Friday, September 22, 2017

The importance of randori in judo training

Here we see Olympic and triple World Champion Jeon Ki-Young talking about the importance of randori. He says in South Korea, they do 10 randoris every session, each round lasting five minutes (perhaps now they have changed it to four minutes).

There are some clubs where randori is not emphasized or even not done at all (as amazing as that may seem, there are clubs like that). At KL Judo Club, randori is a major part of our training session, with at least an hour devoted to randori.

Uchikomi is useful when you are learning a particular technique for the first time. It allows you to learn how to "fit into" a throw. Nagekomi is important for allowing you to learn how to complete the throw. But to really learn how to execute a throw against a resisting opponent (who is also trying to throw you), randori is crucial. Without randori, you will never develop good fighting skills.

Randori is when you learn to cope with different gripping situations and different stances. And, as Jeon explains, it's during randori that you can get to try out different techniques and combinations to try to catch your opponent.

Camberley Judo Club today. The dojo area is rather small, just about the size of one competition area, but the walls are all nicely padded so you can fit in quite a lot of players for randori. It's safe due to the padding.

When I was a competitor preparing for the World Championships in 1993 and 1995, I used to train full-time for three month stints at Camberley Judo Club during my university summer vacations. There would be randori every night and on some nights top players including World and European champions would come visit for randori.

The Budokwai is England's (and indeed Europe's) oldest judo club. It has a long history and has over the years produced many top level competitors including Olympic Champion Angelo Parisi and World Champion Neil Adams.

On Tuesday nights, we would all get into a van and head to the Budokwai in London to have some variety in our randori. Tuesday night was the Budokwai's top randori night. It was quite a cosmopolitan crowd -- which is not surprising as London is a cosmopolitan city -- and there were many players from different countries on the mat.

High Wycombe today. It is a really nice centre with lots of facilities, including a lounge where players could gather after training to relax. Most importantly, it had a huge mat area able to accommodate many clubs at once.

On Wednesday nights, various clubs from around the region would gather at the High Wycombe Judo Centre of Excellence. Other than the time I visited the International Budo University in Japan, never had I seen so many players (many of whom were black belts and brown belts) on the judo mat. You would never run out of partners to do randori with during those sessions.

KL Judo Club has a pretty big mat area where we can accommodate many pairs of randori partners. There's also a small wing on the right which can't be seen in the picture. We also pad our walls during randori so that players can spar safely.

Over at KL Judo Club, we emphasize randori. We realize that one of the problems facing Malaysian judokas is the lack of randori partners and randori opportunities. That's why we have open mat night on Sundays where guests from other clubs are welcome to join us for randori.

If you are in KL on Sundays, do drop by KL Judo Club for our randori sessions. We have players of various levels and sizes -- and all of them would love to spar with you. We promise you a hard workout and lots of fun. :)

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