Wednesday, December 15, 2021

Randori in the Dojo

Are you a martial artist?

How should you be studying randori?

“In time of practice, without distraction, Light in heart and light in limb, let us endeavor with full attention, to concentrate our mind within.”

-- Excerpt from The Song of Judo by Mifune Kyuzo Sensei, Kodokan judo judan 

The characters that compose the word dojo literally mean "the place for finding the way." So despite its militaristic influence, the martial arts dojo is above all an educational institution. The motivation for training the martial arts is different for every person, but essentially, the entire dojo population — both student and sensei — are there to learn. This holds predominately true in the practice of randori. Never forget it! 

Martial artists practicing judo | custom martial arts certificates

Though every person in the dojo should participate in free practice with the intention of winning, they must do so under the pretext of study. Dojo randori is a time to explore safely in the company of trustworthy peers. Because taking a fall or a hit in the dojo is no ruinous defeat, one should make good use of the opportunity to test and chart unfamiliar territory. Clinging to a habitual technique merely narrows the perspective and encourages tunnel vision in the training process: Instead, one should experiment with alternative tactics, play outside the comfort zone, and remain unperturbed if a ploy is unsuccessful. The tai chi chuan adage, "Invest in loss," rules high here, and correlates with the Western anecdote of Thomas Edison whose light bulb failed 1000 times before it functioned properly. 

Most importantly, the martial arts student should follow Mifune Sensei's advice, and engage in practice "light in heart and light in limb." The dojo is not the place to show dominance over fellow students. It is not the place lose one’s temper. This by no means implies slow, low energy practice, but only a clear mind and a relaxed body will maximize the potential to learn.

Learn more about randori!

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