Aikido - The Art of Peace
"Chicago's Very Own"
Sensei Butler has been selected to be one of "Chicago's Very Own" by WGN-TV channel Nine for his work with youth and adults. In October 2013 was honored with his image being placed on the WGN's Chicago Hydrant located at Navy Pier.
Click on the picture to view the commercial aired on WGN-TV.
This quarter we spotlight Pathway To Harmony Aikido Program (PHAP) student Walmer
Saavedra. Walmer has been a part of PHAP since 2009 and participated in the
2010 and 2011 Pathway to Harmony Aikido Summer Enrichment (PHASE) programs. While
in the PHAP and PHASE programs Walmer has participated in Aikido Association of
America (AAA) and Aikido International Foundation (AIF) sponsored aikido
seminars and a variety of workshops and classes on breathing meditation,
restorative justice, banking, financial literacy, aviation, and strategic
Walmer is most known for being inquisitive because he asks tons
of questions. No matter what type of class, Walmer can be counted on to ask
questions that broaden the conversation and challenge both students and
teachers. He’s also know for his boundless energy and his enthusiasm for
learning new things.
Walmer says that he is planning on doing big things with his life, including being the first in his family to graduate from college. Never one to think small, his plans also include getting an architechural engineering degree, preferably from the
University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, or Massachusetts Institute of Technology. After receiving his degree, he plans on using it to help enhance the quality of life for people all over the world.
An avid chess player Walmer knows the importance of having a winning strategy and sticking to it. He is currently a sophmore at Lindblom Math and Science Academy, a Chicago Public High School with a history of graduating future engineers and math scholars. Walmer currently holds a 3.3
G.P.A. In 2012 and 2013, he participated in summer engineering programs at Purdue University and the
University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign respectively.
While he doesn’t
get to practice the physical side of aikido as often because of his demanding
schedule, Walmer says “ I practice the mental side everyday”. He credits the principles taught in the
Pathway to Harmony Aikido Program with helping him to learn how to stay focused
on accomplishing his goals “I use my mind, body, and spirit to help me run. I
use the principles for running because I have to use my mental strength to help
finish a race. I have to breathe and not focus on the pain.”
Walmer ran track during his freshman year at
Lindbloom. He quickly
made his presence known, racking up some impressives times in the 1600 meters,
including a 4:46.53 for the state. He came in 3rd at the Chicago
Public School Sophmore meet, and holds Lindblom’s 1600 meter record.
This year (2013)
he didn’t run track, choosing instead to focus on soccer. As with track, Walmer
again made his presence known, becoming a star soccer player for Lindblom. In the
first five games of the season he became the
top goal scorer with 12 goals and 11 assist. In his role as Junior
Varsity Captain, Walmer helped Lindblom’s soccer team to become the 2013
conference champions. He plans to return to track starting with some indoor
meets and then eventually move back to the outdoors.
No one knows what Walmer will set his sights on for the 2014 -2015 school year, but everyone believes that whatever goals he sets, he will accomplish. Stay Tuned!
Pathway to Harmony, Inc. is a sponsored project of the Aikido International Foundation.
This partnership allows us to receive tax deductible
donations. The Aikido International Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that provides leadership, educational opportunities, economic support, and public awareness to promote the principles of Aikido.
"How Aikido Changed My Life"
Aikido has brought a lot of change to my life. When I first joined the Pathway
to Harmony Aikido Program, it was because I had recently gotten into a fight and my
parents wanted me to join so I could be more disciplined. At first, I thought Aikido was
fake, the throwing and the techniques didn't look "violent" enough
for the old me. I thought it was going to be easy. I changed my mind when I met
my first challenge, rolls. At first I couldn't roll, I was scared. When I
tried to do it, I kept hurting myself. I wanted to quit but Sensei Butler didn't
Sensei taught me to not give up, to use the four principals of Aikido
not just on the mat but in my daily life too. I learned that in order to do
aikido you need to be relaxed and be patient. This wasn’t always easy because I
like doing things. Over time Sensei Butler taught me it was important to relax my
mind so that I could think better and see more clearly my options for solving
any type of problem and to relax my body so that it could do what I needed it
In the Pathway to Harmony Aikido Program Sensei Butler teaches alot of
things that are really important. Some days it might be self defense, on other days
it may be history or something about the world we live in. You never know what
he’s going to talk about, but you do know its going to be something
interesting. In every class he is always motivated and talks about what it
means to have an agenda. Sensei Butler wants us to accomplish our goals, help
others and do important things with our life. Using aikido exercise, techniques,
and principles he provides examples of what it means to have an agenda and to
stay focused on it until we accomplish our goal.
Pathway to Harmony Aikido Summer Enrichment (PHASE) program we played chess. I
learned that life is like chess, every move you make provides new options for
the players. Being impatient, moving too fast, not being relaxed enough to see
your options could cost you the game or possibly your life. Now I don’t get
into trouble, I think of the consequences of every move.
Pathway to Harmony Aikido Program is really fun, I would recommend this program
to everyone who needs a change in their life, need help at school or with other
things. I would recommend it because like it helped me in life, it could help them
and it isn’t boring. You learn alot, get to exercise and maybe even become a
black belt in Aikido and in your mind. The Pathway to Harmony Aikido Program is
great and Sensei Butler makes it unique.
• 2010 Pathway to
Harmony Aikido Summer Enrichment at Southwest Youth Collaborative in Chicago,
• 2011 Pathway to
Harmony Aikido Summer Enrichment at the Japanese Culture Center in Oak Lawn, IL
• 2012 Minority
Engineering Program at the Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana
• 2013 Discover
Engineering Program at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign
• Experience in the
usage of Autodesk Inventor to design 3-D objects
• Achieving the
highest rank possible of E-Squad for showing knowledge of the material learned
in class and helping fellow students master those skills
• Being selected to
represent Lindblom’s Pre-Engineering Program at the CTE Month event at CPS Headquarters
• Build a Rube
Goldberg Machine for the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago
• Sponsor Money
Smart Week campaign, and in the process being nominated as Executive Director
of Design for showing leadership and contributing to the completion of the Rube
• 2013 Conference
• 2013 Most Goals
• 2013 Most
• 2013 Junior
Varsity Team Captain
• 2013 1600m City
3rd Place Champion
• 2013 1600m State
• 20131600m State
• Lindblom Math and
Science Academy 1600m record holder
• 2012 Freshman
• 2013 Conference
• 2011-2012 Boy
Scouts of America
• 2009-2011 Pathway
to Harmony Aikido Program; earning 8th and 7.5th kyu