Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Kristof’s Sendoff

Our 2006-2007 exchange student/uchideshi has completed his program and is headed back to Ukraine. We’ve enjoyed having him stay with us and work out with us. It’s been really interesting seeing how a young man changes between about age 15 and 16. It’s easy to forget about that during the ensuing 20-something years between Kristof and myself. It is also a good preview for what is coming up for the Parkers (in about 10 years Whit, Knox, and Quin will all be teenagers).
This was also our first extended experience working with an Aikikai guy. I have to say that I found our practice methods somewhat different but we were all able to recognize each other’s aikido as being aikido. Same in principle – different in practice. Kristof made the adjustment to working our way very well, and I don’t think that I’m out of line to say I think he has probably learned a good bit about aikido that will benefit him when he returns to his Aikikai class in Ukraine. I know I learned a good bit about the Aikikai way of doing things and some of their exercises that we don’t typically do (like suwari kokyudosa).
Because of his previous training and his frequent attendance, Kristof was able to make the skill and time-in-grade requirements for sankyu during his year here. If there is anyone in the trans-Carpathian region of Ukraine that is interested in the way we do aikido here in southwest Mississippi, Kristof Tomey is your contact!

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