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Old 06-18-2012, 06:06 PM   #51
Chris Parkerson
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Re: Randori...we don't do enough of it

Graham,

I am beginning to understand your use of these words a bit. Symbols and allegories are good tools for parallel realities.

I hold maii in many ways. I try to be counted of all men, yet none too much (Rudyard Kipling)
I try not to let emotion manage my words or actions (including fighting). Thus, maii is present there as well.
I sincerely hope for the best outcome in all encounters but am attached to no specific outcome. Thus I buy bewilderment through surrender to the greater forces of the universe. This too is maii.
I have no compunctions about doing anything that is required in the moment. I try to allow my inner voice to understand a gestalt and to present my actions rather than allowing the voices of others (groups, social conventions or laws) to muddle the clarity of my inner voice. That voice is the prophet within me coming out like a lion. That, too, is maii.
I work on not worrying about what happens to me when I act. I have surrendered to the greater good through meditations on impermanence and death. That, too is maii.
I trust that the love and compassion I have generated in my life will inform me of how to provide liberation to all. That is not a dogma, but an experience of grace. That too is maii.

Now, for point 3, I offer you an experiment.

Take a plum bob and place it on your chest. Let the weight show you where your center is located between your feet. (This is just a model, so please do not get side tracked about a center having more than 2 dimensions or the weight or mass of the center).

Double weight yourself as 50% 50% on each foot. Then decide to move. notice that the plum bob must move towards one foot before the other can take a step. This may be a slight move, but it is a move, nonetheless.

If you can remove that slight move of the plum bob, you have become more efficient and quicker in your footwork.

The traditional way this is done is through using 90% - 10% or 70% - 30% weight distributions in your stances.

A single weighted foot can sink and pivot from the bottom of the foot, using the whole leg as its leverage and torque. It is, in essence, already in motion and can move in at least 270 degrees into its next posture by using the one leg as a pivot point.

In a double weighted stance the two legs oppose each other, coming together at the pelvic girdle, much like a triangle. To move a foot, one must uproot his center some in order to step-drag or drag-step into a new posture. Much of the pivoting is done at lumbar 4 and 5 in the lower back. This is a weak area and has shorter leverage than pivoting on one leg. Power is lost. Much of the softness people see in my technique is not weak. It has long leverage working for it. Uke is forced to move because I am using a long fulcrum. Less muscle is needed.

If you move from the bottom of your single weighted foot, you are naturally sensing through the hara. If you move from the lumbar area during a pivot, the upper body becomes engaged. Energy rises and the eyes and brain are engaged.

I have tried to do double weighted stance with hara guiding the action. My experience is that, while someone may prove me wrong, Why should it matter. my hara engages naturally when I am single weighted. So I help others to do the same and they also experience the same results.

A final thing occurs. If you are upper body, it is hard to read the uke from your finger tips. If you are single weighted, the upper body has not engaged with muscle or force, thus you can read uke like a good masseur would.

Thanks for the question,

Chris

Last edited by Chris Parkerson : 06-18-2012 at 06:09 PM.
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Old 06-18-2012, 06:56 PM   #52
graham christian
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Re: Randori...we don't do enough of it

Quote:
Chris Parkerson wrote: View Post
Graham,

I am beginning to understand your use of these words a bit. Symbols and allegories are good tools for parallel realities.

I hold maii in many ways. I try to be counted of all men, yet none too much (Rudyard Kipling)
I try not to let emotion manage my words or actions (including fighting). Thus, maii is present there as well.
I sincerely hope for the best outcome in all encounters but am attached to no specific outcome. Thus I buy bewilderment through surrender to the greater forces of the universe. This too is maii.
I have no compunctions about doing anything that is required in the moment. I try to allow my inner voice to understand a gestalt and to present my actions rather than allowing the voices of others (groups, social conventions or laws) to muddle the clarity of my inner voice. That voice is the prophet within me coming out like a lion. That, too, is maii.
I work on not worrying about what happens to me when I act. I have surrendered to the greater good through meditations on impermanence and death. That, too is maii.
I trust that the love and compassion I have generated in my life will inform me of how to provide liberation to all. That is not a dogma, but an experience of grace. That too is maii.

Now, for point 3, I offer you an experiment.

Take a plum bob and place it on your chest. Let the weight show you where your center is located between your feet. (This is just a model, so please do not get side tracked about a center having more than 2 dimensions or the weight or mass of the center).

Double weight yourself as 50% 50% on each foot. Then decide to move. notice that the plum bob must move towards one foot before the other can take a step. This may be a slight move, but it is a move, nonetheless.

If you can remove that slight move of the plum bob, you have become more efficient and quicker in your footwork.

The traditional way this is done is through using 90% - 10% or 70% - 30% weight distributions in your stances.

A single weighted foot can sink and pivot from the bottom of the foot, using the whole leg as its leverage and torque. It is, in essence, already in motion and can move in at least 270 degrees into its next posture by using the one leg as a pivot point.

In a double weighted stance the two legs oppose each other, coming together at the pelvic girdle, much like a triangle. To move a foot, one must uproot his center some in order to step-drag or drag-step into a new posture. Much of the pivoting is done at lumbar 4 and 5 in the lower back. This is a weak area and has shorter leverage than pivoting on one leg. Power is lost. Much of the softness people see in my technique is not weak. It has long leverage working for it. Uke is forced to move because I am using a long fulcrum. Less muscle is needed.

If you move from the bottom of your single weighted foot, you are naturally sensing through the hara. If you move from the lumbar area during a pivot, the upper body becomes engaged. Energy rises and the eyes and brain are engaged.

I have tried to do double weighted stance with hara guiding the action. My experience is that, while someone may prove me wrong, Why should it matter. my hara engages naturally when I am single weighted. So I help others to do the same and they also experience the same results.

A final thing occurs. If you are upper body, it is hard to read the uke from your finger tips. If you are single weighted, the upper body has not engaged with muscle or force, thus you can read uke like a good masseur would.

Thanks for the question,

Chris
Thank you for the answer. I agree with all the ma-ai illustrations.

The method of efficient movement is interesting. I personally don't find that necessary but see how it is so.

Personally I have found that through much continuous taisabaki and tenkan, in fact I have them both within one continuous drill, I end up not relying on weight distribution through legs to move and move from centre freely.

More interesting though was your explanation of the triangle formed which brings about the point in the lumber spine region, you say as 4 and 5. I teach differently and so show another way of moving efficiently.

When talking centre it's as if your legs become light and feet 'float' across the mat.

However, when talking Koshi, (that would mean with weight downwards, heavy) then the point of movement, of rotation, of power, becomes the koshi which physically is the base of the spine, back of the hips. It actually becomes a relaxed point and an opening. The movements then become more like 'skating' smooth, no up and down. Moving from koshi and moving from centre, neither use upper body.

I can give you a reference for the explanation of koshi physiologically if you wish.

Peace.G.
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Old 06-18-2012, 07:16 PM   #53
Chris Parkerson
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Re: Randori...we don't do enough of it

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Graham Christian wrote: View Post
However, when talking Koshi, (that would mean with weight downwards, heavy) then the point of movement, of rotation, of power, becomes the koshi which physically is the base of the spine, back of the hips. It actually becomes a relaxed point and an opening. The movements then become more like 'skating' smooth, no up and down. Moving from koshi and moving from centre, neither use upper body.

I can give you a reference for the explanation of koshi physiologically if you wish.

Peace.G.
Aikido folks eventually get the sliding movement as a "sinking" over time. But in the beginning, folks tend to push from the rear foot. Any pushing from the rear foot to make a step raises the center a little bit. Think of a rear wheel drive auto. The front wants to rise when it accelerates.

Now think of a front wheel drive auto. The mass sinks rather than raises.

gassho,

Chris
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Old 06-18-2012, 07:27 PM   #54
graham christian
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Re: Randori...we don't do enough of it

Quote:
Chris Parkerson wrote: View Post
Aikido folks eventually get the sliding movement as a "sinking" over time. But in the beginning, folks tend to push from the rear foot. Any pushing from the rear foot to make a step raises the center a little bit. Think of a rear wheel drive auto. The front wants to rise when it accelerates.

Now think of a front wheel drive auto. The mass sinks rather than raises.

gassho,

Chris
Yes they may eventually. In the beginning folks tend to do many things.

If you look up the following on google I'm sure you will find it interesting: Koshi balancing-a method.

Peace.G.
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Old 06-18-2012, 07:39 PM   #55
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Re: Randori...we don't do enough of it

Sry delete post.
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Old 06-18-2012, 08:47 PM   #56
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Re: Randori...we don't do enough of it

Quote:
Peter Rehse wrote: View Post
This really begs the question.

How important do you see randori training in the context of over-all Aikido?

I've posted a lot about my opinion but before I do it again I am really interested in general opinions.
Hi Peter,
I really like your description of handling the chaos in randori. Not that I ever thought I was much good at it, but one of the most vivid impressions I've ever had in my still brief training in Aikido was when you paired me up with Omonishi sensei and half way through, he kindly tried to remind me: "randori." I was trying; he was just too fast and precise...or put another way, I was simply too slow and sloppy. It gave me a palpable sense of the gap between our abilities...something more visceral than the simple idea that he was further along than me. The lesser degrees of resistance then gave me something to work with in terms of developing a more assertive expression of different waza.
From my meager point of view, I think one of the great assets of the Shodokan method is the structure of its training and particularly its graduated approach to resistance in randori. It also reinforced in my mind the difference between "competition" and "cooperative" resistance.
So to answer the question, I think in the grand scheme of things, randori is crucial to understanding real-time application.
While I'm thinking about it: thank you for that!
Take care,
Matt

Gambarimashyo!
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Old 06-18-2012, 09:08 PM   #57
phitruong
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Re: Randori...we don't do enough of it

Quote:
Chris Parkerson wrote: View Post
Finally, a riding crop. It whips so fast, range must be completely instinctive. This prepares a person to fight on a dark wet night and not overly rely on vision. The crop's whipping sound gives you r ge for maii.

Party on

Chris
Chris, we need to talk about your practice. first it was erotic weapons, then graduated to using riding crop? soon it's going to be S&M bondage and chain and goth and so on. personally, i am starting to worry about you. i think you are taking the whole idea "aikido is all about love" a bit too far. isn't cross dressing enough as it is?

"budo is putting on cold, wet, sweat stained gi with a smile and a snarl" - your truly
http://charlotteaikikai.org
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Old 06-18-2012, 09:11 PM   #58
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Re: Randori...we don't do enough of it

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Greg Maroda wrote: View Post
Actually, I think we don't do it all that frequently. Just when someone is ramping up for a test. Then there's lots.

I wouldn't mind some more in the times we're normally focusing on other things, just to keep the skill levels up.

But then, I can never get enough randori.
You should really come to class more often....You don't know what you have been missing.
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Old 06-18-2012, 09:11 PM   #59
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Re: Randori...we don't do enough of it

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Matthew Gano wrote: View Post
Hi Peter,
I really like your description of handling the chaos in randori.
Matt
most folks try to bring order to the chaos which is a wrong thing to do, because chaos always win, since it's better organized.

"budo is putting on cold, wet, sweat stained gi with a smile and a snarl" - your truly
http://charlotteaikikai.org
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Old 06-18-2012, 10:45 PM   #60
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Re: Randori...we don't do enough of it

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Phi Truong wrote: View Post
most folks try to bring order to the chaos which is a wrong thing to do, because chaos always win, since it's better organized.
- trying to control the uncontrollable - always a mistake.

Trying to use chaos to your advantage - that is the sweet spot.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 06-18-2012, 10:55 PM   #61
Chris Parkerson
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Re: Randori...we don't do enough of it

Quote:
Phi Truong wrote: View Post
Chris, we need to talk about your practice. first it was erotic weapons, then graduated to using riding crop? soon it's going to be S&M bondage and chain and goth and so on. personally, i am starting to worry about you. i think you are taking the whole idea "aikido is all about love" a bit too far. isn't cross dressing enough as it is?
Phi,
My practice is geared for the needs of people protection - my job. So, I thought you of all people would appreciate this. Three weeks ago at the Black and White Ball (San Francisco Symphony Benefit where 3,000 people donate and great music was enjoyed by all).

Click image for larger version

Name:	BW Ball.GIF
Views:	28
Size:	51.9 KB
ID:	1024

Party on, Dude

Chris
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Old 06-18-2012, 11:02 PM   #62
PeterR
 
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Re: Randori...we don't do enough of it

Well you and me both. I still remember the judo chop across the throat when he thought I wasn't paying enough attention. He was team captain of one of the strongest competitive teams in Japan and when you saw young Araki take student championships several years running and then placing 3rd in London last year you know who was responsible for that. He had a talent for keeping a clear head and teaching others to do the same.

When I was talking about randori in the past few posts I really meant the Aikikai variety. One on one is significantly less chaotic then against multiple opponents. It seems in that situation the best thing to do is to use bodies to block other bodies rather than go for controlling techniques. A very different emphasis than the Shodokan variety.

Quote:
Matthew Gano wrote: View Post
Hi Peter,
I really like your description of handling the chaos in randori. Not that I ever thought I was much good at it, but one of the most vivid impressions I've ever had in my still brief training in Aikido was when you paired me up with Omonishi sensei and half way through, he kindly tried to remind me: "randori." I was trying; he was just too fast and precise...or put another way, I was simply too slow and sloppy. It gave me a palpable sense of the gap between our abilities...something more visceral than the simple idea that he was further along than me. The lesser degrees of resistance then gave me something to work with in terms of developing a more assertive expression of different waza.
From my meager point of view, I think one of the great assets of the Shodokan method is the structure of its training and particularly its graduated approach to resistance in randori. It also reinforced in my mind the difference between "competition" and "cooperative" resistance.
So to answer the question, I think in the grand scheme of things, randori is crucial to understanding real-time application.
While I'm thinking about it: thank you for that!
Take care,
Matt

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 06-18-2012, 11:59 PM   #63
Chris Parkerson
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Re: Randori...we don't do enough of it

Quote:
Peter Rehse wrote: View Post
- trying to control the uncontrollable - always a mistake.

Trying to use chaos to your advantage - that is the sweet spot.
How to interact with Chaos? Ahhhhhhhhh
One sign wave at a time.

; )

Chris
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Old 06-19-2012, 12:41 AM   #64
mathewjgano
 
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Re: Randori...we don't do enough of it

Quote:
Peter Rehse wrote: View Post
When I was talking about randori in the past few posts I really meant the Aikikai variety. One on one is significantly less chaotic then against multiple opponents. It seems in that situation the best thing to do is to use bodies to block other bodies rather than go for controlling techniques. A very different emphasis than the Shodokan variety.
But there was already so much chaos with just one person! Ack!

Gambarimashyo!
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Old 06-19-2012, 02:40 AM   #65
ewolput
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Re: Randori...we don't do enough of it

Quote:
Peter Rehse wrote: View Post
He was team captain of one of the strongest competitive teams in Japan and when you saw young Araki take student championships several years running and then placing 3rd in London last year you know who was responsible for that. He had a talent for keeping a clear head and teaching others to do the same.

.
Peter,
mmm mmm the strongest team, now you are striking me under the belt........

Eddy
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Old 06-19-2012, 02:43 AM   #66
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Re: Randori...we don't do enough of it

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Peter,
mmm mmm the strongest team, now you are striking me under the belt........

Eddy
sorry misreaded, "one" of the strongest
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Old 06-19-2012, 04:10 AM   #67
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Re: Randori...we don't do enough of it

Quote:
Eddy Wolput wrote: View Post
sorry misreaded, "one" of the strongest
Your team is also not in Japan

These are university students and as I am sure you are aware some produce ranked players more consistently than others. Waseda and Kinki Daigaku come to mind. Omonish was from the latter - I understood some of these guys would train seven hours a day every day - one wonders how he got through university. I digress. These guys also do very well in kata.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 06-19-2012, 04:36 AM   #68
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Re: Randori...we don't do enough of it

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But there was already so much chaos with just one person! Ack!
Peter will be kind and not have fun with that.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 06-19-2012, 10:30 AM   #69
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Re: Randori...we don't do enough of it

Quote:
Peter Rehse wrote: View Post
Peter will be kind and not have fun with that.
For some reason I just had a flashback of you with a wicked grin applying sankyo....hmmm...
Good times!

Gambarimashyo!
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Old 06-23-2012, 09:38 AM   #70
Chris Parkerson
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Re: Randori...we don't do enough of it

Here is Randori Eskrima style. Eskrima essentially means scrimmage.
The reward is equal to the sacrifice. The more realistic you can make it, the more warrioship (Budo) will emerge.

If you think that this looks like a controlled form of gang beat down, just understand, these guys come from the rough streets of Central California. In Bahala Na (Leo Giron's style of Eskrima/Arnis), he is emphatic that Bahala Na is not a stick art. It is a blade art where sticks are used to keep it safe.

Giron taught that peace is not the absence of violence, but the efficient mitigation of violence. He also taught, "unsheath (your blade) only with good reason and resheat it only with honor." Thus, the attackers are respecting the man in the middle with clean, controlled attacks.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rac81...e_gdata_player

Party on

Chris

Last edited by Chris Parkerson : 06-23-2012 at 09:42 AM.
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Old 06-23-2012, 03:13 PM   #71
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Re: Randori...we don't do enough of it

Chris, what I saw in the video, to me, isn't randori. It's a serial drill with attackers coming one at a time doing pretty much the same type of attacks... it's a great training drill for sure.

What I mean by randori is an attack (that isn't programmed or agreed upon in advance) to achieve total affect and control over the other person with a response from the attackee that works (takes total control over the attacker such that they can't continue) and if that doesn't happen the attacker continues to attack until they achieve control. In real randori, this shouldn't last more than two or possibly three cycles. Higher level skill, it shouldn't go past the first attack. It doesn't matter if we're going slow, medium, or fast, this is the goal. Now, there are many, many ways to do something similar that are drills meant to practice certain skills, etc. But randori should be as close as possible to a real encounter. At high levels, multiple attackers work well, we don't do much of it because the techniques that really work against multiple aggressors are short, sweet, and very nasty. You don't have time to mess around. Doing attacks one at a time by multiple people isn't the same thing. Going fast in randori is dangerous and only for high level people with very good ukemi. When we go slow the same things happen but in slow motion. I learned to go slow from a real expert at doing real human movement slowly in Paris in the late sixties. Maitre Marcel Marceau was a really good budoka.

Our higher level people can practice the junana hon kata as fast as possible with closed fist boxing style jabs, etc. to the face. It's pretty exciting to watch (and take part in...). This can only be done because of slow training in kata and then randori for a good number of years leading up to full speed.

I have seen kali and escrima in the Philippines and here in the states done at high speed doing what I call randori. However, only by extremely skillful high level practitioners and only for a short time ended by small, sort of evil smiles on their face. Similar stuff can be seen by very high level people in many arts in my experience.

Chuck Clark
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Old 06-23-2012, 03:48 PM   #72
Chris Parkerson
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Re: Randori...we don't do enough of it

Thank you Chuck for your refinement of the definition of Randori. This video was the taped end of a belt test. Mass Attack where the testee only defends. It's purpose is to Broaden one's focus and tactical response using 5 angles (cincotero) of attack while imposing a level of chaos through the implementation of multiple attackers. Cincotero defined by Leo Giron:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mNSFC...e_gdata_player

In my additions to this thread, I was challenging folks to get creative in doing Randori. The use of multiple attackers, traditional weapons and exotic weapons. But I know that not all readers are doing Randori for the main goal of "self defense".

For the one's that are, i offered this model. Much like the Kenpo Mass Attack testing,
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IwHvu...e_gdata_player

It assumes "Monkey in the Middle" and allows someone a problem and pace that they can be challenged by. Steve Elder, in the video above is trained in Kenpo, judo, aikido and jujitsu. Still, he get's stuck in the feeding drill above. We have used these tools to test what our body memory has acquired, rather than our brain memory.

Two questions:

1. Can such experiences be added to Randori, not for the expert Shihan, but as a training tool to acquire "eye of the tiger" and survival skills?

2. Is such training of value in your opinion?

Respectfully,

Chris

Perhaps

Last edited by Chris Parkerson : 06-23-2012 at 03:50 PM.
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Old 06-23-2012, 06:16 PM   #73
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Re: Randori...we don't do enough of it

Chris, I think if the understanding of what randori is, a two person representation of an encounter that allows us to train relatively realistic exchanges that are like a laboratory for experimentation... then we can construct almost any kind of scenario that is workable. In my experience working with police and security training the trainees pick up lots of practical "what if" experience. As they get more experience you up the speed an then add two on one, etc. I should add that with the less experienced groups there should be very close supervision because folks tend to get carried away.

Chuck Clark
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Old 06-23-2012, 08:55 PM   #74
Chris Parkerson
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Re: Randori...we don't do enough of it

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Chuck Clark wrote: View Post
Chris, I think if the understanding of what randori is, a two person representation of an encounter that allows us to train relatively realistic exchanges that are like a laboratory for experimentation... then we can construct almost any kind of scenario that is workable. In my experience working with police and security training the trainees pick up lots of practical "what if" experience. As they get more experience you up the speed an then add two on one, etc. I should add that with the less experienced groups there should be very close supervision because folks tend to get carried away.
Thanks Chuck,

For your input. It was very informative. I have also reformulated my query in a non-aikido portion of the Aikiweb.

Gassho,

Chris
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Old 06-25-2012, 11:49 AM   #75
George S. Ledyard
 
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Re: Randori...we don't do enough of it

It's clear from reading this that there is little agreement about what randori is much less how to go about training the skills. Discussions range as far as concerns for making randori less conventional, more like real self defense.

When I talk about randori I am talking about multiple attacker practice. The way I was taught single partner free style application was jiyu waza. Randori for me is the practice of Aikido waza applied in a multiple attacker situation with the attackers using conventional attacks (the standard stylized strikes and grabs of the Aikido repertoire). Aikido randori in the sense of what I am talking about is a stylized practice. It is not intended to be some sort of street self defense application (any more than regular one on one practice is about street fighting).

Talking about randori from the standpoint of non-traditional weapons, trying to make the attackers behave in a more "realistic" fashion, is perhaps an interesting practice but I do not consider this to be what is normally meant by Aikido randori.

Asking the attackers in an Aikido randori to act in a more "realistic" fashion changes the whole practice. I used to teach multiple attacker defense to police and security personnel. It did not look anything like an Aikido randori. It was based on fairly close quarters attacks by two or three attackers. The first person you touched you did your level best to disable with your first strike, you smashed him into the next closest attacker, smashing his head in the face of the next attacker if possible, Each person you touch needs to act as your defense against the next attacker. It requires total commitment and maximum use of the force available to you. Anything less than that in a real street multiple attacker encounter against committed attackers is likely to result in your death or a trip to the emergency room. I do not see this as Aikido. It is something else.

I think that Aikido randori is a form of "moving meditation". It can be full speed, full power but sticks to conventional attacks. It can and does include weapons... bokken, jo, bokken but once again, it is not intended as some sort of "realistic" practice. Three attackers with weapons, especially edged weapons, is going to be your death. Unlike that great fight scene in the Last Samurai, three attackers with swords or knives do not need or want to commit to an attack. They simply close in on your until there's no more space and carve you up. If you want to talk about "realistic" defense against multiple attackers with weapons, the only system I have seen that I think is very useful as normally practiced is the Russian Systema. But that is quite a different practice and while it might represent application of various principles if "aiki", it is not Aikido, in my opinion.

I also strenuously disagree with the idea that the way to get get at randori is simply to do lots of them. This is just a repeat of that old idea which says just do it a lot and you'll figure it out eventually. This might work for exceptionally talented individuals who are capable of being their own teachers but it is a very slow and inefficient way to transmit a set of skills. I have been holding multi day randori intensives for over twenty years. We have done thousands of randoris at this point. Every combination of grabbing randoris, empty hand randoris, knife, sword, and mixed weapons randoris you can think of while staying within the traditional Aikido paradigm.

There are patterns that recur over and over. You can see how certain types of movements produce fairly predictable reactions on the part of the attackers. This allows you to go from a reactive mindset to a mindset in which you shape the randori and take what is seemingly chaotic and unpredictable and make things increasingly probable. Randori is about creating time. The most rudimentary understanding of this is creating time by trying to go faster than the attachers. But that is largely not effective, especially if a randori goes on for any length of time. So, at the higher levels, creating time is done by finding various ways to slow the attackers down.

Every one of these things is a teachable skill. This does not need to be a process of each person re-inventing the wheel. These are discrete, practicable and teachable skills. If one wishes to make training effective and efficient, so that one gets the best results from every unit of time spent on practice, then one must be aware of and target the discrete skills one wishes to master. Randori is an area in which there is often a lack of thoughtfulness leading to a lack of a conceptual basis for structuring the practice. I had a young woman attend one of our intensives who had been told by the seniors at her dojo that "randori was doing the same things you always do just faster". This is so wrong that its stunning that seeing that there are yudansha out there who believe this to be true is depressing. It would be absolutely impossible to go about training ones randori to a high level with this type of mindset.

One of the real problems with Aikido as an art is the lack of a coherent conceptual basis as to what one is trying to do and why one is trying to do it. People mimic technique done by teachers without much of any explanation of the whys and wherefores. This leads to people not even knowing what is really working and what is not. This is especially true in randori practice. As people have stated, despite that fact that virtually every style of Aikido with which I am familiar requires a multiple attacker randori on their yudansha tests, very little attention is put on this area.

We have done so at my own dojo. I would say the one place with which I am familiar that has spent as much or more effort on randori is Haruo Matsuoka Sensei's dojo. I believe they are continuing a focus which they had in their practice under Steven Segal. Anyway, Matsuoka Sensei's randori demo at the Aiki Expo was, along with Kayla Feder Sensei's, absolutely outstanding. One could see him systematically using every one of the movement principles which we have identified and teach. It was controlled and intentional, at no point did he look like he was "re-acting" to his attackers but was instead "creating" those interactions.

Here are some examples of what I think represents great randori work. The Matsuoka Sensei video has a couple elements in it which were clearly choreographed for effect but you can see that the majority of it was spontaneous. The second video was from a dan test and was completely spontaneous.

Matsuoka Sensei Randori

San Dan Randori against jo, bokken,and tanto
As I said, I do not think this practice is about trying to be "realistic" as in street fighting. It is a moving meditation. It requires being totally "in the moment", at no time can your mind stop, you can't get stuck on any element... if something doesn't work as intended, you have to let it go instantly and be in the next movement. These are teachable skills... you can get a kyu ranked person to internalize the movement patterns. But the ability of the person to actualize what he or she can visualize in their minds is limited by their technical proficiency. Often you can see well trained junior people who clearly "see" what they are trying to do but they still can't make it happen the way they can envision it. So, randori practice always throws one back onto ones fundamentals which is another reason I like it so much.

Last edited by George S. Ledyard : 06-25-2012 at 11:57 AM.

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