View Full Version : Randori Positioning

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04-25-2003, 12:02 PM
Greeting All! Just looking to get thoughts on how some of you approach Randori.
Do you
A) Stay centered in a traditional hanmi position, defend the attack and return to a rooted, hanmi stance facing the next attacker or do you
B) Move around more in a dynamic, modified hanmi stance adjusting your distance and angle, more akin to sparring?
Does the number of attackers have an impact on your approach?
Looking forward to your replies.


04-25-2003, 12:09 PM
First off, can you please define what you mean by "randori"? It has at least three definitions that are used in aikido -- the first being a "multiple person attack" exercise (also known as "taninzudori"), the second being a "freestyle" exercise with only one attacker, and the third being the "competitive" aspect of Tomiki aikido (usually done with a person attacking with a rubber tanto)...

With that said, I'd say that staying in one spot in a "rooted" position wouldn't be the way I would approach any of the above three. I'd opt more towards movement myself.

-- Jun

04-25-2003, 01:24 PM
I was thinking more along the lines of multiple person attack. Thanks for the clarification.

Also, I think 'rooted' was a poor choice of words on my part, I'm referring mainly to a centered, hanmi kamae.

04-25-2003, 01:34 PM
Thanks for the clarification.

In my mind, all stances/kamae are transitionary. To me, centeredness while stationary isn't very difficult nor very desirable in a martial situation; centeredness while moving is.

Of course the above is a lot more easily said than done!

-- Jun

04-25-2003, 05:43 PM
I'm always moving, while trying to remain centered, especially in multiple attacker. Same with everyone I've ever seen do it.

04-25-2003, 07:39 PM
I've been taught to use just two quick kokyu-nages for the whole randori.

The first technique is moving your arms around like you're steering a car, while stepping back. Your hands usually end up on their elbow areas and you "steer" towards the side you're stepping back to. If you do this throw continually, the ukes will group together.

To break them up out of a group, you use the second tehnique, which is simply sliding in with one arm out. Again, you catch the uke around the elbow area. The classical situation for this is yokomenuchi, where you jump in, catching the uke with their striking arm behind their head.

By using these two techniques, you get the ukes to group and disperse. By dispersing them, instead of in a group, you can handle the attacks one-at-a-time.

An additional way to disperse your attackers is to move around the mat. Take everyone for a tour of the four corners! You can walk backwards facing your ukes, don't turn and run. Just make sure on your tour that everyone comes along. You don't want to cross into an area of thrown ukes who can just get up and attack you again.

I know there are people who "take a stand" and do complicated throws in a sucessful randori. But I ain't one of them. I like the idea of people and technique turning into this flow of moving energy.

Dave Miller
04-26-2003, 04:16 PM
At my dojo, when we practice rondori we do multiple attackers attacking singly in succession. In this situation I work hard at staying mobile, never letting my feet get "planted" and being very light on them. That allows me to move quickly from one technique to the next depending on the tyep of attack presented to me.

As for my stance, I usually always start with a relaxed, balanced, shoulder-width stance, weight towards the balls of my feet, hands to my side or at the knot in my obi.

Ted Ehara said: I know there are people who "take a stand" and do complicated throws in a sucessful randori. But I ain't one of them. I hear ya, Ted. My main concern in rondori is to merely dispense with this attacker and move on to the next. If there's an easy, flashy technique there then I'll take it but I work for economy, not flash.

04-26-2003, 09:03 PM
We tend to move around, even going towards the next attacker as we take control of the randori rather than just wait. Soemtime we just practice the tchnique of the day, other times we freelance.

Kyri Honigh
05-01-2003, 02:10 AM
This is a nice one!Its been bugging me since the first time i saw a few blackbelt tests.When they are training they are very centered.But during the randori they panic and start to elevate themselves on their toes.this makes their technique suffer.My Sensei told me that you shouldnt change ur way because the number of attackers have changed.You should remain centered, a bit lowered to acquire this more easily and keep moving, always trying to lure them in a attack, making good use of the opponent.Its easier said than done though, cause there's the adrenaline issue :)

05-01-2003, 07:36 AM
Very interesting - I was examining Ueshiba last night trying to work out what he does. As far as I can tell the strategy is to go towards the person and raise your arms (giving you the potential to strike if necessary). Interestingly he usually rushes rapidly to the SIDE of the person. The uke usually attacks in as Ueshiba approaches, but Ueshiba is already to one side (though he will swap to the other side if uke turns to face him).

Sometimes he does not move much - but I would say the key features are:

- he almost always initiates the movement

- he almost always moves towards the attacker

- he is constantly trying to get to the side of the attacker

- the attacks are very fast and almost always Ueshiba initiates them!

- despite being told to keep outside of a circle of multiple attackers, I have not noticed this intrinsic in Ueshibas approach - possibly this is because he is so fast.

- Ueshiba blends with the attackers!

Chris, I think the two approaches you detail are both wrong and borne of the aikido being passive vs. sparring attitude. From this my ideal randori response is:

1. move towards the closest as if to strike shomen (both hands raised).

2. Move slightly off centre line as they raise their arms/strike.

3. If they are just raising their arms drive through them, if they are striking, move and blend, if they are turned to face you in your new position, utilise this motion (one possibility being to change and move to the outside).

4. THROW THEM (no pins)

5. Immediately attack the next uke.

techniques are:

ikkyo projection

kokyu nage (all variations)

yonkyo projection


sokumen irimi-nage

The difference between what you see Ueshiba do and what you see most uke's do when you say initiate the attack, is that Ueshiba seems to be able to blend instantly to the reponse to the attack, and not just try to plough through them with pre-conceived techniques.

05-01-2003, 07:49 AM
Pretty much the same as Ted Ehara. We do tend to go forward a lot though, throwing the attackers into one another etc. Keep on moving is the idea!

George S. Ledyard
05-05-2003, 07:13 AM
Randori (multiple attackers) is essentially all about "creating time". Now some people are fast enough that they create time (relatively speaking) by moving more rapidly than their attackers. This is a limited approach because it only works if you are faster than the ukes you are working with. So what really needs to happen in a randori is to slow down the attackers which is the same thing as creating time for yourself.

In an effective randori several things need to happen to "create time".

1) most (75%) of the people you touch need to take a fall; an uke that has not had to get up from the ground can be on your back again in about two seconds, one that has had to take a fall and get up again will be there in about four seconds, that's two seconds of time you have created for yourself.

2) each person you throw should normally interfere with the movement of another attacker; when you throw someone they also are a weapon you are using against one of the other attacker's, if you can get them to slow down or alter their course of attack you have "created time"

3) you must use your own movement to "create or control time"; if you move towards an attacker you will encounter him sooner, if you move away you will encounter him later; randori is often a set of these decisions in which you selectively engage the attackers one at a time while making it impossible for the other attackers to reach you at that same moment; if you try to stand your ground the ukes will reach you at the same time making it necessary to try to speed up ones own reactions. This generally is a limited solution and eventually the attackers will overwhelm the defender. There are several movement principles that get combined in a randori but that would be another discussion...