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Chicago Aikikai

3652 N. Lincoln, second floor

773-935-2334 or chicagoaikikai.org

The goal of aikido is nonviolent conflict resolution--students are schooled in mental and physical techniques that can turn a would-be assault into a harmless encounter. It takes most practitioners years to master the craft, of course, but if you're even vaguely interested, this freebie's for you. The first Sunday of every month Chicago Aikikai welcomes novices to its dojo (complete with a koi pond) for a free class from 1 to 2 PM. Wear sweats or loose clothing and expect to pick up some introductory moves in a class of about ten people. Instructors here practice what they preach: despite my breathtaking lack of coordination and snail's pace, each of my minor accomplishments met with praise from my patient teacher. The next class is Sunday, September 3.

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