Training Methods - Getting the Most ‘Bang for the Buck’.


What training method gives you the most benefit for the time spent on it? If you are like me, you’ll spend much of your life practicing Judo, so what is the most efficient way of practicing?

First, let’s examine the common ways to practice a given technique:

1. Uchikomi. Commonly - this refers to repeated ‘fitting in’ on a non-resisting uke. Off balancing is a necessity, and on throws where you can lift, you should be lifting them as well. It’s a mistake not to lift when practicing Seoinage, for example - as mistakes in your technique will be most evident when you lift your opponent, and may not even be noticeable when you don’t. Uchikomi is the most common ways to practice a given technique.
My Opinion: This is the best way to ‘groove’ a technique when first learning it, or learning a new variation, but should be used less frequently than the next two methods for experienced Judoka.  For experienced Judoka this seems to be nothing more than simply a good warmup method. (I stopped "learning" to drive a car decades ago, why am I still "learning" a technique with uchikomi?)

2. Dynamic Uchikomi - or ‘moving‘ uchikomi. This greatly resembles randori, both of you are moving around randomly, and are practicing your given technique on a non-resisting opponent. It’s my opinion that this gives you more ‘bang for the buck’ with this method, since it more realistically resembles the actual situation. It’s a well-known sports training fact that the more closely your training matches what you’re actually doing - the better off your skill will be.
My Opinion: This is a method better suited for experienced Judoka, and is a good method of ‘warmup’ as well.

3. Light Randori - I shouldn’t have to specify “light” randori, but unfortunately most Judoka consider randori to be shiai without the trophies. In light randori, the resistance should be only as much as it takes to stop a sloppy or ill-fitting technique.
My Opinion: This is where I think a majority of your time should be spent as a Judoka. You are practicing the complete skill set - all the way to the ground, you are doing so in a random manner, in different directions, and the lack of serious resistance means that you’ll get plenty of repetitions. Obviously, the more repetitions of a given skill you get in, the better your skill at that technique will be.

4. Randori - by which, I mean what most people think of as randori - resistance just short of shiai. This is where most Judoka spend a majority of their training time.
My Opinion: This is overused, and more time should be spent in light randori. While your defensive skills can be greatly developed in this form of training, your offensive skills are better honed in light randori.

All four methods of training are needed when developing your skill with a particular technique - but for the experienced Judoka, it’s my opinion that most of your time should be spent in light randori. Resistance can be changed to suit your opponent, so it’s quite versatile. Give it a try.