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January 26, 1990 - Image 27

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1990-01-26

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to work with a partner most
of the time. 'Aikido' means
`way of harmony.' You take
your partner's — not oppo-
nent's — energy, and you
make one technique together.
It's not a punch-and-kick type
of thing."
Her Aikido teacher is
Takashi Kushida, an eighth-
degree black belt who lives in
Ann Arbor. Along with fellow
Aikido students, Konikow
recently accompanied Kushi-
da on a trip to Japan.
How did Lisa Konikow, who
grew up in Huntington
Woods, come to be in Japan
with a martial arts group?
Konikow describes being
raised in a home filled with
art, music and books.
"I've been blessed," she
says. "I have fabulous
Her mother, Lindy, was a
docent for 25 years at the
Detroit Institute of Arts. Her
father, Dr. Zalman Konikow,
a children's dentist, is presi-
dent of the Chamber Music
Society of Detroit.
"I was always very bookish,
very pale, and I avoided sports
like the plague." Konikow
says. "I flunked tennis twice
in high school. I was dreamy.
I would bump into things,
holding a book as I walked."
Aikido first entered her life
in the form of a challenge,
almost a dare to change her
unphysical ways. When she
left Michigan State Universi-
ty, Konikow had a boyfriend
who took up Aikido. He
showed her the holds, and the
pins, but told her she was too
klutzy to participate herself.
That's all Konikow needed
to hear. Insult became in-
spiration. She went to watch
a few Aikido classes at Oak-
land University. Then she
signed up, attending class
twice a week. She was the on-
ly female amongst 20 male
There was tough tumbling
along the way, but the Aikido
Kid persevered.
"You have to fall a lot in
Aikido. And I hate the fall-
ing," Konikow says. "I'd have
to take anti-nausea medicine
sometimes before I'd go. But
there was something in it
that I liked."
Konikow says Aikido fit in
with the loving way she was
raised. "It sounds real corny,
but Aikido is about relation-
ship — working together."
She also notes that Aikido
has a very high level of
culture, history and etiquette,
which is especially appealing
given her own background.
Her family was among the
early members of the Jewish
Parents Institute.
And, she says, Aikido gave
her confidence. "That boy-

Patti Davis measures a bullet hole.

friend who told me I couldn't
do it because I was too klutzy
is long gone."
At one point, Konikow was
training 10 times a week, im-
mersing herself in advanced
studies. But now, at 36, she
trains a couple of times a
week and teaches an adult
and a children's class for
Aikido Yoshinkai Association
of North America (AYANA).
She describes her current
existence as well-balanced.
She has a primary job she
loves — managing the
Xochipilli Art Gallery in Bir-
mingham — and a multitude
of interests, including litera-
ture, French and Spanish,
linguistics and gardening.
Like many others who have
traveled roads not usually
taken, Konikow says there
have been times when she felt
black sheepish.
"I wasn't successful in the
conventional way. I wasn't in-
terested in corporate life.
"But my life has gotten so
wonderful. And a lot of it, I
feel, is because of Aikido. I've
just stuck with something I
love. And something good
came out of it."

"I started making phone
calls to detective
agencies to see what I
had to do. I mean, what
does a Jewish girl know
about being a



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