Randori & Shiai - The Twins That Aren't...

Many people practice their randori in a manner that can only be differentiated from shiai by the lack of a referee.  And I must confess, for many years I did the same thing.  But is this the best way to improve your Judo skills?

The only way to improve a given skill is to actually do a given skill - the more frequently you do it, the better you will be able to perform it.  For just like driving, you want your Judo to be instinctive and automatic.

To enforce the sort of randori that should be more common, I suggest that sensei call for ‘exchange’ randori - each throw will be alternated with your opponent getting a turn to throw you.  Set the level of resistance to 50% or less, and see if your Judo doesn’t improve!

Although there’s a time and place for ‘hard’ randori, it’s not at each and every practice session.  For many Judoka, several times a month would be more than sufficient to be ready for the next shiai.