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Read what Boston Kokikai Aikido students are saying!




  • Kasia K.
    • 0 friends
    • 1 review
    5.0 star rating

    It is extremely important to be able to defend oneself in a world filled with violence, instead of being a victim or a vulnerable passive watcher. I got interested in Kokikai Aikido because it looked as if the aikidoka was throwing the opponents so effortlessly, as if using only his mind to repulse the attack.

    I joined the Boston Kokikai Aikido dojo, which provided me with an excellent experience, and being part of it brings me honor. Sensei Heather Randolph is a wonderful and patient teacher as well as a beautiful woman. She is my first female role model who taught me how to combine power with femininity, how to "float like a butterfly and sting like a bee".

    In Kokikai Aikido I have met a lot of very gifted, cultured, disciplined and witty people. Practicing with them brings me great satisfaction, motivates me, and develops my Aikido skills. Kokikai Aikido has also influenced how I interact with other people, as I quickly understood that while working with other aikidokas it is important to be involved and supportive, to be able to help them progress in their practice, and to rejoice in their success.

    Kokikai Aikido bridges differences between people and is beneficial to everyone. It is the most idealistic form of martial arts, which believes that peace and common good can be achieved without counter-violence. It respects everyone, and recognizes the dignity of life while condemning harm to other people, which can bring only destruction and casualties. Kokikai Aikido can be practiced by people of different races, backgrounds, gender and body types without exclusion. Sensei Shuji Maruyama, a septuagenarian who weighs only 135 lbs (and is very handsome, by the way) often reminds us that real power does not lie in muscles, but rather in the technique and in the Ki Power. Watching and listening to Sensei Maruyama eliminates any doubts that Kokikai Aikido is extremely powerful, and that "minimum effort" is able to result in "maximum effect".

    Kokikai Aikido helped me to develop strength of character, and taught me self-discipline. I discovered that even if I feel tired before the training, by the end of the class I always feel great. Aikido brings me a delightful joy, counteracts pessimism, strengthens my health, and prevents me from gaining excessive weight (no matter how much I eat after practice!). Kokikai Aikido has allowed me to feel confident and relaxed when faced with daily challenges. It has shaped how I approach problems, by controlling the situation, and continuously moving forward. 

    Aikido is much like science; the more you learn, the more you realize how little you know. It is a never-ending journey which teaches us humility.


From Yelp 










 From Yelp



  • Robyn Z.
    • Robyn Z.
    • Boston, MA
    • 7 friends
    • 2 reviews
    5.0 star rating

    I had the pleasure in 2011 of finding this place and emailed sensei heather for the trial class. 
    I came in and all i truthfully wanted was to learn how to fight off an opponent. 
     After my first class, I wanted more, I was to no surprise as I have always been athletic,  a natural. Although,  I'd get frustrated when I couldn't put the Japanese term into the techniques. Learning a new sport especially marital arts it is rare that  you would never experience any form of muscle pain and or injury especially if you've been sedentary for awhile. I definitely had a few nights and mornings where muscles I haven't used in years were aching. Its called conditioning. As once an elite cheerleader with any new technique no matter how much instruction there is always a chance to be injured.  
      Once I had my issue resolved I returned for a few classes and was happy to be back. Only due to a work schedule I couldn't come as often. This year I have experienced other non dojo related medical issues and haven't been able to attend. 
      Once im back to health I will without a doubt be back with this dojo. I personally recommend this dojo. Not only did I learn alot of self defense, I learned how to be calm in any situation, my entire life has changed with having practiced the ki principles in daily living.
    Miss everyone, and im terribly sorry for terrys loss he was a wonderful man and very oatient with teaching me new techniques he will be dearly missed.
       P.S. - sensei heather is very personable she even after months of me not being able to come still emails me. Where else would you find a sensei like this.


How I get into Aikido

At the age of 10 years old I remember reading my older brothers Aikido book which sparked my own interest. I was often his stand in as he tried to practice on me what he was absorbing from the martial arts books he read. It was around 1994 or 1995 for a short period that I attended Aikido classes in Cambridge under sensei Mitsunari Kanai. When I decided last year to go back and resume my study I found out the unfortunate news that sensei Kanai had passed. I had admired his character, humility and grace. For the times that I interacted with him he was a kind and gentle person.

As I did my research looking for a new Aikido dojo I notice there was a Kokiai Aikido dojo in Boston under sensei Heather Randolph. Kokiai Aikido International is a branch of Aikido under sensei Shuji Maruyama. Sensei Maruyama is a 4th generation uchideshi (live in student) who studied directly under Aikido founder Ueshiba Morihei. My decision for joining the Boston Kokiai Aikido dojo was based noticing that Sensei Maruyama was an uchideshi under Aikido founder Morihei same with my first Aikido sensei Kanai. Besides that connection, the Boston Aikido dojo was convenient, affordable and has proven to be compatible for me.

How Aikido resonates with me

There are three elements that resonate for me in my practice of Aikido, 1) the idea of striving for peace and harmony, 2) the discipline of practice and respect required to pursue peace and harmony is transferable to other aspects of one’s life, 3) Aikido parallels some of the principle elements of my own philosophical and spiritual values.

Peace and Harmony

Aikido is not a competitive martial arts. It is not a Fist of Fury or Five Finger s of Death type of martial arts that is associated with the martial arts movie genre. Aikido is a path to peace and harmony for the practitioner. As Aikido founder Ueshiba Morihei stated, “Through Aikido, extend all your powers to achieve peaceful harmony.” What this means to me is about having a gentle and humble character that shows respect for humanity. Even in the midst of defending yourself from a physical attack the idea is to also be concerned about the welfare of your attacker.

Discipline and Respect

Practicing Aikido requires a certain level of disciple. Once you are on the mat, there is a certain protocol and etiquette that is required between the students and the sensei. The techniques of Aikido are very dangerous and powerful and must be practiced in a respectful and discipline environment. When the student learns a technique as a uke (the person being thrown) they must know how to fall properly to prevent harming themselves. When the student practices the technique as a nage (the person doing the throwing) they must be careful not to harm the uke. This cooperation during practice between the uke and nage is very important.

The disciple is also part of the student coming to practice regularly and helping out in setting up the dojo and helping keeping the dojo clean and safe. The disciple and respect that we apply in practicing Aikido it is with this same kind of disciple we develop that we carry out in other parts of our lives can help us to have peace and harmony in our work, business, relationships, community and family. It is from my practice of Aikido, the discipline and respect that Aikido requires from me - that I can incorporate it in my everyday life.

Philosophical and Spiritual Values

Aikido also offers a philosophical spiritual dimension which coincides with my own philosophical and spiritual practice. Aikido is about developing your character and seeking peace and harmony. It is about being humble, patient and courteous. In Kokikai Aikido there are four basic principles, 1) Keep one point to develop calmness, 2) Relax progressively, 3) Correct posture, and 4) Positive mind. Internalizing these basic principles can be a foundation that can be very instrumental in helping to create success in other avenues of our lives. As a senior lecturer at the University of Massachusetts and a fourth year doctoral student in Leadership and Change these basic principles of Kokikai Aikido, the practice and discipline of Aikido helps me sort out and put into perspective those hectic moments that life brings.

Tony Van Der Meer

Boston, Massachusetts

--January 2012

 Daniel - Nov 8, 2010
nice way to try martial arts or a 2nd martial art w/o paying a bunch of cash at $50 a month and classes running about an 1 hr 1/2 each 4x a week its pretty obvious that the club is not about making money. I find that I'm able to pursue other physical activities because the price is so reasonable, like yoga and the gym. the group is pretty eclectic and a lot friendlier than other classes I've attended. Its more of a group rather than a competitive activity which makes showing up much more of a comfortable experience. its not the type of class you would use to train for a MMA tournament but a lot of the stuff seems easy to apply to other martial arts. I like it because I can get away from my job, get some exercise, and hopefully protect myself if the need arises. I've heard that this style of aikido is more practical than other forms and has a little less structure and formality. I've definitely noticed its more casual/informal than other schools I've been too before and that the main instructor Heather, isn't caught up in demanding respect. Most of the students call her Heather, not Master, or even Sensei. People seem to treat each other as equals in class regardless of rank and so its not like joining the "Cobra Kai" in Karate kid. I definitely recommend the school if you find the idea of trying a martial arts as intimidating or have had bad experiences in the past with other schools.
 Nick ‎ - Oct 24, 2010
don't wait and join the club I have had the great opportunity to practice Kokikai Aikido with Heather Randolph Sensei and have had such a good time at every class. Heather Sensei is very kind and her dedication to her dojo is wonderful. Her teaching skills are awesome and the mood is always very nice and friendly. She is always happy to answer any questions, and is full of ideas to organize events and parties. There are 4 classes a week which is very convenient to attend as many as you want according to your schedule, and the location in Chinatown in Boston is great as there is T stations closeby. I definitely recommend joining the join the club to learn the great power of Kokikai Aikido in a very good and professional mood.
Matt, 11/8/2010
Aikido is a great martial art, and this is a great dojo. Heather Randolph's classes are low-key and a lot of fun. They are a mix of beginners and advanced and all work together in a friendly collaboration. (There are also some separate kids' classes.) Students pay their monthly dues and then can come to as many classes as they like. The location is great, a few minutes' walk from downtown T stops, and in addition to regular classes there are all special weekend seminars and other events you can sign up for. On those days when students test for a new belt, the class usually goes out afterwards for a celebration dinner or drinks. When I moved to Boston 2 years ago I was lucky enough to find this place -- regular exercise, a new fun skill, the sense of achievement in earning new belts, and a great group of people!