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Old 09-27-2004, 03:19 PM   #1
suren
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Mind dumbness vs activity in randori

I had hard time thinking about a title, but anyway I have to ask this.

In one of the articles http://www.aikiweb.com/spiritual/lebar1.html there are the following words:

Quote:
What is in the way of our movement when someone strikes at us and we hesitate for even a nanosecond? It is two, or a breaking up of the Universe into seer and seen.
This passage discusses some other matters, but these words made me think about ways to stop such hesitation or mind breaking.
Do you know/practice any techniques to overcome such hesitation during randori?
In my case being too relaxed and trying not to think about attacker (abstracting from what's going on) may result in a mind dumbness and late/bad responce. On the other hand worrying too much about the attacker, being too focused on what he is doing makes you more tense, moves your conciousness up from subconsious level and prevents your body to defend itself correctly - upper mind distracts with its fears, thought etc.
In other words too much abstraction brings both upper and lower minds to kind of sleep, and too much focus makes upper mind to think too much and takes control over lower mind which should be in control of the body at that moment.

How do you prevent both these situations from happening.

I admit in advance that I'm not good in describing and even understanding these mind rocket science, but I hope there are more advanced people to understand my question.

I think the same situation discussed in meditation techniques when it's necessary to keep mind relaxed, but do not allow it to fall asleep. Actually a lot of people fall asleep during meditation. How to keep mind in the state in between these 2 stages so that it's still and does not sleep?

BTW, sorry if this question is already answered, I just don't have an idea what to search...

Thanks,
Suren.
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Old 09-27-2004, 06:38 PM   #2
SeiserL
 
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Re: Mind dumbness vs activity in randori

IMHO, practice external awareness rather than internal activitiy or numbness.

Lynn Seiser PhD
Yondan Aikido & FMA/JKD
We do not rise to the level of our expectations, but fall to the level of our training. Train well. KWATZ!
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Old 09-27-2004, 06:48 PM   #3
suren
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Re: Mind dumbness vs activity in randori

Hmmm. Makes sence, but do you have any specifics on how to practice that?
Overall I think I do understand what you mean, but some more details would be very helpful.
Thanks.
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Old 09-28-2004, 08:12 AM   #4
SeiserL
 
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Re: Mind dumbness vs activity in randori

Sure, I always have ideas. Its called shadowing.

In the Dojo, move with a training partner. As they move in you move in, back, or circle. As they move out, move in back or circle. Try to move at the same pace they do. They dictate the movement, not you. Try to keep the intellectual dialog and analysis to a minimum.

Outside the Dojo, shadow someone. Sit like they sit, breath at their rate, move with their gestures. In a crowd, move at their pace, blend in. Ghosting.

Its learning to just respond, not re-act.

Does that make sense? Sometimes its hard to express what's in the head in words to be read. Its much easier to just dance than to attempt to describe the dance.

Hope that helps. IMHO, you are on the right course. Great question. Compliments and appreciation.

Lynn Seiser PhD
Yondan Aikido & FMA/JKD
We do not rise to the level of our expectations, but fall to the level of our training. Train well. KWATZ!
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Old 09-28-2004, 08:46 AM   #5
jester
 
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Re: Mind dumbness vs activity in randori

Quote:
Suren Baghdasaryan wrote:
Do you know/practice any techniques to overcome such hesitation during randori?

In my case being too relaxed and trying not to think about attacker (abstracting from what's going on) may result in a mind dumbness and late/bad response. On the other hand worrying too much about the attacker, being too focused on what he is doing makes you more tense, moves your consciousness up from subconscious level and prevents your body to defend itself correctly
The key for Randori is not worrying about getting a technique (which lets your analytical mind take a break). But by repetitive motions, your unconscious mind will remember certain scenarios (muscle memory).

I keep using the same analogy about putting your breaks on in your car when someone suddenly stops in front of you.

You don't think about it, it just happens. If your daydreaming and not aware at the time, then you will probably have a late reaction then crash, If you analyze the situation to much you will have the same results.

So you can't be daydreaming, nor can you be thinking about doing a certain technique.

I practice randori very slowly so I can feel where the motion is going. I'm on auto pilot, but very aware of my surroundings like walls chairs people etc.

Hard thing to explain, but easy to teach. As far as meditation goes, it doesn't factor in to what I am doing.

It's a lot like being a musician (the drumming thread got me thinking about this). When you play, you feel it, not think about it. Practicing lets you just do it without any thought.

hope this makes sense
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Old 09-28-2004, 10:34 AM   #6
MaryKaye
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Re: Mind dumbness vs activity in randori

I recently got to participate in a grabs-only jiyu-waza with nage's eyes closed, and I thought it was an awesome exercise for reacting to uke's actual energy rather than anticipating. When you can't see uke, you have to be able to feel them. (I had one embarrassing moment with both of my wrists held. I kept moving, shifting my weight, it seemed as though it should be working but I was stuck completely. Then it dawned on me that I thought uke was holding my wrists from behind, but he wasn't--he was in front of me. No wonder nothing worked.)

Even the people much senior to myself, who were gorgeous to behold while doing this, said that it really disrupted any attempt to "do technique" and forced them to concentrate on doing something with the specific energy uke was handing them.

It was also about as much fun as I've ever had on the mat--a really surreal experience. I'd highly recommend it.

We experimented a bit with multiple attackers, but it seemed that that would take more practice. It did lead to a funny moment when I grabbed both of nage's wrists. Nage said triumphantly "A-ha, two people!" and went to throw "us" in opposite directions, so I was squealing "No! Wait! It's just me!"

Mary Kaye
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Old 09-28-2004, 12:46 PM   #7
suren
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Re: Mind dumbness vs activity in randori

Thanks all for your answers.
Quote:
Lynn Seiser wrote:
Does that make sense? Sometimes its hard to express what's in the head in words to be read. Its much easier to just dance than to attempt to describe the dance.
Mr. Lynn, your answer makes a lot of sense. Very difficult to analyze, but I'll try. In short as I understand this is a blending and timing exercise which creates appropriate conditions for upper mind not to be worried about the attacker and at the same time be aware of the outside world. When you started blending with your partner before the actual contact upper mind is much less worried because you are already performing technique and he doesn't have to figure out "what to do")... Did I screw up the idea?
Anyway I have to practice it to really feel what's it about.

Quote:
Tim Jester wrote:
I practice randori very slowly so I can feel where the motion is going.
I'm on auto pilot, but very aware of my surroundings like walls chairs people etc.
Tim, that's the exact condition I want to reach. From your response it's not very clear what brings you there. Is slow phase randori that helps you to reach that state of mind or some other practice?
The problem with slow randori method is it gives you more time to deal with attack which may mask out the problem - your upper mind may be still working. Giving it more time to think and worry less does not solve the problem.

Mary, I think practice with closed eyes is very interesting and helpful experience, but the problem is that your mind works way too differently when you see what's happening and when you don't. In such different conditions I'm not sure if that's the best way to learn how to deal with that problem.

Excuse me my criticism and hesitation. I really appreciate your responses and my comments can be completely wrong.
I have to practice all of them before expressing any ideas, so please give me some time to try. And thank you for your responses.

Last edited by suren : 09-28-2004 at 12:53 PM.
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Old 09-28-2004, 02:10 PM   #8
Bronson
 
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Re: Mind dumbness vs activity in randori

Quote:
Tim Jester wrote:
If your daydreaming and not aware at the time, then you will probably have a late reaction then crash, If you analyze the situation to much you will have the same results.
Taken out of context and emphasis is mine

Bronson

"A pacifist is not really a pacifist if he is unable to make a choice between violence and non-violence. A true pacifist is able to kill or maim in the blink of an eye, but at the moment of impending destruction of the enemy he chooses non-violence."
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Old 09-28-2004, 02:21 PM   #9
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Re: Mind dumbness vs activity in randori

Quote:
Suren Baghdasaryan wrote:
Tim, that's the exact condition I want to reach. From your response it's not very clear what brings you there. Is slow phase randori that helps you to reach that state of mind or some other practice?
The problem with slow randori method is it gives you more time to deal with attack which may mask out the problem - your upper mind may be still working. Giving it more time to think and worry less does not solve the problem.
First, what brings you there is practice. I try to do randori every class. Think of doing scales on a guitar. You start out slow, and practice slowly and eventually you will be able to do it subconsciously very fast. You learn all of the subtleties when you go slow.

One thing to remember by going slow is that you and your partner cannot speed up, and you have to follow the laws of physics. That is to say that if your momentum is going forward, you must continue it as if you were going full speed.
You don't really have any more or any less time to deal with an attack.

Think of it like a slow motion video. The time from point A to point B is relatively the same whether your in slow motion, fast forward or at regular speed.

You can't really think about what's happening, you just move and things will occur. You don't try to do a wrist lock, the other person will walk right into it.

hope this is clear!!
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Old 09-28-2004, 03:38 PM   #10
suren
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Re: Mind dumbness vs activity in randori

Quote:
Tim Jester wrote:
First, what brings you there is practice.
I agree, but "practice" is a very wide term
I agree that techniques should be learned so good that they are performed without "thinking" (muscule memory as you mentioned). That will remove the tension from body and mind when you are performing the technique.
But my understanding of repsonding to attack is:
1. Choosing which technique to respond with.
2. Performing the technique.

My question is more about the first part of this process and I'm not sure if muscle memory is involved in the "choosing which technique to respond with". How to choose between different responces to the attack? Who choses the technique your respond with? How to practice that correct responce?

Quote:
Tim Jester wrote:
I try to do randori every class. Think of doing scales on a guitar. You start out slow, and practice slowly and eventually you will be able to do it subconsciously very fast. You learn all of the subtleties when you go slow.
That's right, you will be able to play really fast, but will that help you to improvise? To me randori and improvisation are standing very close. In both cases you should not think what to do next.

Too many question I guess
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Old 09-28-2004, 04:41 PM   #11
suren
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Re: Mind dumbness vs activity in randori

Ok, after some thinking I may be able to answer some of my own questions.
You do not choose how to respond to an attack. Attacker does. The only thing you have to do is to have a good connection to your partner. If you are connected before attack even started, you do not have to choose between different techniques, you already in the phase 2 which is - performing a technique and here you can rely on your experience and your "muscle memory". Therefore the response consists of:
1. Connection
2. Technique
and this does not involve any thinking.
I think the purpose of Lynn sensei's exercise is to teach how to connect with your partner. So "external awareness" means connection?
Ok, this puzzle starts to make sense to me. The only my concern with this picture - there is no place for subconsciousness. And I "subconsciously" feel that it should be there...

Ok, enough thinking for today.
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Old 09-28-2004, 04:46 PM   #12
suren
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Re: Mind dumbness vs activity in randori

Oops... Muscle memory is subconsciousness
Ok, never mind.
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Old 09-28-2004, 04:53 PM   #13
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Re: Mind dumbness vs activity in randori

It's great that you're beginning to see theoretically how you can become better. I think, at the beginning, though, you were looking for something more practical.

I really like very much the idea of practicing Jiyu Waza (holding only) with the eyes closed, as it will begin to open your inner eyes and heighten your awareness of ki that is all around us.

In randori, I'm always thinking "okay, what move should I do next?" Bad idea, because I'm thinking about myself instead of the attackers.

So here's the important part:

I think that, when beginning Randori, you should choose a technique. One. Do it over and over and over again. That way, you don't have to think about which technique you're going to do. As your awareness increases, you'll be able to begin to see where certain throws are more useful, not with your mind, but with your body and spirit.

That's the theory anyway. I'm just making this stuff up, really.

So I do a round of Randori with nothing but Shihonage. Then one with Iriminage, etc, until I know that I could counter with that throw every time. I still haven't mastered the spontaneity, but that's why I'm still a kyu.

Last edited by Yokaze : 09-28-2004 at 04:55 PM.
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Old 09-29-2004, 07:56 AM   #14
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Re: Mind dumbness vs activity in randori

Hey Suren, I think you've got it!

If you ever get a chance, go watch a traditional Judo class, and see how they do randori.
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Old 09-29-2004, 11:10 AM   #15
suren
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Re: Mind dumbness vs activity in randori

ok, I'll see if I have a chance.
Don't they start when they are already connected (physically)? If so I think it's more challenging to connect while your partner is not physically connected to you. For example when nage performs a strike. Do they practice defence against strikes?
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Old 09-29-2004, 12:53 PM   #16
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Re: Mind dumbness vs activity in randori

This is a good description I found on the internet written by Ted Fehlhaber

In modern Judo training, randori often means stand up throwing practice with both partners trying to throw each other. It is limited to Judo rules: no strikes, joint locks other than the elbow, nerve techniques and only certain throwing techniques. Ideally it should be a training and learning exercise, but often escalates into shiai or competition when both people are "going for blood". This takes the play and the learning element out of the exercise and prevents students from trying new techniques which have a high probability of failure.
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Old 09-29-2004, 01:29 PM   #17
suren
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Re: Mind dumbness vs activity in randori

I see. Well in any case it should be interesting. Thanks.
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