for kids too.
It wouldn’t be Spirit Challenge without a sparring marathon!
Starting Monday, the kids had their own Spirit Challenge events. In the Junior Obstacles & Circuits event, many kids tried weightlifting for their first time.
Learning to be a good partner is an important part of karate. Tuesday’s Junior & Youth partner games challenge provided opportunities to hone this skill.
Jun Shihan Sarah presented some partner exercises from her first martial art, Kajukenbo.
The Youth and Juniors tried their hands at the nunchaku, brought to us from Kajukenbo by Jun Shihan Sarah.
Kata is a classic Spirit Challenge event, as shown in this photo of Wednesday’s Black Belt Kata challenge.
Juniors built strong spirit as they performed 500 punches and 500 kicks during their Punch & Kick-a-thon event. 
Formerly an event just for kids, Spirit Challenge now includes a Punch & Kick-a-Thon event for Adults & Teens too. It was the final event in this year’s Spirit Challenge.

Photos by, in order of appearance: Vaughn Bullock, Katherine Nichols, Mark Hubert, Cindy Leagler, Mark Hubert, Maria Paz-Shariff, Jo-Ann Finkelstein, Marti Mendoza-Schommer, Cyrus Sethna, Tim Goodall, Vaughn Bullock, Rowan McIntyre. Thank you to all the Spirit Challenge photographers!

Thousand Waves Urges You to Support Our Spirit Challenge Fundraiser Sponsors

6.9.2017 by Thousand Waves

Picture Day

We believe absolutely in the work that Thousand Waves does to build a stronger, healthier, more tolerant, engaged and safer community. We, at Picture Day, hope that as you better yourself, your family and your community, that we can help you celebrate that empowerment with beautiful family portraits, professional head shots, photography to document your life events, photo booth rental, wedding, mitzvah, quinceañera or any photography that you might need. Spirit Challenge participants, don’t forget to take advantage of your $50 picture credit. 773-276-4588. Picture-day.com

Greenlawn Chicago

You too can join the ranks of satisfied Thousand Waves supporters who have used Greenlawn Landscaping’s services. Mention Thousand Waves and get a FREE Landscaping Design Consulation! 773-463-0445. Greenlawnchicago.com

Reese Minshew

As a supporter of Thousand Waves, you already know how important it is to feel grounded, empowered, and safe. If you or someone you know is struggling to feel grounded, empowered, and safe, therapy might be helpful. I specialize in working with people who have had adverse life experiences, and with TGNC teens and young adults. Want to know more? 773-683-1235. reeseminshew.com

Chicago Pain Medicine Centers

Got Pain?
840 W. Irving Park Road.


Keeping Busy with Self-Defense

6.9.2017 by Amy Jones

Becky Kidd leads an outreach program for sorority members at Loyola University.

2017 has been a busy year so far with the self-defense program at Thousand Waves!  In addition to training new instructors, we’ve hosted three twelve-hour courses and five onsite single-session workshops. 

But what has really been keeping us busy is the outreach work we’ve been doing.  I’m writing this on Thursday, May 25th – I’ve just returned from doing a short session for the staff at Kaplan University, and in an hour or so, I’m headed to Outer Space (that’s really its name – it’s a dance studio) to do a private program.  Yesterday I was at Power Home Remodeling, and on Sunday we hosted a private group here at the Center after doing our onsite workshop.  Last Friday I was at DePaul University doing a program for their McNair Scholars.  Whew!  No wonder I’m tired – that’s 6 workshops in the last 6 days!

We’ve been doing a lot of programs in the educational sector this year, including our new Dinner & Defense offering (which combines a self-defense workshop with a meal, because we know college students are hungry!).  In addition to the McNair Scholars, we also did a program for DePaul’s Student Activities Board, the Illinois College of Optometrists, and the Chicago School of Professional Psychology.   Earlier this year, we were working with younger folks, at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Academy, West Leyden High School, and Mother McAuley Liberal Arts High School.  And by the time you read this, we’ll have added Namaste Charter School to that list.

We continue to work with partners in the nonprofit sector, too, including Big Brothers Big Sisters and Chicago Center for Urban Life and Culture.  We were especially happy to do a short program for women in the drop in center at Sarah’s Circle, an agency that provides support services to women experiencing homelessness.

Altogether, we’ve served more than 800 people this year in 36 programs and 78 individual sessions, for a total of almost 2,500 contact hours! 

If you know of an educational institution, nonprofit, or company with staff or clients that would benefit from self-defense training, shoot me an email (violenceprevention@thousandwaves.org) to learn how to set something up.

Senpai Amy Jones is the TW Violence Prevention & Self-Defense Program Manager and a 3rd Degree Black Belt.

Camp Kokoro to Offer Enrichment Activities

6.9.2017 by Jordan Garcia

Senpai Jordan teaches fine points of karate technique during Camp Kokoro.

Our annual summer camp, Camp Kokoro is going through some changes this year. I hope to take what I learned from this past April’s Spring Break Camp and bring the best parts to this summer’s Camp Kokoro.

This year’s Spring Break Camp provided a more personal and deeper understanding of Seido Karate and Thousand Waves history for those that attended. Leading up to the camp I pondered how to provide a fun, unique, and martial arts-enriching experience. I realized there are so many things that we see in the dojo and just walk past on our way to class. The entire history of every Thousand Waves black belt is easily accessible to everyone and I doubted 50% of the kids could find it. So we spent each of the six days doing a different enrichment activity: a scavenger hunt learning about all the things hanging up around the dojo; created a Monopoly game incorporating the aspects of Seido and Thousand Waves history; created game pieces out of clay resembling martial arts paraphernalia; looked up videos showing the differences between Seido and other martial arts; watched videos of Kaicho before and after he founded Seido; and learned the story of Bodhi Dharma and created our own little Bodhi dolls. 

Learning and engaging with the children as they deepened their friendships and learned more about their martial arts history was a wonderful experience that I hope to bring to Camp Kokoro this summer.

For more information about Camp Kokoro or the TW Day Camps, visit http://thousandwaves.org/karate-for-kids/camp-kokoro or contact Senpai Jordan: jgarcia@thousandwaves.org.

Senpai Jordan Garcia is TW’s Camp Director and a 3rd Degree Black Belt.

Come and Play Go

6.9.2017 by Sam Boyer


Go is a strategy game for two players. It was first played in China three thousand years ago, and is one of the most popular board games in Asia.

Go has very simple rules, but very complex strategy and tactics. Mathematicians have calculated that there are more possible Go board configurations than there are atoms in the universe!

So please come, and take time to play a few games of Go on some Sunday afternoons, right here at Thousand Waves. Adults and Teens twelve and up are welcome.

Sessions will typically be from 4 to 6 PM. Tutorials will be offered for those new to the game, and a friendly atmosphere will always be provided for us to play and connect with one-another. Sometimes, tea will be served. You are always encouraged to bring your own tea. If you have your own board and stones, you are encouraged to bring those too, but some simple boards will be here for you to borrow as well.

If you would like to join us, keep an eye out for emails and flyers posted throughout the dojo starting the latter half of June. We hope you’ll enjoy learning and playing the wonderful game of Go!

Senpai Sam Boyer is the Adapted Seido Karate Program Coordinator and a 3rd Degree Black Belt.

Ten Questions for Michael Washington

6.9.2017 by Thousand Waves

Michael Washington is an Advanced Yellow Belt training member.

Briefly, how did you come to train in Seido Karate at Thousand Waves?  
I worked at an office west on Belmont for years, driving by and seeing the dojo, and telling myself that I wanted to join. I never studied a marital art but always wanted to. When I started a multi-year training program at work in September 2015, I also used it as my way to stop putting off beginning my training here at TW.

What is one thing you’d like to change about the world?  
I’d like for people to stop and wait after they asked someone, “How are you?” Listening to what’s said could change the world. Obviously I have a lot of faith in humanity, but it’s a change I’d love to make. I’d also require dessert to be first at every meal.   

What is one thing you do well? 
I keep commitments.  

What is one thing you do not do so well? 
I don’t relax, though I’ve heard of this concept, especially around the dojo! Clearly I need to make a commitment around relaxing. Osu. 

Who from history do you admire, and why? 
This is a hard question because I’m a minister and chaplain and people, including me, expect my answers to be from that part of my world. My answer, though, is Frank Yerby. Mr. Yerby was a novelist and writing teacher at Fisk University. I met him through his novels. I found his stories to be wonderfully relevant even though they were published six to seven decades ago. I admire that he worked with his hands, he taught, and he wrote fiction. It seems he died while in a self-imposed exile. I think Mr. Yerby represents to me all the people worth admiring, worth reading, and worth soaking up who we, simply, forget. There are others I admire, but he’s my way into that long list.   

Other than Chicago, where have you most enjoyed spending time? 
I enjoy Portland, Oregon for myself or for me and Dawn, my wife. My family has enjoyed Charlotte, North Carolina together.  

What quotation have you found inspiring or interesting?  
This is hard, but I’ll answer it from something that’s currently resonating by a theologian named Howard Thurman. As a writer of his time, his language was not gender inclusive, so pardon that. He said, “Men tend to hold on when there seems to be no point in holding on, because they find that they must. It is often at such a point that the spirit in man and the spirit of God blend into one creative illumination.”   

What foods do you like best? 
I eat anything cooked with love, which means I’m fond of soul food, something I experience especially in Southern, Mexican, Thai, and Indian, a personal favorite, though I’ve been away from it because I like it too much. Also, oddly, I’m a spice wimp. I have a special place in my stomach for desserts if I was ambiguous in my second answer above.

What is a book that has been significant to you?  
I believe it’s always the last book I read. My last two books were a set of essays, Letters to My Daughter (Maya Angelou) and a memoir, Things I’ve Been Silent About (Azar Nafisi). I’m currently reading Rachel Noemi Remen’s collection of essays, My Grandfather’s Blessings and a book about trauma and healing by Bessel Van Der Kolk, The Body Keeps The Score. TW folk would love all these books in my humble opinion. They’re all different but very good reading.

What are your musical favorites?   
A: I grew up with gospel, classical, and jazz. I listen to country when I write. Frequently played are India Arie, Donna and Layla Hathway, PJ Morton, all the usual jazz greats like Mr. Myles and Brother Coltrane. Rascal Flatts. I already can’t understand my seven year old’s musical preferences. I have hope for him though.  

“Thousand Waves Member Spotlight: Ten Questions for…” is a regular feature of Kiai!
In the next issue, Jackie Seijo will answer these same ten questions.

Testing for Senior Black Belt

6.9.2017 by Sally Wigginton with Pat Kane

Kyoshi Sally (left) and Sensei Pat enjoy a special moment at Honbu after their promotion. See their official photo with Kaicho and Nidaime.

On March 29, 2017 Senpai (now Sensei) Pat Kane and I headed to New York to test at Honbu in front of Kaicho and Nidaime for 4th and 5th degree black belt. The test really began in November with the invitation from Jun Shihan and Sei Shihan. It’s always a big decision to make: Can we really feel confident enough in the entire color belt and black belt curriculum to represent our school and our teachers well? Is this a good time in our lives to take on the steady and committed training necessary?  And for both us, the answer was a resounding yes!

What I learned in the preparation is something we all know – the more you train, the more you learn (and remember!). Balance, of course, is the key. I didn’t over train – but I was consistent. And I needed every minute I was on the training floor to remember and deepen my understanding of the curriculum. And then there are the flash cards, and in my case, voice memos that I listen to on my commute to work – “Advanced Self-Defense #5, offense only!” – I would hear come over my car speakers. I would visualize the moves and then practice them at the red lights!  We also were so fortunate to have Sei Shihan and then Jun Shihan join her for our pre-tests. This was an incredible gift of two hours on three different occasions for them to test us on our material and then give us feedback. It allowed us to hone in on the work we needed.

Kyoshi Sally shares a funny story of her testing experience, as part of her and Sensei Pat’s report back to the TW community.

At Honbu, we arrived on Wednesday and took many classes over the next several days, which also felt like part of the test. Eyes closed – offense only – katas done ura, with a special eye on each of us who were testing.  (Honbu students who were promoting to 1st, 2nd and 3rd degree black belt finished their tests that same weekend, too.) The spirit of the classes was great, a buzz of energy as all of us testing for advanced black belts from Chicago, Berkley, Upstate New York, Australia, England and Italy descended upon Honbu.  We also were able to take a very special meditation class with Kaicho where he poignantly recounted his recent serious car accident and the lessons he learned from it. Sixteen of us (eight men and eight women) participated in the overnight test for 4th, 5th and 6th degree black belt, which officially began at 5:00 PM on Saturday. We worked out vigorously, listened to each other’s oral presentations, sparred and tried our best to nap starting around midnight – then were up again in the wee hours to do more kata.  At the end of a silent, sunrise meditation, we were presented with our new embroidered gi (which show our new titles) and our treasured belts.  Overall, the preparation and test were wonderful, challenging and special experiences for which we are both extremely grateful.  Gassho and Osu!

Kyoshi Sally Wigginton is a 5th degree black belt and Sensei Pat Kane is a 4th degree black belt.

Congratulations to our Spring 2017 Promotees

6.9.2017 by Thousand Waves

Four new Second Degree Black Belts and five new Third Degree Black Belts were promoted on June 2, during Gasshuku, a special weekend training camp in Upstate New York. Promoted to Nidan were Senpais Barry Moltz, Becky Kidd, Michele Curley and Michael Kurshan-Emmer. New Sandan are Senpais Bill Louis, Matt Birnholz, Sam Boyer, Pamela Robert and Sayira Khokhar.

Many other students were also promoted this Spring.  See their photos here.


Junior Color Belts

May 20, 2017
6th and 5th Kyu Yellow and Advanced Yellow Belts
May 20, 2017
8th and 7th Kyu Blue and Advanced Blue Belts

Youth & Teen Color Belts

May 20, 2017

Adult Blue Belts

April 15, 2017

To 8th Kyu
Blue Belt

Reese Minshew
Marti Mendoza-Schommer
Fabian Hahn
Christian Juarbe
Angie Forshee
Lisa Matznick


Celi Garcia
Shawn Sullivan
Kurtis Sou
Tuvia Sokolof
Leslie Henry
Olivia Mulcahy

To 8th Kyu
Blue Belt
on April 20, 2017

Dustin Spence

Adult Color Belts

May 19, 2017

To 1st Kyu
Advanced Brown Belt

Kenji Muro

To 2nd Kyu
Brown Belt

Camille Rose
Jonathan Murphy
Doug Knapp

To 3rd Kyu
Advanced Green Belt

Mario Cruz

To 4th Kyu
Green Belt

Jeff Stone

To 5th Kyu
Advanced Yellow Belt

Tom Cosgrove
Adrian Danzig
Brian Matsko
Emily McConnell
David Thill
Michael Washington

To 6th Kyu
Yellow Belt

Audrey Cosgrove
Jenel Rose
Maddy Soyster
Jet Sullivan

To 7th Kyu
Advanced Blue Belt

Vaughn Bullock
Christian Juarbe
Taylor Leisher
Lisa Matznick
Marti Mendoza-Schommer
Olivia Mulcahy
Tuvia Sokoloff

To 8th Kyu
Blue Belt

Emily Blair
Hilary Meyer
Bo Sun
Xiaomeng Wang

May 23, 2017

To 5th Kyu
Advanced Yellow Belt

Jacki Seijo

To 6th Kyu
Yellow Belt

David Doiron

To 7th Kyu
Advanced Blue Belt

Angie Forshee

To 8th Kyu
Blue Belt

Davora Sides

Junior Black Belts

April 1, 2017

To 2nd Degree
Junior Black Belt (Nidan)

Senpai Gabrielle
Senpai Charles
Senpai Michael
Senpai Bryce

To 1st Degree
Junior Black Belt (Shodan)

Senpai Alex
Senpai Anan
Senpai Lillian
Senpai Ryan
Senpai Connor

Adult Black Belts

April 1, 2017

To 1st Degree
Black Belt (Shodan)

Senpai James Keene

Senior Black Belts

April 2, 2017

To 5th Degree
Black Belt (Godan)

Kyoshi Sally Wigginton

To 4th Degree
Black Belt (Yondan)

Sensei Pat Kane

June 2, 2017

To 3rd Degree
Black Belt (Sandan)

Senpai Bill Louis
Senpai Matt Birnholz
Senpai Sam Boyer
Senpai Pamela Robert
Senpai Sayira Khokhar

To 2nd Degree
Black Belt (Nidan)

Senpai Barry Moltz
Senpai Becky Kidd
Senpai Michele Curley
Senpai Michael Kurshan-Emmer