Thread: Randori
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Old 06-20-2000, 05:21 AM   #2
George S. Ledyard
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Dojo: Aikido Eastside
Location: Bellevue, WA
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 2,670
Realistic Attack in Randori

Originally posted by samurai_x
Randori or Multiple Freestyle Attacks.
Though it is unchoreographed, i think
the Uke's should attack in a more realistic manner.
I think that it is a good idea to remember that randori is a kind of "coded" version of multiple attack and is not actual fighting. The attacks are kept somewhat formailzed so that the defense can be accomplished with safety.

Saotome Sensei taught us that inside every Aikido technique is a strike that you are choosing not to do. As practice focuses increasingly on applied technique, those strikes stop being implicit and start to be explicit. But normally they are still done within an Aikido context ie. the strikes are done in a way that a partner with the requisite ukemi skills is allowed to take a fall rather than be struck with full force. This type of practice requires that both partners play the game so to speak. If I place my hand directly in my partner's face, he acknowledges the fact that it could have been a strike and takes his fall.

Depending on what type of randori you are doing (empty hand, weapons, etc.) there will be varying proportions of what I call the "not striking of striking" and more conventional throwing techniques. Generally the more striking oriented the attacks (as in a 3 person knife randori where all attacks are strikes) the more the response is required to be very direct in this form of thinly disguised impact technique.

Saotome Sensei once did a randori for a very important demonstration in Japan. It lasted a matter of seconds. He did three entering techniques which as one participant put it "one guy can't talk, one guy can't use arm, third guy sleeping". If you start to have the ukes shift to more realistic, less formailzed attacks, the nature of the response will start to become more like the randori just described. I think that those wishing to practice this way will shortly find themselves with a severe shortage of willing ukes.

I recently came across a very interesting style referred to as the "Systema" which is a Russian martial art. Mr. Vasiliyev is located in Canada and is a master of this art which I would describe as Aikido but with no set form at all. One of the films that he offers for sale on his website (all are worth having) is on multiple attackers. If you want to open up your concept of randori, get that film! He at one point does an entire randori from his back on the ground against three attackers! Anyway, their method is to be completely freestyle, the attacks can be anything. But they run the randori slower for the purpose of saftey. As there is nothing formailzed about the techniques the falls can be quite dangerous, escpecially for the knees. Also, the strikes are done in a way that everybody knwos there was a hit but they are pulled to prevent abuse of the partner. So we (as Aikidoka) can do full speed, full power randori. They are completely formless but need to tone down the application a bit for safety. (With his most advanced students the amount of toning down Mr. Vasiliyev does seems to be fairly slight) Check out for this wonderful teacher.

This area is obviously a place where you can experiment. With highly skilled ukes you can take things to a different level by changing the form of the prctice. Just remeber that what the ukes throw in comes right back out to them. Saftey is the important factor in my mind.

George S. Ledyard
Aikido Eastside
Bellevue, WA
Aikido Eastside
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