Pathway to Harmony, Inc.
Uniting Mind, Body, and Spirit to Accomplish Goals - Academic, Professional, and Personal

Pathway to Harmony, Inc., a not for profit created in 2006 to address the issues of stress, apathy, frustration, anger, and violence that have a profoundly negative impact on our communities; and to motivate youth and adults to enhance their quality of life.

We are headquartered at the Japanese Culture Center, located at 8512 South Cicero in Burbank, IL. For information on how to have our programs brought to your site contact us at 773-720-4100 or e-mail us at


  SELF DEFENSE                  VIOLENCE PREVENTION                   SELF DISCIPLINE                 STRESS REDUCTION               

New Saturday and Monday Pathway to Harmony Aikido Classes Added!



Japanese Culture Center

8512 South Cicero

Burbank, IL


9:45 a.m. - 10:45 a.m.


7:45 p.m. - 8:45 p.m.


Pathway to Harmony Aikido Program - The Art of Peace


Aikido is a self-defense martial art created in Japan by Morehei Ueshiba. It is not a religion or competitive sport. There are no tournaments and no sparring. Aikido means the way of coordinating your mind and body, or philosophically, the way of harmonizing with the energy of the universe. It is known for graceful, yet dynamic self-defense movements; the inner peace and self-discipline students develop; and the respect students have for life and diversity.

Aikido is often referred to as "the art of peace" because it promotes non-violent conflict resolution and minimizing chaos in everyday life. It is a life changing and life affirming art that teaches students how to be in harmony with themselves and the people they meet.

Click on "Programs" above and select "Aikido Program" for more information.


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.


  Girls's & Women Only Self-defense Seminars


  • A woman is battered every 15 - 18 seconds in the United States
  • 95% of violence experienced by women will happen in their home
  • By age 20, 1 in 3 women will experience dating violence
  • 30 -65% of all homicides of women are related to Domestic Violence by male partners
  • Domestic Violence is the single leading cause of injury to women between the ages of 15 and 44 in the U.S. -  more common than car accidents, muggings and rape combined

Whether you're young or old, short or tall,  overweight or underweight, it doesn't matter to sexual predators, muggers, or abusers, what matters to them is "Fear". They can smell fear and see it. Fear is their best weapon.

Overcome your fear, empower yourself with knowledge - Stop feeding them!



You don't have to be a martial artist with a black belt, or be in the best physical shape to defend yourself. Come out to Pathway to Harmony's Girls & Women Self-defense Seminars and learn some basic self-defense skills that can help you avoid a situation, or help you neutralize an attacker.

These seminars can help save your life!

Contact us to find out more about this empowering series of self-defense seminars and how they can be held at your church, community center, corporate office, location of your choice, or the Japanese Culture Center.







New Stress Buster Classes!


 Stress Is A Killer - A Slow Killer for Kids and A Faster Killer for Adults!

The Pathway to Harmony Stress Buster class is an exercise and meditation class designed to help participants relax, loosen tense muscles, enhance coordination and balance, develop good posture, proper breathing, promote good blood circulation and wake up the energy centers of the body. Participants will enjoy the combination of light Aikido, Tai Chi, and Qi Gong exercise, stretching, breathing meditation, health information, and the sereneness of the Japanese Culture Center. Our goals are to provide participants with the opportunity to take a brief hiatus from the stresses of everyday life, learn how to relieve stress, and develop a healthy life style that can enhance their quality of life and help extend it.

New Class Schedule

Monday        6:00 a.m.  -  7:15 a.m..

Tuesday       9:00 a.m.  - 10:15 a.m.

Wednesday  6:00 a.m.  -  7:15 a.m.



"Chicago's Very Own"

Click on the picture to view the commercial aired on WGN-TV.

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.




Walmer Saavedra!



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 (P.H.A.S.E.) programs. While in the PHAP and P.H.A.S.E. 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 thinking (chess).


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!


Registeration Closed!


Pathway to Harmony Aikido Summer Enrichment  

JUNE 29, 2015 - AUGUST 7, 2015

Pathway to Harmony Aikido Summer Enrichment (PHASE) is a six week summer character and leadership development program for youth. This year our focus is on youth ages 10 years thru 13 years old. PHASE is designed to be educational, safe, and fun. Students attend the program 8:45 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Participants are exposed to a variety of educational and cultural forums, such as museums, libraries, theaters; as well as, city, county, state, and federal government sites to learn how politics and business affects their lives.

Students engage in structured activities that teach:

  • patience
  • respect
  • team work
  • non-violent conflict resolution skills
  • leadership skills
  • civic responsibility
  • nutritional health, and
  • intellectual competitiveness.

Click on "Programs" for more information.

"How Aikido Changed My Life"


Walmer Saavedra



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 let me.

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 to do.


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.

In the 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.


The 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.