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The best, easiest-to-use, and least-expensive randori timers

The best way to time a hold-down in randori – especially with kids – is to make a rule that they have to hold the pin long enough to recite a sentence aloud. The sentence might be a scripture verse, part of your dojo kun, or some other moral. The ones I use include:
  • Honesty means always telling the truth.
  • Courtesy means showing respect for others.
  • Courage means doing what is right even when you are afraid.
  • Honor means always keeping your promises.
I’ll pick one of these each night that we’re going to do newaza randori or newaza holding drills and we’ll practice reciting it a few times. Then they become their own hold-down timers. I tried having the holder do a 3-count but you can easily count 1-2-3 in less than a second (I can subvocalize a count to about 8 in 1 second) but it usually takes most kids about 3 seconds to recite one of these.

Another cool thing about timing hold-downs this way is you have to keep your mind at least clear enough to be able to remember and recite the sentence even in the thick of the fray.

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