Instructors Our dojo is operated by a team of instructors led by Brian Martens Sensei and Marcella Sarkozy Sensei. Our instructors have decades of experience practicing Aikido Kokikai® and are eager to teach you what they know.
Brian Martens, Godan (5th Degree)
Co-chief Instructor, Sensei Brian Martens carries a quarter century of Aikido experience onto the mat. His alter egos as an engineer and blacksmith afford him a technical approach to technique while maintaining the fluidic nature Aikido. With nearly 4 decades of martial arts practice to draw from, Sensei Brian creates a safe, open, and energizing practice environment with the personal goal of producing students that can not only replace him someday, but surpass him such that the art he has dedicated himself to will continue to grow.
In his own words:
"I have been practicing Aikido since late 1996. I am a Co-Chief instructor of the Rochester dojo of Aikido Kokikai® . My martial arts careers started at age 10 with Tae Kwon Do, a move that effectively ended my tenure as a favorite target of the school bullies. I have experience teaching a variety of subjects from mentoring engineers to Aikido to blacksmithing. As an engineer, I find a particular grace in the simple efficiency of Aikido movements and yet am continuously enchanted by its nuance."
Marcella Sarkozy, Yondan (4th Degree)
Co-chief Instructor, Sensei Marcella Sarkozy commands the mat every Thursday evening. A yondan, or fourth degree black belt, Marcella Sensei stands tall on nigh two decades of dedicated Aikido training. She brings a creative personality as well as the organizational skills of a project manager at a major local firm to the dojo. She combines her on and off mat knowledge to create an organized, thoughtful approach to teaching.
In her own words:
"I have been practicing Aikido at Aikido Kokikai Rochester since 1999 and teaching since 2003. My practice and teaching style reflects a strong sense of dojo as a community. My Aikido mantra is, “It takes a dojo to raise a black belt.” Through my practice and teaching, I strive to share the joy and enrichment that Aikido has brought to my life both on and off the mat."
Ray Easton, Sandan (3rd Degree)
"Aikido has greatly improved my life. Its benefits exceed the definition of a martial art. Above and beyond the obvious (self defense tactics), the philosophies behind this amazing art form have improved my posture, help me to remain calm and centered, especially during times of conflict, and provides for me an overall martial mindset in all aspects of my life. To reach our full potential, we must first find our “best state”. Aikido will help you discover and develop yours! We take good care of our student body, advocating safety and encouraging beginners to work at their own pace without intimidation."
Peter Veazie, Sandan (3rd Degree)
"For me, Aikido is working with my environment to improve the wellbeing of myself and others, adapting and shaping to mitigate negative situations while generating positive ones. Aikido is a practice, philosophy, goal, and life-long pursuit: one that forms my view of the world and my interaction with it. I achieve this through continued practice of Kokikai Aikido, a style developed by Shuji Maruyama, to develop calmness, relaxation, correct posture, and positive mind. The Kokikai principles provide the foundation for my growth in Aikido."
Hugh Huggins, Sandan (3rd degree)
"Aikido is fun. So I try to have fun at class. It is challenging mentally
and physically. I have practiced martial arts on and off for 28 years. I
have been studying Maruyama Sensei’s thoughts on Aikido since 2009 and
am constantly amazed that you can always learn something new and improve
Our classes are designed to be scalable so that everyone, regardless of
prior experience or physical make up can experience the pure fun and
happiness that comes from discovering something new about themselves,
their mind and their body."