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Mario Tobias
06-16-2012, 03:31 AM
I got clobbered in randori today...My thoughts are that yes, someone can be wearing a brown/blackbelt but may still be 6th kyu when it comes to performing randori. The thing with randori is that we don't do enough of it. Just like to know how you tackled a similar problem if you've encountered it.

phitruong
06-16-2012, 06:59 AM
I got clobbered in randori today...My thoughts are that yes, someone can be wearing a brown/blackbelt but may still be 6th kyu when it comes to performing randori. The thing with randori is that we don't do enough of it. Just like to know how you tackled a similar problem if you've encountered it.

Attend George Ledyard randori seminar. at the minimum, get the DVD. lots of good info there, but nothing like hand-on instruction.

PeterR
06-16-2012, 08:01 AM
Randori - grasping order out of chaos.

DVD's, seminars? - don't buy it. The only way to improve is to do lots of it against a variety of people.

Develop what the French call sangfroid.

Hellis
06-16-2012, 08:17 AM
Randori -

DVD's, seminars? - don't buy it. The only way to improve is to do lots of it against a variety of people.
.

I would agree here. Train with as many students as you can, if there is a student that is difficult/awkward - that is the guy you need to train with.

Henry Ellis
Co-author of `Positive Aikido`
http://aikido-controversy.blogspot.com/

Dan Rubin
06-16-2012, 09:20 AM
Be advised that George's randori DVD isn't really a DVD. It's a PowerPoint presentation on a compact disc. Won't work on a Mac.

Mary Eastland
06-16-2012, 09:27 AM
Randori is the most fun. Relax and enjoy...the more you can stay out of your head the better it feels and the better you will do.

Adam Huss
06-16-2012, 11:34 AM
I find this a commonality as well. Its a difficult exercise to squeeze into a short class period so I think it gets glossed over a lot. It can be tricky to find enough qualified uke who don't mind revving it up some. Also, only one person can be nage at a time...hence the extra time consumption. Still, its a great equalizer. Often I've witnessed shinsa where the testing candidate displays excellent technique with his parters in one on one situations (especially predetermined uke), but start to fall apart, or at the very least display a noticeable dichotomy in skill, when it comes to randori (usually, in tests I've seen...the candidate has known uke for all requirements but whomever gets there first is uke in randori...especially when your talking 5+ person randori). It definitely is one of those things that could be practiced more. I recently had a discussion about this with my teacher.

ChrisHein
06-16-2012, 12:16 PM
Randori -The only way to improve is to do lots of it against a variety of people.



If this were to become an Aikido mantra, we'd all be the better for it.

Adam Huss
06-16-2012, 01:54 PM
If this were to become an Aikido mantra, we'd all be the better for it.

True story.

Rob Watson
06-16-2012, 02:27 PM
We do randori after every class ... takes more than regular practice to get good at randori.

grondahl
06-16-2012, 04:12 PM
We do randori after every class ... takes more than regular practice to get good at randori.

My understanding from friends that have been uchi deshi at San Leandro is that you also do periods of randori-centered practice?

Hendricks sensei has a pretty structured way of teaching randori (my experience from the randori-focused seminars with her in Sweden that Ive attended) that seems to have some similarities to George Ledyards methodology.

Edit:
So when you do randori after class, you probably have a pretty keen grasp on what you are trying to accomplish. My experience is that that is not at all that common.

Kevin Leavitt
06-16-2012, 04:22 PM
Yeah, Randori is like that. I agree, most dojos need to do more. However, with the teaching methodologies employed in aikido at the range it typically is trained at....doing more randori isn't necessarily going to help a whole lot until you get the basics down. Hence, why you probably don't see much of it.

The problem is that, from an Aikido perspective, once it fails, you end up in the clinch, then it enters into a whole nother realm or spectrum of jiu jitsu training. Most dojos typically will break it up at that point and reset...then reach the conclusion that it is contrary or harmful to the things they are trying to train. that may or may not be true, but it depends on what you are training.

Mary Eastland
06-16-2012, 04:43 PM
Why would you break it up....just keep moving until you get out.

Chris Parkerson
06-16-2012, 05:53 PM
Yeah, Randori is like that. I agree, most dojos need to do more. However, with the teaching methodologies employed in aikido at the range it typically is trained at....doing more randori isn't necessarily going to help a whole lot until you get the basics down. Hence, why you probably don't see much of it.

The problem is that, from an Aikido perspective, once it fails, you end up in the clinch, then it enters into a whole nother realm or spectrum of jiu jitsu training. Most dojos typically will break it up at that point and reset...then reach the conclusion that it is contrary or harmful to the things they are trying to train. that may or may not be true, but it depends on what you are training.

I have always wondered why we insist that only one aspect of Jitsu is allowed in rondori. In a battle, I bring a rifle, pistol and hand grenade. Why not allow aiki-no-jitsu, aikijujitsu, and Jujitsu in rondori?

Just me thinking out loud (and of course doing it as such with my friends and training partners)....

Chris

Dave Gallagher
06-16-2012, 09:35 PM
The problem I have with randori is when it's done poorly at a public demo. It is in my opinion the main reason that some people watching think that Aikido is fake.
Nage drops down on all fours while uke is not even close enough yet and uke still rolls over, nage touches the shoulder of an uke who goes flying etc etc.

Kevin Leavitt
06-17-2012, 04:12 AM
Why would you break it up....just keep moving until you get out.

If it has structure and some degree of the participants doing things correctly then by all means. IME though, in Aikido, many don't have a clue what to do at this phase and it becomes a brawl with no purpose.

I'm an advocate of the full spectrum of rqndori and of training jiu jitsu throughout the entite spectrum. Problem is that very few people or schools do this.

No worries, just pointing out why I feel that many schools don't do more randori. It is hard to keep it confined to the one spectrum or area you train on.

Shadowfax
06-17-2012, 09:29 AM
Maybe you don't do enough of it. Where I train we do randori drills pretty frequently.

Gorgeous George
06-17-2012, 11:02 AM
Why would you break it up....just keep moving until you get out.

I'd imagine if you kept going, and waited until you 'got out', you'd be overwhelmed by the other attackers - or if the person who has hold of you is inclined, you'd get taken down/thrown yourself.

This is why I have become disillusioned with aikido, at present: it's entirely theoretical - which I understand - and there is no provision made for when things don't go perfectly to plan: i.e., real-life.

Can you not use 'aiki' through other techniques - in other situations?
I really would like to see a new akido training methodology emerge, as the old one - as Jigoro Kano said - is severely lacking.

Kevin Leavitt
06-17-2012, 03:08 PM
Hey Graham, understand where you are. Been there myself. I am finding ways to integrate aikido principles in my training. Note I said principles. I don't li it myself to particular methodologies. A lot of the IS guys have been very helpful.

Rob Watson
06-17-2012, 03:32 PM
Edit:
So when you do randori after class, you probably have a pretty keen grasp on what you are trying to accomplish. My experience is that that is not at all that common.

Bad writing on my part. I mean't as a part of class towards the very end we engage in randori practice as a part of the regular class time. Some sessions are more intensively dedicated to randori - depends on who is there and what they need working on.

PeterR
06-17-2012, 05:47 PM
This really begs the question.

How important do you see randori training in the context of over-all Aikido?

I've posted a lot about my opinion but before I do it again I am really interested in general opinions.

Anthony Loeppert
06-17-2012, 06:04 PM
I'd imagine if you kept going, and waited until you 'got out', you'd be overwhelmed by the other attackers - or if the person who has hold of you is inclined, you'd get taken down/thrown yourself.


No, I think the training philosophy merely transcends reality. You just wait until you get out. Whether that be the same night or everyone just agrees to continue the next session where they left off.

If trouble actually occurs, uke was not whispering loud enough to shitie (nage) to hear correctly, right Mary?
http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=20912&page=2&highlight=whisper

Regards,
Anthony

Chris Parkerson
06-17-2012, 06:47 PM
Has anyone trained Randori with "exotic" weapons?
One of the great gifts of Aikido is multiple attacker Randori.
In Kenpo we also trained the "mass attack" regularly and it was the final gift to a student who was testing for a belt promotion.

But maii changes when knives are being thrown and chain-type weapons are presented rather than Katana and clubs. And strategies must change for the defender when these types of attacks include several people.

Once experiencing this, try adapting Randori to a disciplined v shaped Kali formation where the point man is throwing weapons and his flanks are feeding him more knives to throw. Or try Randori against a swat-style building entry formation, making your throws by gripping their long arms and pistols. Try using the first uke as a shield from lines of fire, as a ballistic mass being thrown into the next person who is pointing his front sight toward you.

The Creativity is endless once you break out of the anachronistic training of an ancient pattern of Budo.

Cheers,

Chris

Anthony Loeppert
06-17-2012, 07:01 PM
Has anyone trained Randori with "exotic" weapons?


Not me.


But maii changes when knives are being thrown and chain-type weapons are presented rather than Katana and clubs. And strategies must change for the defender when these types of attacks include several people.

While perhaps technically true, what is the implication on applications of today? How often is a katana encountered? Chain weapons? Probably not many death by morningstar... Just a few less than died by throwing knife I'd guess...

though I'm not well versed in the nuance between someone throwing objects vs. slicing and blunt trauma instruments.

phitruong
06-17-2012, 08:10 PM
Randori - grasping order out of chaos.

DVD's, seminars? - don't buy it. The only way to improve is to do lots of it against a variety of people.

Develop what the French call sangfroid.

i don't think so. you can do 10,000 times of wrong things. what you will be good at is doing wrong things very well. there are lots of thing to consider in randori and you need to structure your training for it. first, consider the attackers. most attackers don't know how to attack in group. so you need to teach folks, ukes, how to synchronize their attacks so they can come at different angles and different levels, at the same time or close to it, so they don't let up the pressure on the nage. they need to learn strategies on how to corner nage. on the nage side, you need to understand spacing and timing in a group dynamics, which is quite a bit different than one on one. there are things you should do and shouldn't do. there are tactics and strategies to employ. folks tend to not know what they don't know until they got dog piled.

phitruong
06-17-2012, 08:14 PM
Has anyone trained Randori with "exotic" weapons?

Chris

you meant with vibrators and stuffs like that? damn! my eyes had gone bad on me, i thought "exotic" weapons was "erotic" weapons. personally, i think we have enough difficulty with bare hands. :D

Chris Parkerson
06-17-2012, 08:44 PM
Not me.

While perhaps technically true, what is the implication on applications of today? How often is a katana encountered? Chain weapons? Probably not many death by morningstar... Just a few less than died by throwing knife I'd guess...

though I'm not well versed in the nuance between someone throwing objects vs. slicing and blunt trauma instruments.

Many folks have talked about self defense.....
Application..

Chains are everywhere and act like whips. They can also wrap around you and slap you
unconscious if you try to block them.
A thrown knife must be avoided with body pivoting or footwork. Yet the thrower is still closing
upon you and is not yet committed to an angle of attack. Thus, there are two maii to be aware of.
I trained most of my art for the last 20 years to apply to bodyguarding. Has anyone considered
this? If you are protecting yourself, the dynamic sphere is fine and dandy. But if you are protecting
your spouse and kids, that same sphere is likely going to drive the attacker into a loved one.
Thus, I shortened my entries and kuzushi in all of the traditional techniques so I could make them
applicable to 3rd party protection. I train Multiple Randori with 3rd party protection in mind.


I am simply suggesting that we not only do more Randori; for it is a beautiful training platform, but to mix it up and challenge ourselves with modern realities.

Namaste,

Chris

Chris Parkerson
06-17-2012, 08:57 PM
you meant with vibrators and stuffs like that? damn! my eyes had gone bad on me, i thought "exotic" weapons was "erotic" weapons. personally, i think we have enough difficulty with bare hands. :D

Exactly Phi.
Below is another form of Randori for police and military. Building entry team goes through a house while bad guys grab at their sex toys. Aiki using the tip of your gun.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0UIYF8MtPtA&feature=youtube_gdata_player

Hooyah

Chris

GMaroda
06-17-2012, 11:50 PM
Maybe you don't do enough of it. Where I train we do randori drills pretty frequently.

Actually, I think we don't do it all that frequently. Just when someone is ramping up for a test. Then there's lots.

I wouldn't mind some more in the times we're normally focusing on other things, just to keep the skill levels up.

But then, I can never get enough randori. :cool:

Chuck Clark
06-18-2012, 12:42 AM
Peter has mentioned differences in methods of randori geiko. Here's a brief description of how we randori in Jiyushinkai training.

Jiyushin randori consists of one person attacking (setting up a real conflict with strong intent), and if the answering technique is not successful, then countering techniques (brought about through intuitive, creative decision making processes) are made by each person until a technique happens that can not be countered. This practice is initially done in slow motion with both partners keeping the original rhythm and pace. Even at slow speed, it's assumed that we're going as fast as possible so that "speeding up" to get out of trouble is not a viable way of solving the problem at hand. It is essential in this practice that excessive force and speed not be the deciding factors in the success of the techniques. As the budoka become more skilled, the speed level can go as fast as possible.

Randori must lead us past the seiteigata learning tools in kihon no kata into instantaneous intuitive, creative decision making of an infinite variety of techniques. Instead of reactive decision making, we learn proactive or creative decision making skills. Each person is trying 100% to attack and not get caught themselves while not really caring who catches the successful technique because both participants are learning and both are "winners" at all times. The idea is to develop a symbiotic competitive spirit of training that brings us to the true essence of the concept of takemusu aiki (the never ending flow of creative aikido that is appropriate for that instant).

Students usually begin to randori at about sankyu level and it becomes around fifty percent of our practice.

PeterR
06-18-2012, 03:27 AM
i don't think so. you can do 10,000 times of wrong things. what you will be good at is doing wrong things very well. there are lots of thing to consider in randori and you need to structure your training for it. first, consider the attackers. most attackers don't know how to attack in group. so you need to teach folks, ukes, how to synchronize their attacks so they can come at different angles and different levels, at the same time or close to it, so they don't let up the pressure on the nage. they need to learn strategies on how to corner nage. on the nage side, you need to understand spacing and timing in a group dynamics, which is quite a bit different than one on one. there are things you should do and shouldn't do. there are tactics and strategies to employ. folks tend to not know what they don't know until they got dog piled.

Well sure but on the other hand Randori is basically chaos training. The more "how to" there is the further you are away from the real purpose.

You are right of course - you need to start somewhere (rules, definitions and tactics) but then very quickly you need to start stripping those things away.

My point was not so much that you don't need to know the necessaries but to get better you need to get past that and just do lots of randori.

phitruong
06-18-2012, 07:07 AM
Randori is the most fun. Relax and enjoy...the more you can stay out of your head the better it feels and the better you will do.

you need to keep your head. you should be, at any time in the randori, if someone says stop, then you should be able to describe your next two moves at that point in time, and why you would make those moves.

phitruong
06-18-2012, 07:17 AM
I find this a commonality as well. Its a difficult exercise to squeeze into a short class period so I think it gets glossed over a lot. It can be tricky to find enough qualified uke who don't mind revving it up some. Also, only one person can be nage at a time...hence the extra time consumption.

depends on how you structure your practice. most folks practice aikido as though gearing toward only one person, nage, improving, instead of both nage and uke(s). uke(s) job is learning to attack well and to take ukemi well. nage learns to deal with the attacks. same thing in randori, ukes portion of learning is how to work in group, i.e. teamwork. how to take ukemi in a group and clear out the space so your other partners can attack nage and not be in the way of each other. ukes learning too, not just nage. when you structure your aikido practice like that, then you don't waste time on folks. and for those who stand on the sideline, not in the current randori, they learn as well by spotting mistakes and opportunities.

Chris Parkerson
06-18-2012, 07:45 AM
Peter,

You said, "You are right of course - you need to start somewhere (rules, definitions and tactics) but then very quickly you need to start stripping those things away."

That is so true. Traditional Randori is like an en vitro experiment. We must get past the fundamentals and then call into question tactics.

I do not know of mass attacks in the real world that do not include some form of blunt or edged weapon. And these days, someone likely has a hidden pistol in them if they are gang related.

Some ideas on tactics.
1. Go for the attacker who is wielding the most devastating weapon first. Take it from him and tactics change immediately.
2. When disarming him, the beauty of the throw is not as important as the disarm. Beware that centripetal forces are at play in big falls.

I offer these two video clips as a case in which traditional throws against an opponent wielding a pistol
May require some augmentation in technique.

Look at throw #3 and #4. in #3, I intentionally loosen my connection to the Kite gaeshi technique (something I would not normally do), in order to create a whip that disarms the pistol.

In technique #4 I am more concerned about making the perfect hiki otoshi that I forget to whip the gun away and am pulled if balance myself.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=96JQhiXRkw4&feature=youtube_gdata_player

3. Another issue is to know when to revert your knowledge of a weapon's weakness. So many people get stuck performing jujitsu or Aiki against a firearm without changing traditional methods to take advantage of the firearm's weaknesses. Semi-autos jam easily. Creat a type 3 malfunction and it becomes a club at best. You as Tori should know this - the opponent may not. This buy you many options for the next move as type 3 malfunctions take time to clear.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gklVq_AWBY4&feature=youtube_gdata_player
4. Long arms work differently than handguns.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LmbbYseOpXo&feature=youtube_gdata_player

Be well,

Chris

Mary Eastland
06-18-2012, 07:45 AM
you need to keep your head. you should be, at any time in the randori, if someone says stop, then you should be able to describe your next two moves at that point in time, and why you would make those moves.

Hi Phi:

I respectfully disagree with you...I never know what technique I am going to do until I am doing it. Randori has nothing to do with thinking. Each moment is met from the center with total concentration on the conditions at hand. The techniques or non techniques arise out of the the attack and the position of the other ukes. Thinking about the future is a distraction from the now.

Some ukes must be sidestepped and avoided as others are engaged and used as shields from other ukes. If a uke is just holding on, witrhout being dangerous they may be disregarded and dealt with after the more threatening ukes are dealt with. It all becomes clear with repeated practice and corrections as we go.

phitruong
06-18-2012, 08:03 AM
Hi Phi:

I respectfully disagree with you...I never know what technique I am going to do until I am doing it. Randori has nothing to do with thinking. Each moment is met from the center with total concentration on the conditions at hand. The techniques or non techniques arise out of the the attack and the position of the other ukes. Thinking about the future is a distraction from the now.
.

Mary, i did not mention techniques. i said "moves", as in, veering left to distance my right side uke, running toward the open west side corner, speed up and slow down to mess with the timing, and so on. one against many already put you at a disadvantage. if you cannot plan ahead (i didn't say your body goes ahead, i said plan ahead), then you put yourself at an even greater disadvantage. personally, i would like my ukes work for it to get to me. it's call sen sen no sen, not go no sen nor even sen no sen.

PeterR
06-18-2012, 08:09 AM
Unfortunately I am sitting in a country which rightly or wrongly (I have yet to make up my mind) bans YouTube.

I don't think randori in any of its forms has to reflect "real life" in that it is a training tool rather than the summit of Aikido.. Its main purpose is to free us from more stuctured training and expose us to a more chaotic environment. I have a similar view of several different aspects of Aikido - I try to avoid the "Aikido is" trap.

Now the inclusion of weapons, going to ground, and any and all sorts of "fun variations" have other purposes in their own right. Did I mention they could be fun.

Peter,

You said, "You are right of course - you need to start somewhere (rules, definitions and tactics) but then very quickly you need to start stripping those things away."

That is so true. Traditional Randori is like an en vitro experiment. We must get past the fundamentals and then call into question tactics.

I do not know of mass attacks in the real world that do not include some form of blunt or edged weapon. And these days, someone likely has a hidden pistol in them if they are gang related.

Some ideas on tactics.
1. Go for the attacker who is wielding the most devastating weapon first. Take it from him and tactics change immediately.
2. When disarming him, the beauty of the throw is not as important as the disarm. Beware that centripetal forces are at play in big falls.

I offer these two video clips as a case in which traditional throws against an opponent wielding a pistol
May require some augmentation in technique.

Look at throw #3 and #4. in #3, I intentionally loosen my connection to the Kite gaeshi technique (something I would not normally do), in order to create a whip that disarms the pistol.

In technique #4 I am more concerned about making the perfect hiki otoshi that I forget to whip the gun away and am pulled if balance myself.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=96JQhiXRkw4&feature=youtube_gdata_player

3. Another issue is to know when to revert your knowledge of a weapon's weakness. So many people get stuck performing jujitsu or Aiki against a firearm without changing traditional methods to take advantage of the firearm's weaknesses. Semi-autos jam easily. Creat a type 3 malfunction and it becomes a club at best. You as Tori should know this - the opponent may not. This buy you many options for the next move as type 3 malfunctions take time to clear.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gklVq_AWBY4&feature=youtube_gdata_player
4. Long arms work differently than handguns.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LmbbYseOpXo&feature=youtube_gdata_player

Be well,

Chris

Gorgeous George
06-18-2012, 10:56 AM
Unfortunately I am sitting in a country which rightly or wrongly (I have yet to make up my mind) bans YouTube.

Really...?
Where are you?

Gorgeous George
06-18-2012, 10:58 AM
you meant with vibrators and stuffs like that? damn! my eyes had gone bad on me, i thought "exotic" weapons was "erotic" weapons. personally, i think we have enough difficulty with bare hands. :D

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kV1j2VYi7ho

;)

Gerardo Torres
06-18-2012, 11:18 AM
Like the OP, I feel we don't practice aikido randori enough to improve it significantly. I suck at it :(

FWIW, the best randori training and performance I have seen, is from Haruo Matsuoka Sensei and his students. His dojo put out some videos showing footage of their randori practice. They are very, very demanding when training randori. The uke attack and chase the nage close to 100% speed and commitment -- they really want to pile up on nage. They are humble and mature enough to show failures on video, analyze it, and try to fix it. They keep training this way, and I believe they don't get Dan grades until they can pull it off; but when they do get it right, it's fantastic. I have not seen anybody else do this kind of work, at least at this level and with such quality of results.

Rob Watson
06-18-2012, 12:09 PM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kV1j2VYi7ho

;)

You always tell the bad asses by the size of the mullet ...

Chris Parkerson
06-18-2012, 12:29 PM
You always tell the bad asses by the size of the mullet ...

Now that quote and that video are definitely keepers.

Chow,

Chris

Mary Eastland
06-18-2012, 01:35 PM
Mary, i did not mention techniques. i said "moves", as in, veering left to distance my right side uke, running toward the open west side corner, speed up and slow down to mess with the timing, and so on. one against many already put you at a disadvantage. if you cannot plan ahead (i didn't say your body goes ahead, i said plan ahead), then you put yourself at an even greater disadvantage. personally, i would like my ukes work for it to get to me. it's call sen sen no sen, not go no sen nor even sen no sen.

The second you start to plan you have left the present.

phitruong
06-18-2012, 01:58 PM
The second you start to plan you have left the present.

why would this be a bad thing? why couldn't i plan ahead and be in the present at the same time? would having multiple personalities help? :)

Chris Parkerson
06-18-2012, 02:50 PM
why would this be a bad thing? why couldn't i plan ahead and be in the present at the same time? would having multiple personalities help? :)

Genpo Roshi's "Big Mind".
We are all blessed/afflicted by it.
Just don't let it fragment to where one member ceases to talk to the other members of the Board of Directors. That is when you go schitzo.

Gassho

Chris

graham christian
06-18-2012, 03:25 PM
Many folks have talked about self defense.....
Application..

Chains are everywhere and act like whips. They can also wrap around you and slap you
unconscious if you try to block them.
A thrown knife must be avoided with body pivoting or footwork. Yet the thrower is still closing
upon you and is not yet committed to an angle of attack. Thus, there are two maii to be aware of.
I trained most of my art for the last 20 years to apply to bodyguarding. Has anyone considered
this? If you are protecting yourself, the dynamic sphere is fine and dandy. But if you are protecting
your spouse and kids, that same sphere is likely going to drive the attacker into a loved one.
Thus, I shortened my entries and kuzushi in all of the traditional techniques so I could make them
applicable to 3rd party protection. I train Multiple Randori with 3rd party protection in mind.

I am simply suggesting that we not only do more Randori; for it is a beautiful training platform, but to mix it up and challenge ourselves with modern realities.

Namaste,

Chris

Here's an interesting additive for you Chris. When someone is getting stuck with one person, especially when they are 'sure' they are being thwarted, I pick up a bokken saying if they are still there they get hit. Suddenly they can do it. This also happens with more attackers. The thing is it makes the handling of those others more insignificant and they find themselves handling them in order to avoid the 'greater' danger.

Ma-ai, or rather zanshin tends to suddenly become useful.

Peace.G.

Chris Parkerson
06-18-2012, 03:34 PM
Here's an interesting additive for you Chris. When someone is getting stuck with one person, especially when they are 'sure' they are being thwarted, I pick up a bokken saying if they are still there they get hit. Suddenly they can do it. This also happens with more attackers. The thing is it makes the handling of those others more insignificant and they find themselves handling them in order to avoid the 'greater' danger.

Ma-ai, or rather zanshin tends to suddenly become useful.

Peace.G.

Most interesting. : )
I use a series of tools to teach critical distance against blunt and edged weapons.
Once graduated from thebasic tools, I move to the replica sword to see if the glitter causes them
to focus on the weapon rather than the gestalt and ranges. Then, to a real Katana or knife.
Reactive ranging naturally Increases until they begin trusting their instincts again.
Finally, a riding crop. It whips so fast, range must be completely instinctive. This prepares a person to fight on a dark wet night and not overly rely on vision. The crop's whipping sound gives you r ge for maii.

Party on

Chris

graham christian
06-18-2012, 03:46 PM
Most interesting. : )
I use a series of tools to teach critical distance against blunt and edged weapons.
Once graduated from thebasic tools, I move to the replica sword to see if the glitter causes them
to focus on the weapon rather than the gestalt and ranges. Then, to a real Katana or knife.
Reactive ranging naturally Increases until they begin trusting their instincts again.
Finally, a riding crop. It whips so fast, range must be completely instinctive. This prepares a person to fight on a dark wet night and not overly rely on vision. The crop's whipping sound gives you r ge for maii.

Party on

Chris

Very good. When you say instinctive I take it you mean spiritual. Spiritual ma-ai is something I never hear discussed.

Peace.G.

Chris Parkerson
06-18-2012, 04:04 PM
Very good. When you say instinctive I take it you mean spiritual. Spiritual ma-ai is something I never hear discussed.

Peace.G.

I do not attempt to separate spiritual from physical. I am unsure what you mean in your term spiritual maii. For me, I say, there are no winners in a fight, only survivors.
How do you survive?

1. Don't get hit. How do you not get hit? Move both feet. Follow the geometry of evasion. All attacks work on an arch and/or radius. PI is present. Trust it. It is a sacred geometry.

2. Don't get mesmerized by the moving glitter. It absorbs your attention and you get clocked from somewhere else. Plus, if you process through your eyes/brain, you are too slow. Feel movement like fish feel other fish in water. Move with the ebb and flow by way of your hara and you will not be too slow.

3. Do not stand double weighted. It is a stagnant kiss of death. It will cause you to use your eyes and brain, then you will have to shift to one foot. That is wasted time. The hara initiates movement best when you are primarily weighted on one foot.

Just a start...

Chris

graham christian
06-18-2012, 04:37 PM
I do not attempt to separate spiritual from physical. I am unsure what you mean in your term spiritual maii. For me, I say, there are no winners in a fight, only survivors.
How do you survive?

1. Don't get hit. How do you not get hit? Move both feet. Follow the geometry of evasion. All attacks work on an arch and/or radius. PI is present. Trust it. It is a sacred geometry.

2. Don't get mesmerized by the moving glitter. It absorbs your attention and you get clocked from somewhere else. Plus, if you process through your eyes/brain, you are too slow. Feel movement like fish feel other fish in water. Move with the ebb and flow by way of your hara and you will not be too slow.

3. Do not stand double weighted. It is a stagnant kiss of death. It will cause you to use your eyes and brain, then you will have to shift to one foot. That is wasted time. The hara initiates movement best when you are primarily weighted on one foot.

Just a start...

Chris

O.K. I Get the points 1,2 and 3 and could ask a few things about them. Firstly in the prior post I asked whether by intuition you meant spiritual.

Point 1 is different to me. On point 2, using hara rather than eyes, we are back to spiritual are we not?

Point 3 I disagree with or don't see how.

The main thing is though my reply to what I mean by spiritual ma-ai.

We used to demonstrate a one inch punch or even one cm punch from such, different to the standard or more common way of doing it. The point is spiritual rules are higher harmonics of the physical yet you cannot understand them thinking physically. ie: If I told you to spiritually let go of something it doesn't then fall down.

Now spiritual ma-ai I'll give you an example I feel you personally will get or at least find interesting. Think of sympathy. You may sympathise with someone and walk away carrying their problems. There I would say you didn't keep ma-ai.

On the other hand, and much more effective and helpful is empathy. Empathise with another and you are being with them spiritually and yet keeping ma-ai. Good counselors are good at this. So spiritually you can be with the other and even be with them completely withou losing yourself. You still are you, not overwhelmed or overcome. Thus you can be the other person and yet remain yourself. This is still ma-ai.

So in my Aikido for instance when you enter then obviously physically you are breaking ma-ai but if you maintain being with spiritually you are in fact maintaining ma-ai. The nearest I could say to this would be the oft said maintaining connection.

Hope that explains sufficiently.

Peace.G.

Chris Parkerson
06-18-2012, 05:06 PM
Graham,

I am beginning to understand your use of these words a bit. Symbols and allegories are good tools for parallel realities.

I hold maii in many ways. I try to be counted of all men, yet none too much (Rudyard Kipling)
I try not to let emotion manage my words or actions (including fighting). Thus, maii is present there as well.
I sincerely hope for the best outcome in all encounters but am attached to no specific outcome. Thus I buy bewilderment through surrender to the greater forces of the universe. This too is maii.
I have no compunctions about doing anything that is required in the moment. I try to allow my inner voice to understand a gestalt and to present my actions rather than allowing the voices of others (groups, social conventions or laws) to muddle the clarity of my inner voice. That voice is the prophet within me coming out like a lion. That, too, is maii.
I work on not worrying about what happens to me when I act. I have surrendered to the greater good through meditations on impermanence and death. That, too is maii.
I trust that the love and compassion I have generated in my life will inform me of how to provide liberation to all. That is not a dogma, but an experience of grace. That too is maii.

Now, for point 3, I offer you an experiment.

Take a plum bob and place it on your chest. Let the weight show you where your center is located between your feet. (This is just a model, so please do not get side tracked about a center having more than 2 dimensions or the weight or mass of the center).

Double weight yourself as 50% 50% on each foot. Then decide to move. notice that the plum bob must move towards one foot before the other can take a step. This may be a slight move, but it is a move, nonetheless.

If you can remove that slight move of the plum bob, you have become more efficient and quicker in your footwork.

The traditional way this is done is through using 90% - 10% or 70% - 30% weight distributions in your stances.

A single weighted foot can sink and pivot from the bottom of the foot, using the whole leg as its leverage and torque. It is, in essence, already in motion and can move in at least 270 degrees into its next posture by using the one leg as a pivot point.

In a double weighted stance the two legs oppose each other, coming together at the pelvic girdle, much like a triangle. To move a foot, one must uproot his center some in order to step-drag or drag-step into a new posture. Much of the pivoting is done at lumbar 4 and 5 in the lower back. This is a weak area and has shorter leverage than pivoting on one leg. Power is lost. Much of the softness people see in my technique is not weak. It has long leverage working for it. Uke is forced to move because I am using a long fulcrum. Less muscle is needed.

If you move from the bottom of your single weighted foot, you are naturally sensing through the hara. If you move from the lumbar area during a pivot, the upper body becomes engaged. Energy rises and the eyes and brain are engaged.

I have tried to do double weighted stance with hara guiding the action. My experience is that, while someone may prove me wrong, Why should it matter. my hara engages naturally when I am single weighted. So I help others to do the same and they also experience the same results.

A final thing occurs. If you are upper body, it is hard to read the uke from your finger tips. If you are single weighted, the upper body has not engaged with muscle or force, thus you can read uke like a good masseur would.

Thanks for the question,

Chris

graham christian
06-18-2012, 05:56 PM
Graham,

I am beginning to understand your use of these words a bit. Symbols and allegories are good tools for parallel realities.

I hold maii in many ways. I try to be counted of all men, yet none too much (Rudyard Kipling)
I try not to let emotion manage my words or actions (including fighting). Thus, maii is present there as well.
I sincerely hope for the best outcome in all encounters but am attached to no specific outcome. Thus I buy bewilderment through surrender to the greater forces of the universe. This too is maii.
I have no compunctions about doing anything that is required in the moment. I try to allow my inner voice to understand a gestalt and to present my actions rather than allowing the voices of others (groups, social conventions or laws) to muddle the clarity of my inner voice. That voice is the prophet within me coming out like a lion. That, too, is maii.
I work on not worrying about what happens to me when I act. I have surrendered to the greater good through meditations on impermanence and death. That, too is maii.
I trust that the love and compassion I have generated in my life will inform me of how to provide liberation to all. That is not a dogma, but an experience of grace. That too is maii.

Now, for point 3, I offer you an experiment.

Take a plum bob and place it on your chest. Let the weight show you where your center is located between your feet. (This is just a model, so please do not get side tracked about a center having more than 2 dimensions or the weight or mass of the center).

Double weight yourself as 50% 50% on each foot. Then decide to move. notice that the plum bob must move towards one foot before the other can take a step. This may be a slight move, but it is a move, nonetheless.

If you can remove that slight move of the plum bob, you have become more efficient and quicker in your footwork.

The traditional way this is done is through using 90% - 10% or 70% - 30% weight distributions in your stances.

A single weighted foot can sink and pivot from the bottom of the foot, using the whole leg as its leverage and torque. It is, in essence, already in motion and can move in at least 270 degrees into its next posture by using the one leg as a pivot point.

In a double weighted stance the two legs oppose each other, coming together at the pelvic girdle, much like a triangle. To move a foot, one must uproot his center some in order to step-drag or drag-step into a new posture. Much of the pivoting is done at lumbar 4 and 5 in the lower back. This is a weak area and has shorter leverage than pivoting on one leg. Power is lost. Much of the softness people see in my technique is not weak. It has long leverage working for it. Uke is forced to move because I am using a long fulcrum. Less muscle is needed.

If you move from the bottom of your single weighted foot, you are naturally sensing through the hara. If you move from the lumbar area during a pivot, the upper body becomes engaged. Energy rises and the eyes and brain are engaged.

I have tried to do double weighted stance with hara guiding the action. My experience is that, while someone may prove me wrong, Why should it matter. my hara engages naturally when I am single weighted. So I help others to do the same and they also experience the same results.

A final thing occurs. If you are upper body, it is hard to read the uke from your finger tips. If you are single weighted, the upper body has not engaged with muscle or force, thus you can read uke like a good masseur would.

Thanks for the question,

Chris

Thank you for the answer. I agree with all the ma-ai illustrations.

The method of efficient movement is interesting. I personally don't find that necessary but see how it is so.

Personally I have found that through much continuous taisabaki and tenkan, in fact I have them both within one continuous drill, I end up not relying on weight distribution through legs to move and move from centre freely.

More interesting though was your explanation of the triangle formed which brings about the point in the lumber spine region, you say as 4 and 5. I teach differently and so show another way of moving efficiently.

When talking centre it's as if your legs become light and feet 'float' across the mat.

However, when talking Koshi, (that would mean with weight downwards, heavy) then the point of movement, of rotation, of power, becomes the koshi which physically is the base of the spine, back of the hips. It actually becomes a relaxed point and an opening. The movements then become more like 'skating' smooth, no up and down. Moving from koshi and moving from centre, neither use upper body.

I can give you a reference for the explanation of koshi physiologically if you wish.

Peace.G.

Chris Parkerson
06-18-2012, 06:16 PM
However, when talking Koshi, (that would mean with weight downwards, heavy) then the point of movement, of rotation, of power, becomes the koshi which physically is the base of the spine, back of the hips. It actually becomes a relaxed point and an opening. The movements then become more like 'skating' smooth, no up and down. Moving from koshi and moving from centre, neither use upper body.

I can give you a reference for the explanation of koshi physiologically if you wish.

Peace.G.

Aikido folks eventually get the sliding movement as a "sinking" over time. But in the beginning, folks tend to push from the rear foot. Any pushing from the rear foot to make a step raises the center a little bit. Think of a rear wheel drive auto. The front wants to rise when it accelerates.

Now think of a front wheel drive auto. The mass sinks rather than raises.

gassho,

Chris

graham christian
06-18-2012, 06:27 PM
Aikido folks eventually get the sliding movement as a "sinking" over time. But in the beginning, folks tend to push from the rear foot. Any pushing from the rear foot to make a step raises the center a little bit. Think of a rear wheel drive auto. The front wants to rise when it accelerates.

Now think of a front wheel drive auto. The mass sinks rather than raises.

gassho,

Chris

Yes they may eventually. In the beginning folks tend to do many things.

If you look up the following on google I'm sure you will find it interesting: Koshi balancing-a method.

Peace.G.

Gerardo Torres
06-18-2012, 06:39 PM
Sry delete post.

mathewjgano
06-18-2012, 07:47 PM
This really begs the question.

How important do you see randori training in the context of over-all Aikido?

I've posted a lot about my opinion but before I do it again I am really interested in general opinions.

Hi Peter,
I really like your description of handling the chaos in randori. Not that I ever thought I was much good at it, but one of the most vivid impressions I've ever had in my still brief training in Aikido was when you paired me up with Omonishi sensei and half way through, he kindly tried to remind me: "randori.":D I was trying; he was just too fast and precise...or put another way, I was simply too slow and sloppy. It gave me a palpable sense of the gap between our abilities...something more visceral than the simple idea that he was further along than me. The lesser degrees of resistance then gave me something to work with in terms of developing a more assertive expression of different waza.
From my meager point of view, I think one of the great assets of the Shodokan method is the structure of its training and particularly its graduated approach to resistance in randori. It also reinforced in my mind the difference between "competition" and "cooperative" resistance.
So to answer the question, I think in the grand scheme of things, randori is crucial to understanding real-time application.
While I'm thinking about it: thank you for that!
Take care,
Matt

phitruong
06-18-2012, 08:08 PM
Finally, a riding crop. It whips so fast, range must be completely instinctive. This prepares a person to fight on a dark wet night and not overly rely on vision. The crop's whipping sound gives you r ge for maii.

Party on

Chris

Chris, we need to talk about your practice. first it was erotic weapons, then graduated to using riding crop? soon it's going to be S&M bondage and chain and goth and so on. personally, i am starting to worry about you. i think you are taking the whole idea "aikido is all about love" a bit too far. isn't cross dressing enough as it is? :)

Shadowfax
06-18-2012, 08:11 PM
Actually, I think we don't do it all that frequently. Just when someone is ramping up for a test. Then there's lots.

I wouldn't mind some more in the times we're normally focusing on other things, just to keep the skill levels up.

But then, I can never get enough randori. :cool:

You should really come to class more often....You don't know what you have been missing. ;)

phitruong
06-18-2012, 08:11 PM
Hi Peter,
I really like your description of handling the chaos in randori.
Matt

most folks try to bring order to the chaos which is a wrong thing to do, because chaos always win, since it's better organized. :D

PeterR
06-18-2012, 09:45 PM
most folks try to bring order to the chaos which is a wrong thing to do, because chaos always win, since it's better organized. :D

:D - trying to control the uncontrollable - always a mistake.

Trying to use chaos to your advantage - that is the sweet spot.

Chris Parkerson
06-18-2012, 09:55 PM
Chris, we need to talk about your practice. first it was erotic weapons, then graduated to using riding crop? soon it's going to be S&M bondage and chain and goth and so on. personally, i am starting to worry about you. i think you are taking the whole idea "aikido is all about love" a bit too far. isn't cross dressing enough as it is? :)

Phi,
My practice is geared for the needs of people protection - my job. So, I thought you of all people would appreciate this. Three weeks ago at the Black and White Ball (San Francisco Symphony Benefit where 3,000 people donate and great music was enjoyed by all).

1024

Party on, Dude

Chris

PeterR
06-18-2012, 10:02 PM
Well you and me both. I still remember the judo chop across the throat when he thought I wasn't paying enough attention. He was team captain of one of the strongest competitive teams in Japan and when you saw young Araki take student championships several years running and then placing 3rd in London last year you know who was responsible for that. He had a talent for keeping a clear head and teaching others to do the same.

When I was talking about randori in the past few posts I really meant the Aikikai variety. One on one is significantly less chaotic then against multiple opponents. It seems in that situation the best thing to do is to use bodies to block other bodies rather than go for controlling techniques. A very different emphasis than the Shodokan variety.

Hi Peter,
I really like your description of handling the chaos in randori. Not that I ever thought I was much good at it, but one of the most vivid impressions I've ever had in my still brief training in Aikido was when you paired me up with Omonishi sensei and half way through, he kindly tried to remind me: "randori.":D I was trying; he was just too fast and precise...or put another way, I was simply too slow and sloppy. It gave me a palpable sense of the gap between our abilities...something more visceral than the simple idea that he was further along than me. The lesser degrees of resistance then gave me something to work with in terms of developing a more assertive expression of different waza.
From my meager point of view, I think one of the great assets of the Shodokan method is the structure of its training and particularly its graduated approach to resistance in randori. It also reinforced in my mind the difference between "competition" and "cooperative" resistance.
So to answer the question, I think in the grand scheme of things, randori is crucial to understanding real-time application.
While I'm thinking about it: thank you for that!
Take care,
Matt

Chris Parkerson
06-18-2012, 10:59 PM
:D - trying to control the uncontrollable - always a mistake.

Trying to use chaos to your advantage - that is the sweet spot.

How to interact with Chaos? Ahhhhhhhhh
One sign wave at a time.

; )

Chris

mathewjgano
06-18-2012, 11:41 PM
When I was talking about randori in the past few posts I really meant the Aikikai variety. One on one is significantly less chaotic then against multiple opponents. It seems in that situation the best thing to do is to use bodies to block other bodies rather than go for controlling techniques. A very different emphasis than the Shodokan variety.
But there was already so much chaos with just one person! Ack!:uch:

ewolput
06-19-2012, 01:40 AM
He was team captain of one of the strongest competitive teams in Japan and when you saw young Araki take student championships several years running and then placing 3rd in London last year you know who was responsible for that. He had a talent for keeping a clear head and teaching others to do the same.

.

Peter,
mmm mmm the strongest team, now you are striking me under the belt........

Eddy

ewolput
06-19-2012, 01:43 AM
Peter,
mmm mmm the strongest team, now you are striking me under the belt........

Eddy

sorry misreaded, "one" of the strongest

PeterR
06-19-2012, 03:10 AM
sorry misreaded, "one" of the strongest

Your team is also not in Japan:D

These are university students and as I am sure you are aware some produce ranked players more consistently than others. Waseda and Kinki Daigaku come to mind. Omonish was from the latter - I understood some of these guys would train seven hours a day every day - one wonders how he got through university. I digress. These guys also do very well in kata.

PeterR
06-19-2012, 03:36 AM
But there was already so much chaos with just one person! Ack!:uch:

Peter will be kind and not have fun with that. :D

mathewjgano
06-19-2012, 09:30 AM
Peter will be kind and not have fun with that. :D

For some reason I just had a flashback of you with a wicked grin applying sankyo....hmmm...:D
Good times!

Chris Parkerson
06-23-2012, 08:38 AM
Here is Randori Eskrima style. Eskrima essentially means scrimmage.
The reward is equal to the sacrifice. The more realistic you can make it, the more warrioship (Budo) will emerge.

If you think that this looks like a controlled form of gang beat down, just understand, these guys come from the rough streets of Central California. In Bahala Na (Leo Giron's style of Eskrima/Arnis), he is emphatic that Bahala Na is not a stick art. It is a blade art where sticks are used to keep it safe.

Giron taught that peace is not the absence of violence, but the efficient mitigation of violence. He also taught, "unsheath (your blade) only with good reason and resheat it only with honor." Thus, the attackers are respecting the man in the middle with clean, controlled attacks.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rac81Dv6vq0&feature=youtube_gdata_player

Party on

Chris

Chuck Clark
06-23-2012, 02:13 PM
Chris, what I saw in the video, to me, isn't randori. It's a serial drill with attackers coming one at a time doing pretty much the same type of attacks... it's a great training drill for sure.

What I mean by randori is an attack (that isn't programmed or agreed upon in advance) to achieve total affect and control over the other person with a response from the attackee that works (takes total control over the attacker such that they can't continue) and if that doesn't happen the attacker continues to attack until they achieve control. In real randori, this shouldn't last more than two or possibly three cycles. Higher level skill, it shouldn't go past the first attack. It doesn't matter if we're going slow, medium, or fast, this is the goal. Now, there are many, many ways to do something similar that are drills meant to practice certain skills, etc. But randori should be as close as possible to a real encounter. At high levels, multiple attackers work well, we don't do much of it because the techniques that really work against multiple aggressors are short, sweet, and very nasty. You don't have time to mess around. Doing attacks one at a time by multiple people isn't the same thing. Going fast in randori is dangerous and only for high level people with very good ukemi. When we go slow the same things happen but in slow motion. I learned to go slow from a real expert at doing real human movement slowly in Paris in the late sixties. Maitre Marcel Marceau was a really good budoka.

Our higher level people can practice the junana hon kata as fast as possible with closed fist boxing style jabs, etc. to the face. It's pretty exciting to watch (and take part in...). This can only be done because of slow training in kata and then randori for a good number of years leading up to full speed.

I have seen kali and escrima in the Philippines and here in the states done at high speed doing what I call randori. However, only by extremely skillful high level practitioners and only for a short time ended by small, sort of evil smiles on their face. Similar stuff can be seen by very high level people in many arts in my experience.

Chris Parkerson
06-23-2012, 02:48 PM
Thank you Chuck for your refinement of the definition of Randori. This video was the taped end of a belt test. Mass Attack where the testee only defends. It's purpose is to Broaden one's focus and tactical response using 5 angles (cincotero) of attack while imposing a level of chaos through the implementation of multiple attackers. Cincotero defined by Leo Giron:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mNSFCnyb8hk&feature=youtube_gdata_player

In my additions to this thread, I was challenging folks to get creative in doing Randori. The use of multiple attackers, traditional weapons and exotic weapons. But I know that not all readers are doing Randori for the main goal of "self defense".

For the one's that are, i offered this model. Much like the Kenpo Mass Attack testing,
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IwHvu0nv6gg&feature=youtube_gdata_player

It assumes "Monkey in the Middle" and allows someone a problem and pace that they can be challenged by. Steve Elder, in the video above is trained in Kenpo, judo, aikido and jujitsu. Still, he get's stuck in the feeding drill above. We have used these tools to test what our body memory has acquired, rather than our brain memory.

Two questions:

1. Can such experiences be added to Randori, not for the expert Shihan, but as a training tool to acquire "eye of the tiger" and survival skills?

2. Is such training of value in your opinion?

Respectfully,

Chris

Perhaps

Chuck Clark
06-23-2012, 05:16 PM
Chris, I think if the understanding of what randori is, a two person representation of an encounter that allows us to train relatively realistic exchanges that are like a laboratory for experimentation... then we can construct almost any kind of scenario that is workable. In my experience working with police and security training the trainees pick up lots of practical "what if" experience. As they get more experience you up the speed an then add two on one, etc. I should add that with the less experienced groups there should be very close supervision because folks tend to get carried away.

Chris Parkerson
06-23-2012, 07:55 PM
Chris, I think if the understanding of what randori is, a two person representation of an encounter that allows us to train relatively realistic exchanges that are like a laboratory for experimentation... then we can construct almost any kind of scenario that is workable. In my experience working with police and security training the trainees pick up lots of practical "what if" experience. As they get more experience you up the speed an then add two on one, etc. I should add that with the less experienced groups there should be very close supervision because folks tend to get carried away.

Thanks Chuck,

For your input. It was very informative. I have also reformulated my query in a non-aikido portion of the Aikiweb.

Gassho,

Chris

George S. Ledyard
06-25-2012, 10:49 AM
It's clear from reading this that there is little agreement about what randori is much less how to go about training the skills. Discussions range as far as concerns for making randori less conventional, more like real self defense.

When I talk about randori I am talking about multiple attacker practice. The way I was taught single partner free style application was jiyu waza. Randori for me is the practice of Aikido waza applied in a multiple attacker situation with the attackers using conventional attacks (the standard stylized strikes and grabs of the Aikido repertoire). Aikido randori in the sense of what I am talking about is a stylized practice. It is not intended to be some sort of street self defense application (any more than regular one on one practice is about street fighting).

Talking about randori from the standpoint of non-traditional weapons, trying to make the attackers behave in a more "realistic" fashion, is perhaps an interesting practice but I do not consider this to be what is normally meant by Aikido randori.

Asking the attackers in an Aikido randori to act in a more "realistic" fashion changes the whole practice. I used to teach multiple attacker defense to police and security personnel. It did not look anything like an Aikido randori. It was based on fairly close quarters attacks by two or three attackers. The first person you touched you did your level best to disable with your first strike, you smashed him into the next closest attacker, smashing his head in the face of the next attacker if possible, Each person you touch needs to act as your defense against the next attacker. It requires total commitment and maximum use of the force available to you. Anything less than that in a real street multiple attacker encounter against committed attackers is likely to result in your death or a trip to the emergency room. I do not see this as Aikido. It is something else.

I think that Aikido randori is a form of "moving meditation". It can be full speed, full power but sticks to conventional attacks. It can and does include weapons... bokken, jo, bokken but once again, it is not intended as some sort of "realistic" practice. Three attackers with weapons, especially edged weapons, is going to be your death. Unlike that great fight scene in the Last Samurai, three attackers with swords or knives do not need or want to commit to an attack. They simply close in on your until there's no more space and carve you up. If you want to talk about "realistic" defense against multiple attackers with weapons, the only system I have seen that I think is very useful as normally practiced is the Russian Systema. But that is quite a different practice and while it might represent application of various principles if "aiki", it is not Aikido, in my opinion.

I also strenuously disagree with the idea that the way to get get at randori is simply to do lots of them. This is just a repeat of that old idea which says just do it a lot and you'll figure it out eventually. This might work for exceptionally talented individuals who are capable of being their own teachers but it is a very slow and inefficient way to transmit a set of skills. I have been holding multi day randori intensives for over twenty years. We have done thousands of randoris at this point. Every combination of grabbing randoris, empty hand randoris, knife, sword, and mixed weapons randoris you can think of while staying within the traditional Aikido paradigm.

There are patterns that recur over and over. You can see how certain types of movements produce fairly predictable reactions on the part of the attackers. This allows you to go from a reactive mindset to a mindset in which you shape the randori and take what is seemingly chaotic and unpredictable and make things increasingly probable. Randori is about creating time. The most rudimentary understanding of this is creating time by trying to go faster than the attachers. But that is largely not effective, especially if a randori goes on for any length of time. So, at the higher levels, creating time is done by finding various ways to slow the attackers down.

Every one of these things is a teachable skill. This does not need to be a process of each person re-inventing the wheel. These are discrete, practicable and teachable skills. If one wishes to make training effective and efficient, so that one gets the best results from every unit of time spent on practice, then one must be aware of and target the discrete skills one wishes to master. Randori is an area in which there is often a lack of thoughtfulness leading to a lack of a conceptual basis for structuring the practice. I had a young woman attend one of our intensives who had been told by the seniors at her dojo that "randori was doing the same things you always do just faster". This is so wrong that its stunning that seeing that there are yudansha out there who believe this to be true is depressing. It would be absolutely impossible to go about training ones randori to a high level with this type of mindset.

One of the real problems with Aikido as an art is the lack of a coherent conceptual basis as to what one is trying to do and why one is trying to do it. People mimic technique done by teachers without much of any explanation of the whys and wherefores. This leads to people not even knowing what is really working and what is not. This is especially true in randori practice. As people have stated, despite that fact that virtually every style of Aikido with which I am familiar requires a multiple attacker randori on their yudansha tests, very little attention is put on this area.

We have done so at my own dojo. I would say the one place with which I am familiar that has spent as much or more effort on randori is Haruo Matsuoka Sensei's dojo. I believe they are continuing a focus which they had in their practice under Steven Segal. Anyway, Matsuoka Sensei's randori demo at the Aiki Expo was, along with Kayla Feder Sensei's, absolutely outstanding. One could see him systematically using every one of the movement principles which we have identified and teach. It was controlled and intentional, at no point did he look like he was "re-acting" to his attackers but was instead "creating" those interactions.

Here are some examples of what I think represents great randori work. The Matsuoka Sensei video has a couple elements in it which were clearly choreographed for effect but you can see that the majority of it was spontaneous. The second video was from a dan test and was completely spontaneous.

Matsuoka Sensei Randori (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=id833rjwMss)

San Dan Randori against jo, bokken,and tanto (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cs1l0BPl7Ck)

As I said, I do not think this practice is about trying to be "realistic" as in street fighting. It is a moving meditation. It requires being totally "in the moment", at no time can your mind stop, you can't get stuck on any element... if something doesn't work as intended, you have to let it go instantly and be in the next movement. These are teachable skills... you can get a kyu ranked person to internalize the movement patterns. But the ability of the person to actualize what he or she can visualize in their minds is limited by their technical proficiency. Often you can see well trained junior people who clearly "see" what they are trying to do but they still can't make it happen the way they can envision it. So, randori practice always throws one back onto ones fundamentals which is another reason I like it so much.

DH
06-25-2012, 10:55 AM
I'm not going to add anything except to say that
1. Good randori in multiple partner practice is one of the arts true strengths.
2. Bad randori..is one it's most embarrassing weaknesses.
Thankfully, because of internet and cross training critique and analysis, more and more Aikido-ka are creating excellent randori training.
Dan

Chris Parkerson
06-25-2012, 12:30 PM
Thank you Sensei for your words. I, for one, attended your seminar a few years ago in Ohio and learned many principles that translated both into moving meditation as well as into real world training. I hope to attend again.

Gassho,

Chris

lars beyer
06-25-2012, 03:38 PM
I find this a commonality as well. Its a difficult exercise to squeeze into a short class period so I think it gets glossed over a lot. It can be tricky to find enough qualified uke who don't mind revving it up some. Also, only one person can be nage at a time...hence the extra time consumption. Still, its a great equalizer. Often I've witnessed shinsa where the testing candidate displays excellent technique with his parters in one on one situations (especially predetermined uke), but start to fall apart, or at the very least display a noticeable dichotomy in skill, when it comes to randori (usually, in tests I've seen...the candidate has known uke for all requirements but whomever gets there first is uke in randori...especially when your talking 5+ person randori). It definitely is one of those things that could be practiced more. I recently had a discussion about this with my teacher.

Sometimes during practise we are taught to restrict ourselves to three particular techniques. The first 45 minutes we rehearse those three techniques and for the last 15 minutes we do randori based on those particualr techniques sometimes in groups of three or four.
Sometimes it helps to focus on various weaknesses during randori.
Lars

Chris Evans
09-07-2012, 11:12 AM
At what aikido kyu grade is randori expected? Are there other aikido terms that is similar to jiju kumite?
In Seido karate, for example, jiju kumite is at the 4th Kyu and in Kuokushin karate, jissen kumite is at the 10th Kyu or as soon as possible.

Dave de Vos
09-07-2012, 12:50 PM
At what aikido kyu grade is randori expected? Are there other aikido terms that is similar to jiju kumite?
In Seido karate, for example, jiju kumite is at the 4th Kyu and in Kuokushin karate, jissen kumite is at the 10th Kyu or as soon as possible.

In our dojo it's only part of more advanced exams (2 kyu and up I think), but it is practised (occasionally) from about 5 kyu.
There is also jiyuwaza.

Rob Watson
09-07-2012, 03:57 PM
At what aikido kyu grade is randori expected? Are there other aikido terms that is similar to jiju kumite?
In Seido karate, for example, jiju kumite is at the 4th Kyu and in Kuokushin karate, jissen kumite is at the 10th Kyu or as soon as possible.

Depends on the teacher. Everyone does randori from day one here. Even kids.

Mike Hamer
09-11-2012, 02:37 AM
It might be cool to do some randori while wearing protective gear, has anyone ever done this? It seems like it would allow the uke to really attack without fear of really hurting nage, and that by doing this, nage could learn how to deal with truly aggressive attacks. Or maybe some of you do truly attack with intent of seriously harming nage without protective gear? If you do, I would expect alot of injuries and a general lack of students willing to throw themselves in front of the train. I know this go's against tradition, but im curious....have any of you done this? And if so, what do you think about it?