David Sim wrote:
Does anyone know of a good account of Tomiki's development of the randori no kata (and his system of classification of techniques in general) and an explanation of why it is how it is? either on the interweb, in a book, or (if you've got time) via the oral tradition.
Larry makes lots of good points.
If you're after more on the history side, AFAIK, the randori no kata in its current 17-hon incarntion went through a number of changes prior to shape today. I can't find Tomiki Sensei's book at the moment either, but I do have a copy of Yamada's (Senta) "The Principles and Practice of Aikido", Reading Standard Printing Co, 1966 (prefaced by Tomiki Sensei). In this book, Yamada sensei refers to 15-hon:
1) Shomen ate
2) Gyaku (gamae) ate
3) Aigamae ate
4) Oshi taoshi
5) Hiki taoshi
6) Ude gaeshi
7) Ude hineri
8) Kote hineri, junte dori (like current #11)
9) Kote hineri, junte dori (like current #13)
10) Kote hineri, gyakute dori (like an "aikikai" aigamae nikkyo)
11) Kote hineri, gyakute dori (like hiki taoshi with gyaku gamae gyakute dori kote hineri)
12) Kote gaeshi, junte dori (like current #12, focus is on gyaku gamae grip)
13) Kote gaeshi, junte dori (like current #12, focus is on aigamae grip
14) (Tenkai) Kote gaeshi (like-ish current #14, but one-handed aigamae)
15) (Tenkai) Kote gaeshi (like-ish current #15)
... as you can see, no gedan ate, ushiro ate, waki gatame or uki-waza... The layout of waza also seem to offer a slightly different flavour, eg kote gaeshi is not offered as a "counter" to a failed kote hineri, nor ude-gaeshi / oshi-taoshi.
I'm sure I was also introduced to another set at hombu, maybe an 18 or 19... I suspect this was Nariyama shihan just giving us a glimpse of old school. In fact, I'm pretty sure the number of waza grew to greater than 17 at one point because of the addition of the uki-waza to a set like that 15 above.
Oh, and at one point seoi-nage was also allowed. I personally think this would be real useful today as it would help people maintain "better" aikido maii, rather than ending up real close and looking to lever arms about.
Maybe you could also mail Peter R on this forum. He has a pretty good background with this sort of thing.
If you're really interested I'll try to remember to ask Loi Lee. She is around our neck of the woods these days and has been in the game longer than many - probably has some interesting recollections.