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SMAA Explains Randori in Different Settings
The martial arts practice of randori can change based upon the user's situation.
By: Shudokan Martial Arts Association
The purpose of randori is to perpetuate chaos upon the opposition in order to perplex, deceive, overcome, or overwhelm, so that victory may be taken decisively. Randori itself may be trisected into three distinct genres relevant to a respective setting: free practice in the dojo, competition in martial sport, and combat in battle.
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.
In the Japanese martial arts, sport competition is known as shiai. In shai, conditioning, coaching and fluency are the fastest routes to victory. Unlike in the dojo, the competitor's ring is not the place to explore. Instead, methods that are tried and true are the surest way to go. In the heat of competition, experimentation becomes a risk — it could result in loss or even injury — so rules are imposed and upheld by a referee or some other authority to protect the competitors.
Combat, to be sure, is an entirely different animal, where the safety of the opposite party is sometimes entirely ignored. Never forget that free practice and competition are not combat — they are combat simulations for study or sport, and this distinction cannot be dismissed. In battle there is no referee to enforce the rules, and there is no agreement to sustain mutual welfare. This point is obvious, but sometimes easy to forget, after an accumulation of trophies or consistent victories in the dojo.
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About Shudokan Martial Arts Association: SMAA was founded in January 1994 by a group of martial artists who were concerned with promoting and safeguarding Nihon budo and koryu bujutsu--the traditional martial arts and ways of Japan. SMAA is a non-profit that aims keep the spirit of traditional budo alive in the West. Anyone can become a member, even if you aren't a martial artist, and SMAA members are from multiple countries across the globe. https://www.smaa-