In the Zen Aikido Dojo:
Aikido and Randori

Randori – when Aikido training gets flipped on its head

RandoriIn regular Aikido practice, there is always an agreement about which throw or pin to execute. And the attacking partner has agreed to make the proper ‘hole’ for that ‘peg’. In randori, there is no such agreement. In fact, the only agreement is that the attacker(s) will attack … appropriately. The founder of Aikido called this a ‘loving attack’. In a nutshell, an appropriate attack means that the attacker will:

  • Attack with speed considerate of the skill level of both partners.
  • Attack consistently and with a consistent speed (no pausing, no lurching).
  • Keep pressing the attack as long as the defender is evading.
  • Relax and allow the defender to make appropriate throws.
  • Not allow an excessive amount of predictable throws. (“First I do the left, then I do the right”.)
  • As part of a two or three attacker practice, pursue as a pack. This means keeping the defender always aware that attacks can and will occur from any attacker at any time.

Remember, the attacker is the teacher

As an attacker, your goal is for your student to show both a relaxed response and a reasonably effective throw or pin. To that end,

  • Depending on skill level, if the defender stops moving for any length of time (a bad thing), the attacker is then allowed to change the attack to the other shoulder or to add a bit of resistance feedback.
  • Again, depending on skill level if the student is not demonstrating an understanding of how to induce movement and take balance, the attacker may offer some resistance feedback.
  • Lastly, depending on skill level, if the student is not demonstrating proper control of the ‘falling body’ or the ‘fallen body’, the attacker may offer some resistance feedback.

And so, randori flips Aikido practice on its head. There is never an agreement on the throw or pin. The defender can’t simply decide a throw in advance, because the attacker is in no place to create the proper ‘hole’. In randori, holes just inevitably appear through the actions of both the attacker and the defender. And the defender is aware to insert the proper peg – execute the appropriate throw or pin.

And all of this can only happen when you know the meaning of Aikido – the meaning of true relaxation – when you can induce movement and are then able to see the ‘hole’ that’s been presented.

A Quick Reminder of the Upcoming Zen Aikido Class

Our Summer 2017 Zen Aikido Class Summer 2017 Session starts the week of May 22nd – with both noon and evening classes. You can get more information on that here. And, finally, you can subscribe to our weekly newsletter and receive notices of upcoming sessions here.

The sessions will be held at:
Both Hands Clapping Aikido / Albuquerque Judokai
670 Juan Tabo NE, Albuquerque

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