Tag Archives: randori

Randori: Encouraging movement, keeping it upright

I was getting a bit more practice tonight in terms of assistant coaching. This is quite a good introduction as the main coach handles the lesson plan and…well… to be honest they handle pretty much everything, leaving me to wander giving advice when the students put it into practice.

When it came to Randori, some of the physical differences between some of the players came to light. Now, these are juniors, and although some may be roughly the same size, there can be a great difference in age and therefore strength.

Thus sometimes a player would be pretty much pulling their partner all over the place, forcing them down, and it was not uncommon for a throw to occur by means of sutemiwaza.

Sacrifice throws are an important part of any judoka’s toolkit, but executing one on a player who is clearly weaker and smaller than you does not prove much.

Some of the advice I felt appropriate tonight was as follows:

  • To a player who had thrown their partners several times with sutemiwaza (as above): No more sutemiwaza for you tonight. Use other throws. Encourages broadening horizons. Seconds after this, the player executes a beautiful O goshi. It had the “Ooooh” factor.
  • To players dragging smaller ones around: Reiterate the point of Randori. Emphasise technique and subtle breaking of balance over RARRRRGH. And, just as importantly, to their partner, give a few tips as to how to handle someone who is stronger (Stay upright, keep moving, attack!).
  • To hip-blockers. Hip-blocking is a totally valid way of blocking a throw, but to attempt Tani Otoshi afterwards when their partner is clearly stronger is not good. Try stepping round instead and attack. A player tried this after having their Tani Otoshi countered each time, and managed to throw their partner repeatedly with Tai Otoshi. Beautiful.
  • To the wrestling stance! Two players end up bent right over wrestling. Normally the only throw attempts that result are sutemi waza. Emphasise standing up more, brings out more opportunities (back to movement here!).

All of this is Judo 101 and common sense. But I feel it does have to be pointed out quickly when spotted before bad habits set in. I speak from experience. I know very, very well how reliance on sutemi waza and counters stunted my Judo growth. Now I try and be more upright I am always thinking to myself, “I wish someone had made me do this earlier!”.

Patrick Roux Interview

There is now an interview with Patrick Roux on the BJA web site.

It is good to see a common sense approach is coming in. Especially emphasising the importance of Uchikomi and correct Randori:

“…Randori, in France, is not a bull-fight, as it is in some other countries. Randori is more often used to develop a wide range of techniques. Between Athens and Beijing, the French women’s team changed the way it was doing randori and was rewarded with much greater success.”

Of particular interest was a reference to a throw at the 2008 Olympic games:

Another area, on which he wants to work, is tactical appreciation, for fighters to make an instantaneous decision under the physical and mental pressure of a competition. In Beijing, we had a perfect example of what he means in the final of the under 63 kgs category, when Lucie Decosse of France attacked the defending champion Ayumi Tanimoto, with ouchi-gari, driving the Japanese girl backwards. However, Tanimoto used the forward movement of Decosse to bring her off-balance and counter her perfectly with uchi-mata. For me, it was probably the technical highlight of the Games and demonstrated exactly what judo should be.

This is a counter which I like myself. And it shows why I am struggling with my Uchimata. Performing it as a primary attack doesn’t work too well for me, as clearly I am not generating sufficient Kuzushi. If Uke has effectively done that for me by way of an appropriate attack, it’s a decisive Ippon.

Getting there…

Pre-Christmas but a full mat!

It was the usual Tuesday session, and surprisingly (considering the run-up to Christmas) it was the busiest I have seen it for ages! Mainly because our sister club was down, so other seniors to play with.

It was a Randori-centric session, and I got a good work-out (mainly because I felt unfit and just “out of it”… I really need to push myself harder when this happens).

Some notes based on this:


Got some good pins on, but generally I was sluggish and not moving fast enough. A typical example was letting someone pin my arm when I was trying to take back control. Firstly, I shouldn’t have let this happen, and secondly, should have fixed the situation with movement rather than just working on force.

Got some nice sweeps to work. Again though, also got stuck underneath in a terrible stalemate (someone trying to strangle, I blocked, that’s it!). Should have used more movement to try and turn that around. Far too much strength involved, so hellooooo bicep burn!

So, the summary there (and you will see this as a regular theme in this blog), is that more movement is required.


A little disappointed in myself. The throws I got to work were my sacrifice staples (Tani Otoshi, bastardised Yoko Otoshi, Obi Tori Gaeshi). Far too much reliance there, rather than the techniques I am trying to work on now, such as Uchi Mata, Ouchi Gari and Osoto Gari.

Why? See Newaza – just too slow, not setting up throws, not fighting for grips spiritly enough. Sluggish. I partly do this to stop getting tired but this also means I won’t get any fitter. I REALLY need to step it up a gear properly.

However, an enjoyable session, and I’ve got things to think about.