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.