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Judo Ron 63-Randori, An Educational Wizard

Judo Ron 63-Randori, An Educational Wizard

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Published by: Ronald on Nov 07, 2012
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Judo Ron 63- RANDORI an Educational Wizard
In my last discussion (judo-Ron 62)
I reviewed the role of the coaches and mentors and how youcan optimize your judo with their assistance. In this current essay, I shall approach the commonform of Randori with the view to abstract the possibilities to better share the knowledge and thetechnique gained by it as you pursue your quest towards judo excellence.In September 2011, the American coach
Neil Ohlenkamp
expressed the importance of Randoritraining as follow: “
The mat is a place to create opportunities and see possibilities, facing and overcoming one's limitations. Randori (free practice) is the primary method of learning the many lessons of Judo.” 
I identified the Randori as one of the most important activity through which both knowledgeand skills are exchanged amongst friends, judoka and with other dojo members. You are likely toencounter various forms of Randori practiced in dojo. There are: the free practices where bothplayers do their best to score; the activity of role playing where one plays the offense and theother, the defense; a period where no counters are formulated; a moment where emphasis isplaced on developing Tokui waza and the exercise involving alternate throwing moments.
Dojo Culture
Past experience has demonstrated that in most dojo, the transfer of knowledge and skills duringthe training period is mostly viewed as an activity between the teacher and the student and thatknowledge sharing amongst peers is not a common practice. Responding to local demands,many clubs instructors will not be able to adequately work on individual performanceenhancements. The sharing of information amongst different groups and grade levels is not asignificant part of the dojo culture.In smaller dojo the educational atmosphere might be different. Knowledge sharing becomesmore manageable as everyone knows everybody else and there is a greater amount of trustbeing displayed amongst players of all ranks. Within smaller groups, there are more commoninterests in the pursuit of judo improvements and less tendencies to outsmart and outperformthe other students at the game.One prominent obstacle found in larger organizations is that the notions of “knowledge”“superiority” and “skills” attainments are viewed as individual properties and that theirownerships are very important to the success of those individuals so empowered. Thisownership is frequently understood as being that which will separate the elite groups from thecommon students. Student’s rank standing or class status is often attached to their knowledgeand skill levels. It is common knowledge that:”
It is what you know and not what you share that matters” 
. As a result of this pseudo hierarchy, in many dojos where knowledge is not shared,some negative consequences can become more noticeable: Groups will tend to be segmented, junior ranks more isolated and the development of some forms of resistance to new ideas willappear along with an indifference towards new students.
Collectivity versus Individuality
In order to counteract the impression of group isolation, it is my view that we must try toimplant a more suitable judo culture which will go beyond the basic introduction to principlesand where everyone, regardless of rank and stature, will be encouraged to share tacticalinformation and skills techniques with each other’s in order to gain greater and more profitablereturns from their participation. As we address different situations and formulate alternativesolutions to combat situations and problems within the Randori, we can better share knowledgeand gain from the different viewpoints. As we try to promote more knowledge sharing andremove that pseudo special status syndrome, we must continue to encourage all players tocome forward and develop new discovery and innovations.
“Nothing under the sun is greater than education. By educating one person and sending himinto the society of his generation, we make a contribution extending a hundred generations tocome.” 
 Jigoro Kano
Progress is dependent upon knowledge and experience.
It has been said that:
“Strength is relative to good health, speed comes from efforts, techniquesare obtained from experiences, willpower derived from faith, serenity is from old knowledge and  progress comes from new knowledge.” (Author unknown)
If we follow that trend of thought, weare sure to discover the true educational wizardry of Randori.
Performing well in Randori
I am sure that by now, you have had your share of advices for better performing during Randoripractices. Amongst the most repeated recommendations you may have heard are: There is nowinner or loser, focus on attacking freely without considering the possibilities of being thrown,relax and retain free movement of your body and mind.Other sets of advices may have involved other trends such as: Follow through with eachtechnique; practice with as many judoka as possible; seek out all the opportunities to testyourself with all kinds of partners; experiment with new techniques as much as possible and tryto develop your shouting techniques of “Kiai” in order to gain extra power during the latterstage of performing a throw.There is also some value in repeating the following principles: Learn to read your partner'sintentions and anticipate the attacks; focus on the Kuzushi and adjust your movements withindifferent spaces; do not forget to turn your head in the direction you are throwing e.g. (nosefollow toes) and rotate your body.I have no doubt that your sensei will have stressed the need to take care of your opponent inorder to avoid injury. He or she will also have reminded you that you should help your partner tolearn while perfecting your own technique. This is where the gist of this presentation is leadingus.
Randori period, a sharing opportunity
By making the Randori period a sharing opportunity, where both players exchange informationon their performance, it will be possible to create a synergy leading to the emergence of a newform of collective intelligence about potential combat situations. Doing so will ensure that wecan grow from the continuous feedback of others. I am of the opinion that it is by sharinginformation and experiences within a mixed group that we can gain enriched judo proficiency.Because of the judoka’s common interest to improve their knowledge and judo skills, there canemerge a stronger learning community and thus, better judoka.
The community must complement the teacher’s influence.
You can rely on the teacher or sensei to teach you the fundamentals: you will learn how toabsorb the fall, to stand properly in natural posture, to execute the basic techniques followingthe three steps and perform basic techniques in linear directions (Kuzushi-Tsukuri-Kake). Youwill often repeat and rehearse the fundamentals. You will also be taught the importance of kinetic chains and the need for coordination when you perform the Uchi Komi. You will havelearned how best to use your body mass and apply different levers to maximize diversetechniques during Nage Komi exercises.Within the assigned pedagogical program, when teaching the Gokyo syllabus, the teacher willmake the necessary variations in their delivery to accommodate the needs of the majority of theclass. Limited by time and class composition, the number of personal interventions will varyconsiderably when they are teaching the introduction, the basics or the advanced class becausethe knowledge management and the transfer efforts are typically concentrated on keyobjectives.It is to be expected that the One on One teaching opportunities focusing on improvedperformance, gaining more competitive savvy, sharing of lessons learned, integrating newtechniques and working upon continuous improvement are more likely to be occasionalincidences rather than regular practices. Some of you will have the occasion to learn part of theNage No Kata where you will demonstrate your understanding of the throwing principles whichinclude the transfer of force, the placement of Kuzushi and transmission of momentum. All theabove exercises are either of the static or linear dimensions. The dynamic and free application of techniques is yet to be discovered. This is a reason why we should to resort to the Randori as acomplementary educational tool.

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