Erick Mead wrote:
There is actually very complex order in chaos,...
I agree totally that there is a complex order found in chaos, it's called rhythm and the study of randori (not just doing randori or jiyu waza by rote repetition but truly understanding what the concept means, studying it, reverse engineering it and developing its various elements) assists one in discerning the elements of that rhythm and understand how to control and master it. If one has the right teacher who points out the areas that need to be focussed on then the student learns how to detect the rhythm (sensitivity) of the self, the attacks and the attackers and become part of it (meeting/blending/harmonizing), creating the opportunity to ultimately change the rhythm to one that suits Tori/Nage (resolution). In this way the student is able to seize chaos (randori) and bring about order by becoming the calm centre of the chaos itself. Anything else causes collision and friction which only adds to the conflict and increases the level of chaos instead of controlling it.
Erick Mead wrote:
With all respect, saying that we simply do jiyu waza and randori to train those chaotic aspects, severs one training environment from the other, such that there is order, and there is chaos, but not fundamentally interleaving the two in a complex mix -- which is the reality of the thing.
Well I think that at least one of M. Ueshiba's foremost students would not agree with the above. The Kata/Randor paradigm of training has been repeatedly proven to produce participants who are capable of adapting extremely well in chaos and manifesting spontaneous technique. There is an article on the Shodokan Honbu website here
that you can read. Basically it describes how a movement away from the old thinking that kata and randori are separate things can assist one in developing the spontaneous manifestation of Aiki waza. This is achieved via a deep study of kata and its fundamental elements and the gradual transition towards fully chaotic randori by the use of intermediate methods (referred to as kakari geiko and hiki tate geiko) that bridge the gap between total order and total chaos. All waza excuted in randori come from training in kata and fundamentals. Randori is used as a tool to test the integrity of one's kata and knowledge of the fundamentals. If the waza is not sound it fails under the resistance and spontaneity of randori which means that the student must return to a deeper study of kata to find out where the flaw is that caused the failure. If the failure is not in the waza but in things like reaction, sensitivity, preparatory actions etc. then it is these ares that the student needs to study. Sometimes randori can prove that the kata has a critical flaw in which case after much research the kata may be changed to be of higher integrity and not fail in randori. In this way kata influences randori which influences kata.
Alluding to Ron's post what most Aikido dojo call randori we refer to as one of the 2 mentioned above, since true randori involves a partner who is allowed to practice absolute free will in response to anything that their partner does. It in fact removes the Tori/Uke relationship and returns things to the level of 2 individuals, neither of whom have a prescribed role or function (one element of chaos) and neither of whom are obliged to fall for their partner without doing their utmost to defeat him/her. That is randori, and among 2 similarly skilled persons it can be either a stalemate of very scrappy affair since there is no pre-arranged guarantee as to who will be the one left standing or who will be taking Ukemi at the end. It comes down purely to skill in every meaning of the word.
As a result, the only time the excecution of Aiki waza looks the way they do in demos, kata training or Ueshiba M. videos is when one person is extremely more advanced than his partner or there is an artificial harmony being maintained by the setting of rules to the practice of "randori".