About Us

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Welcome to YAH

Our program focuses on traditional Shotokan karate and its application in daily life, sports and self defense. In everything we do, we try to emphasize perseverance, discipline, and camaraderie as well as the technical aspects of martial arts. We are a dojo, a team, and a family.

Both weekly group lessons and private lessons are offered year-round to anyone aged 5 and up (although privates must be taken in addition to not in place of group classes)


Dojo Kun

The Dojo Kun is our code of conduct. It is a standard to which all of students are held, both in and out of the dojo

1. Refrain from violent and impetuous behavior

2. Respect propriety

3. Exert oneself in the perfection of character

4. Be faithful and sincere

5. Cultivate the spirit of perseverance

(kids version)

1. Be careful and kind towards others

2. Respect the rules

3. Be the best you can be

4. Tell the truth

5. Never give up

Our Instructors

Sensei B Loren Mendoza

Sensei Loren has been practicing Shotokan Karate for over 20 years. She currently holds the rank of Sondan (3rd Degree Black Belt), as well as medals in both state and national karate competitions.

Outside karate, her second love is baseball. She plays in multiple leagues around the Chicagoland area and has been a part of 2 Peach Orchard National Championship teams.

But Sensei strives for athletic greatness in all that she does. Karate has served as a tool for her to better apply her self in all athletic areas including swimming, volleyball, soccer, and biking.

And of course, it would be impossible to talk about Sensei without mentioning Tucker, our dojo’s favorite visitor. Sensei’s love of her four-legged friend rivals even her love to karate, but she’s so committed to both that she’s even taught Tucker a few moves.

Senpai Sam Blanc

Sam Blanc has been training for 8 years and currently holds a Shodan (1st degree black belt) in Shotokan Karate as well as some experience in Jujutsu, Krav Maga, and boxing.

Although she spends the majority of the year practicing karate with ISKC in Champaign–where she attends college and watches too much Masterchef–she is always glad to return home to YAH to train and teach.

Karate has made her stronger, both physically and mentally, although she is still dreadfully afraid of birds (and rightfully so).

Senpai Amelia Weiss

Amelia Weiss has been training in martial arts for 9 years, earning her Shodan (1st degree Black Belt) in Shotokan karate in 2015 while training under Sensi Loren. 

She is a first year university student at McGill University, in Montreal. She studies environmental science and policy, and enjoys trying new clubs and sports, including Jujitsu, volleyball and free swim.