According to Tomiki sensei, aikido is a martial art with an "educational" purpose. It is a way of self discipline and avoiding conflicts. Such a training system needs a lot of safety rules, because we don't like unwanted injuries. In case of randori there are some rules to avoid injuries, using a safe "tanto" is one of those rules. In modern kendo, people are using shinai for their freeplay, and shinai has to follow some rules to gain points in a match. This will have an influence on the way of strategy. The same is in tanto randori, the rules will have an influence on the strategy. Besides tanto randori there is also toshu randori, unarmed randori. In this case we can use atemi and or locking or controlling techniques, but we have to avoid also injuries, atemi waza and kansetsu waza are used in a non-destructive manner.
To create good randori we are following a certain method to create an opportunity to apply a technique. The skill in randori is to avoid or neutralize the "tsukuri" of the opponent. This way is common knowledge in Tomiki aikido circles.
In real life we have to adopt a different way, and that's why we study kata. These kata are based upon old jujutsu or aikijutsu. But the ideas of Tomiki sensei are integrated in these kata. The purpose of atemi waza for example is not inflicting pain or damage, but it is a method to throw someone down, or to create an opening for using kansetsu waza. Kansetsu waza has also safety rules, and the goal is not to damage people, but its purpose is to control the violence of the attacker.
It was Tomiki sensei who said, randori is painting the eye of the dragon to bring him alive.
Testing our skill, we can do in 2 situations : real life situation on the street or battlefield....or on the playground of shiai with a lot of safety rules to avoid damage.
Make your choice
And a happy new year - gelukkig nieuwjaar (dutch or flemish)