|Posted on January 18, 2015 at 6:50 PM|
Kokikai aikido is a living martial art. The founder of the style, Shuji Maruyama, is still alive and still making significant innovations to the technqiue, which makes studying Kokikai an exciting and dynamic experience.
Boston Kokikai is a great dojo despite, or perhaps because of, its quirks. The dojo shares space with an after school program in the Mass Pike Towers, which means that students have to assemble and disassemble a classroom every night. But the location is convenient, and "mat ukemi" has become a popular bonding experience for students in the class.
Sensei Heather Randolph does a terrific job teaching aikido basics and quickly establishes a supportive environment for beginners. After my first class, I knew that I would be back. Aikido requires a lot of patience, and Heather's self-assured pedagogy and supportive engagement make it easy to persevere. (And how many other dojos can you think of that have a sensei who sends you a concerned email if you miss a couple of classes?)
But class at Boston Kokikai is just the tip of the iceberg. There's the monthly seminar with Sensei Dave Comi to look forward to as well as Winter Camp with Sensei Maruyama. Boston Kokikai goes out to eat together, too. It's a friendly and supportive group that learns aikido together with an emphasis on cooperation and respect.