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I teach Aikido at a small dojo in Winnipeg, Canada. Been doing so for many years now. This blog is just a collection of ruminations on teaching, descriptions of the events of daily practice, and the occasional funny story.
The first time I tried randori I was just third kyu. For some of you that may seem a bit early for randori; for others of you it may seem a little late. In any case, the first time I tried to do randori I had only the sketchiest idea of what it involved. What I had grasped of the concept and practice intrigued me and I was hell-bent to give it a try.
I showed up to practice one day not long after discovering randori and found that I was the senior person on the mats. It fell to me to "lead" the class, which I did, straight into randori. I think part of me was itching to see if my Aikido actually worked, so I didn't put much in the way of restrictions on how randori played out. Basically, as I understood it at the time, randori was more or less a sparring match. The attackers attacked as they liked, and the defender defended with Aikido technique until he could no longer do so. Remember now, I was only third kyu and had never done anything like this before. Unfortunately, my fellow students had fairly extensive training in other martial arts like tae kwon do, karate, and kick-boxing. Consequently, I got a royal beating. I fractured a couple of molars (It took two bottles of 222's and a week and a half for the pain from my molars to subside), developed some lovely bruises on my ribs, and lumps on my face. To add insult to injury, I never managed to actually throw anyone!
I learned alot from the experience, however. There's nothing like this sort of a reality check to make one consider carefully what one is doing. Fortunately, I've gone on to refine my approach to randori and now I hardly ever get smacked in the face. Yay!