Wednesday, December 04, 2013

More productive aikido randori

Randori is a funny thing.  Funny-curious - not funny-ha-ha.  It is a lot of different things to different people.  Randori is a test of your skills, an ego-booster and an ego-killer (at the same time), a fun social game...
For me lately, I've noticed an interesting thing about randori.  I'm tired of throwing people down.  When you throw someone down the randori goes into a different sort of mode, in which no more randori happens until uke gets back up and fixes his suit and wastes a bunch of time, then eventually we get to do another encounter.
Randori is about accumulation of domain-specific experiences and encounters.  Anything that gets in the way of accumulating experiences (like throwing your partner down) is counter-productive to randori.
I can hear some of my lazier readers sighing a breath of relief.  He's not gonna make us fall down any more! Not so fast!  Falling is the most important skill, and it is almost the whole game.  There are only about 3 kinds of experiences that we are really interested in during randori - 

  • falling down
  • getting a arm in a bad bind
  • getting punched in the face

If we were to remove the falling down part then the arm-bind face-punch randori would be of limited value and would also get old real quick. 
So, we have to take falls, but the ensuing getting-up and re-starting part of randori is the biggest time-waster.  There are a few potential solutions...

  • Do tsukuri randori - that is, take uke right to the edge of the abyss (kuzushi and tsukuri) but instead of pulling the trigger (kake), allow them to walk out of that back to a viable position.
  • Implement a form of groundwork (newaza and/or suwariwaza) such that the encounter can continue after a fall.
  • Allow a fallen uke to take tori down or attack from the ground  - again, so that a fall is not an encounter-ender (zanshin).
  • Add in another uke or two so that when one is down, the other(s) can continue the randori (sannin randori)
  • Yell at uke to get his butt off the ground faster each time (better ukemi).

I suspect we all could benefit from implementing some of those suggestions...

Want to discuss this blog post? 

Patrick Parker

1 comment:

  1. I love Randori. Like this post a lot, thank you


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