Any seminar I go to (even the ones I teach), I like to boil them down to a handful of bulleted take-home points. I learned this practice from Sensei Jack Bieler, and I recommend it to you. You will get a lot out of processing and condensing lectures into a handful of bullets instead of just attending and experiencing them.
This past weekend was our annual Aiki Buddies Gathering here at Mokuren Dojo. It was super-well attended with 12-16 folks from Mississippi, Louisiana, and Tennessee at each class. We worked on multiple opponents randori in aikido. The following is what I think I primarily taught...
- We're not especially trying to learn to beat up 3 or 5 people at a time. Just like in tanto randori we are not learning to beat up people who have knives (that's just stupid). We are adding extra constraints to make our motion and timing and sense of distance more critical. We are adding constraints to force ourselves to adopt a more robust, workable strategy. Hopefully, we can eventually do enough of these sorts of practice that we treat every encounter with every uke as if they have a knife, or as if they have 2-3 buddies waiting to jump on us.
- A good, incremental way to inject a bit of randori in a controlled way is to do a kata that you are already familiar with, but with multiple ukes taking turns attacking. This takes the kata a step toward multiples randori, and forces you to occasionally choose different variations of kata techniques more suitable for multiple attackers. When this happens, go back and ask yourself why the kata movement is different when you know there is only one attacker than when you know there are multiples?
- In multiple opponent randori, you get different sorts of interactions if tori is trying to work the edges versus working the spaces or working the centers (Ledyard's concepts and terms, not mine).
- We worked on several interesting tricks that come into play, like using uke as a shield, slingshotting around an uke, rolling the ball, and using an uke as a doorway to safety.
Y'all that attended, I'm sure that you each got something different from my bullet points and something different from each other. Consider condensing your experience to a bullet list, and consider sharing it with the rest of us - sort of a mutual benefit sort of thing...