RANDORI is a term used in the Japanese Martial Arts (JMA) to describe free fighting training. The term literally means “Choas Taking” or “Grasping Freedom,” implying a freedom from the structured practice of KIHON WAZA “Essential Techniques” or KATA “Two person self defense patterns.” Randori may be contrasted with Kihon Waza and Kata, as three potentially complementary types of training.
Today, January 23rd 2012 is the first day of the Chinese New Year. It is the Year of the Yang Water DRAGON.
According to mythology, the beginning of Chinese New Year started with the fight against a mythical beast called the NIAN. Nian would come on the first day of New Year to eat livestock, crops, and even villagers, especially children. To protect themselves, the villagers would put food in front of their doors at the beginning of every year. It was believed that after the Nian ate the food they prepared, it wouldn’t attack any more people. One time, people saw that the Nian was scared away by a little child wearing red. The villagers then understood that the Nian was afraid of the color red. Hence, every time when the New Year was about to come, the villagers would hang red lanterns and red spring scrolls on windows and doors. People also used firecrackers to frighten away the Nian. From then on, Nian never came to the village again.
I’m often asked “What protection tool should I arm myself with?” After a few qualifying questions I might answer: a Kubotan key chain, a Comtech Stinger II, a Tanto folding knife, OC Spray, a Glock 21, Saiga 12 or Ak-47. What I really want to say, even though many people are not open to it is; You should always arm yourself with the ultimate weapon: AWARENESS.
The Ninja families of feudal Japan developed what is perhaps the ultimate survival strategy, INVISIBILITY. Invisibility is the most proactive of all the survival strategies available to us. If your enemy does not perceive you as being either a threat or a target, he will never attack you. What more effective way to protect yourself than to simply be invisible to those that would harm you. Yes, it’s important to have viable personal protection skills and to have pre-emptive strike ability, but truly the most skillful way to protect ourselves is simple not being where the danger is or not appearing to be a threat or target to our enemies.
I’ve recently had a Gestalt like epiphany. Most martial artists have no idea what I’m talking about when I say “Reality Based Self Defense” or “Complete Martial Arts.” I base this new found understanding on numerous emails from my readers. I decided to make a list of the major components of what a truly comprehensive big picture real life personal protection program must include.
I’ve been a fan of Sigung Paul Vunak ever since I watched his first Panther JKD/FMA Videos that were released in 1986. I distinctly remember watching his now often imitated knife cutting demonstration. Sigung Vunak hung a big chunk of meat from a line and cut it with a knife. It demonstrated quite viscerally how dangerous a single knife cut could be, as well as how important it is to have viable edged weapon survival skills. A very important lesson for everyone to learn.
It thrills me to no end to find out things like that the U.S. Army has a full time Acupuncture clinic at one of their hospitals, or the the U.S. Marine Corps is studying the effects of mindfulness meditation on Marines being deployed into combat.
What’s even more fascinating is that VIPASSANA BHAVANA “Insight Meditation” also known as Mindfulness Meditation is the system devised by The Buddha himself to help humanity transcend suffering. There’s definitely no question of religious conversion though, The Buddha didn’t found a religion, but instead taught a way out of suffering by the skillful use of our minds through meditative awareness.
I received several emails about my recent blog post entitled “FULL CONTACT!” I would like to clarify my thoughts on making contact with your training partner so as to condition yourself to actually hit your attacker in a real life fight.
Several readers were concerned that if they trained “Full Contact,” their students would be injured and they would lose business because of this. I’m most definitely NOT saying that you should turn your training sessions, classes or seminars into an all out MMA steel cage match. What I am saying is that if you want to develop functional personal protection skills you have to train yourself and your students to ‘stick to and blast through’ your target by using slamming like dynamics.
One of my long time avid readers, Dr.John M. Landry, just joined the staff of authors at FULL CONTACT, military.com’s Self Defense blog. His first post entitled “How To Be A Samurai Cop: The Bushido Code On America’s Streets” is great. I highly recommend that you read it.
Dr.Landry has been training in the martial arts since 1974, is a Law Enforcement Officer and Trainer, a senior member of the U.S. Air Force Auxiliary Civil Air Patrol and has also has earned a Doctorate degree in Education and a Master of Science degree in Criminal Justice Administration.
Adaptability and Flow are two of the most important psychological attributes of a warrior. To be truly adaptable we need to have no preferences. And how do we have no preferences? Accept everything that comes your way.
If someone is verbally assailing you, stay in the moment and don’t prefer to be any where else. Don’t take anything he says personally. If he kicks you, he kicks you, don’t be for or against it. Go with it, flow with it and do what you need to do to be safe. If he punches you relax, go with it. Move in an appropriate way where you can counter strike from a position of power. If he shoots in for a take down stay calm, accept it and counter it with equanimity. If the fight goes to the ground embrace it, go with it not just with your body but in your mind as well. Allow your mind to be like a mirror reflecting everything, yet untouched by anything.