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    r12477

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    Learning from randori

    Post by r12477 on Wed Feb 12, 2014 4:03 pm

    Hello,

    I would like to solicit members of this forum for some advice and guidance ...

    I am a 3rd Kyu senior judoka, having returned to Judo as an adult.  After having had some mixed successes in local competitions, I have started training with the state squad in anticipation of National competitions later this year.  Naturally, this state training includes a great number of much more experienced judoka than myself and has been of a greater intensity than what I have been generally accustomed.  While this is to be somewhat expected, I have however been finding myself particularly struggling with the randori element of this training.

    In the randori undertaken as part of this training, I am feeling very inexperienced, at times being thrown with very big (and at times, painful) throws and struggling to even prepare, let alone even execute, my own throws.  Indeed, for the most part, this randori feels more like shiai with my some partners even assuming highly defensive positions (stiff arms and blocking me own entirely in a fashion which I known would attract a shido in competition).  This is not something that I seem to experience in this training with partners that I either know or have worked with previously.

    So knowing that randori forms a key element of the pedagogy of judo, the question that I pose to the forum is - How can I best learn from randori, particularly where this randori feels more like shiai than "practice"?

    Thanks in advance.
    Rob

    DougNZ

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    Re: Learning from randori

    Post by DougNZ on Wed Feb 12, 2014 8:49 pm

    Sounds like you are taking a knife to a gun fight.

    I suggest that if you have just returned to judo and you are training with the state squad, who are preparing for the nationals, you might be out of your league. Further, their goals in randori are probably very different to yours. In fact, as focussed competitors, your being there may even be stifling their preparation. Try randori with your peers, or more experienced judoka whose focus is to help you rather than use you for competition-training fodder.

    r12477

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    Re: Learning from randori

    Post by r12477 on Wed Feb 12, 2014 10:26 pm

    Thanks for the reply DougNZ.

    As it is, I have been back training for the last two years and over this time have competed in a number of local competitions. It has only been following success at this level - in both senior and masters divisions - that I am looking to take on the next level of competition. But as you have rightly described, I may be "taking a knife to a gun fight". Indeed, this training (and the aches that often seem to follow) has made me acutely aware of the fact that I am not as skilled or conditioned as some of the younger, elite competitors. All this being said however, I do not think that I am necessarily out of my league - although time and further training sessions will tell.

    Perhaps I should have framed my question in a more generalised context - How can I best learn from randori? Particularly where my partner seems to treat the session as "shiai" rather than "practice"?

    tafftaz

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    Re: Learning from randori

    Post by tafftaz on Thu Feb 13, 2014 12:07 am

    At national level randori is not what you would expect at club level. It is shiai practise.
    These guys are training for shiai, not to make your judo better.
    These guys have years of shiai experience over you and therefore you will struggle.
    I have trained at a fair level and believe me, there is no mutual welfare and benefit when at any national training session.
    Everyone is training for a certain medal, which in turn will help them keep their funding. You are just another body to practise on I'm afraid.
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    Cichorei Kano

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    Re: Learning from randori

    Post by Cichorei Kano on Thu Feb 13, 2014 4:15 am

    r12477 wrote:Hello,

    I would like to solicit members of this forum for some advice and guidance ...

    I am a 3rd Kyu senior judoka, having returned to Judo as an adult.  After having had some mixed successes in local competitions, I have started training with the state squad in anticipation of National competitions later this year.  Naturally, this state training includes a great number of much more experienced judoka than myself and has been of a greater intensity than what I have been generally accustomed.  While this is to be somewhat expected, I have however been finding myself particularly struggling with the randori element of this training.

    In the randori undertaken as part of this training, I am feeling very inexperienced, at times being thrown with very big (and at times, painful) throws and struggling to even prepare, let alone even execute, my own throws.  Indeed, for the most part, this randori feels more like shiai with my some partners even assuming highly defensive positions (stiff arms and blocking me own entirely in a fashion which I known would attract a shido in competition).  This is not something that I seem to experience in this training with partners that I either know or have worked with previously.

    So knowing that randori forms a key element of the pedagogy of judo, the question that I pose to the forum is - How can I best learn from randori, particularly where this randori feels more like shiai than "practice"?

    Thanks in advance.
    Rob

    I would echo what tafftaz wrote. In addition, you also should consider that you simply might not be ready for that level of training. You have two options: you continue nevertheless or you would quit. I would continue and get myself ready, but I am not you, so I don't know. The higher the level the great the gap and the more stunning the qualities the jûdôka are. At the world elite level, for example, the sheer amount of physical strength is such, that you can't even begin to imagine what it is I am talking about; they are really that outrageously strong, so that you start doubting whether you are facing a human being or a grizzly bear or gorilla; some even look like them, which may affect your conclusion ...

    In Kanô's classical example, jûdô is always displayed as a little weak guy or woman with perfect technique facing some ogre-like adversary with the IQ of a pebble on the beach who has zero knowledge of balance or martial arts. I reality we rarely face a person in jûdô who does not know any jûdô or martial art. People who are not skilled in any combat art, simply rather choose to refrain from getting involved in fights, so not much of a surprise. What you have to face with your judo skills is quite the opposite: people with more judo skills than you, with more experience, and who are physically stronger. Kanô was quite smart avoiding to address that situation in all of his articles, lectures, or marketing strategies for his new jûdô.

    Your challenge, if you want to continue, is ... "to survive", in figurative sense, at least. You are not going to do that just with jûdô. You will have to significantly develop your support systems. Firstly, you'll have to beef up your aeobic endurance, and secondly, your dynamic strength. It's not that difficult since the training effect will be quicker to notice that in improving judo technique. Improved aerobic endurance and strength provides you with more reserve to mobilize your judo. Besides, many older judoka who may have better technique than much younger champions know all to well what the importance is of aerobic endurance. Simply to remain on your feet against a young top player requires so much energy that you can't even mobilize your energy anymore. There are other supporting systems that are even more significant, such as anaerobic endurance and explosive strength, but you can't really develop these before having seriously developed the rest.

    The other thing is of course judo strategy, insight, and control. You'd be an idiot to go fight the stiff arms or grip of a judoka who is stronger and more experienced. This is how you lose energy. If they have such strong arms that they are blocking you off, let them do, it because fighting it is a waste of energy. You need to learn how to control someone with minimal energy, and you need to learn the importance of tai-sabaki, so that facing or resolving the issues you are confronted with are done in an efficient way. If I read what you are writing, you seem to be practicing "minimal efficiency at maximal effort".


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    Ben Reinhardt

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    Re: Learning from randori

    Post by Ben Reinhardt on Thu Feb 13, 2014 5:26 am

    How old are you (OP), and what weight division are you competing in? Are you in a country with lots of top level judo ? You may be wasting your time depending on your age and the amout/level of competition you have to deal with, at least if your goal is to medal at national level, or even be competitive.

    Local to national is a huge jump. You dont have "provincial/state/regional competition to go to?



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    judoratt

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    Re: Learning from randori

    Post by judoratt on Thu Feb 13, 2014 9:08 am

    You have jumped into a deep pool my son. My advice to you is kick their ass before they kick your ass. :-):-)

    r12477

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    Re: Learning from randori

    Post by r12477 on Thu Feb 13, 2014 11:14 am

    Thanks tafftaz and Cichorei Kano.

    tafftaz wrote:At national level randori is not what you would expect at club level. It is shiai practise.
    These guys are training for shiai, not to make your judo better.
    These guys have years of shiai experience over you and therefore you will struggle.
    I have trained at a fair level and believe me, there is no mutual welfare and benefit when at any national training session.

    I think this is something that I am coming to realise. My concern is that with so much time focused to randori in these training sessions - which consist of warm-up, uchikomi, randori (~1-1.5 hr) and warm-down - that if I was perhaps missing a vital understanding or appreciation of the randori training.

    Cichorei Kano wrote:In addition, you also should consider that you simply might not be ready for that level of training. You have two options: you continue nevertheless or you would quit. I would continue and get myself ready, but I am not you, so I don't know. The higher the level the great the gap and the more stunning the qualities the jûdôka are. At the world elite level, for example, the sheer amount of physical strength is such, that you can't even begin to imagine what it is I am talking about; they are really that outrageously strong, so that you start doubting whether you are facing a human being or a grizzly bear or gorilla; some even look like them, which may affect your conclusion ...

    My intention is certainly to continue with this training, in spite (or indeed perhaps, because of) the rigour that it provides. While I am prepared to continue to work hard in these sessions and try to improve my own shiai skills, the prompting for my question was that perhaps I was misunderstanding or failing to realise something fairly fundamental about randori practice.

    Thanks again.

    r12477

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    Re: Learning from randori

    Post by r12477 on Thu Feb 13, 2014 11:24 am

    Ben Reinhardt wrote:How old are you (OP), and what weight division are you competing in? Are you in a country with lots of top level judo ? You may be wasting your time depending on your age and the amout/level of competition you have to deal with, at least if your goal is to medal at national level, or even be competitive.

    Local to national is a huge jump. You dont have "provincial/state/regional competition to go to?


    I am almost 37 and currently weigh in with the over-100 kg division (although I will possibly drop to the under-100 kg division for competition as I am only a little over 100 kg at this point [106.7 kg]).  I am based in Australia and as such there is a small, but vibrant Judo community.  

    My aim for the Australian National Judo Championship (the competition for which I am training) is to be competitive rather than medalling or using this as a stepping stone to elite level competition.  

    To date I have competed in some state and national (masters) competitions, but never with the focus or competition as what the Australian National Judo Championship offers.  In my previous posts, I have referred to "local" competitions, but these are possibly better described as "state" level competitions, organised and run by the state-level governing body, as this is generally the level as which "local" competition is conducted - There are very few (if any) smaller, regional or club level competitions that I am aware of.

    r12477

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    Re: Learning from randori

    Post by r12477 on Thu Feb 13, 2014 11:26 am

    judoratt wrote:You have jumped into a deep pool my son. My advice to you is kick their ass before they kick your ass. :-):-)

    Prison rules? :-) Based on the size and strength of some of the elite-level judoka, I think I would probably come off second best.
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    Cichorei Kano

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    Re: Learning from randori

    Post by Cichorei Kano on Thu Feb 13, 2014 12:14 pm

    r12477 wrote:
    I am almost 37 and currently weigh in with the over-100 kg division (although I will possibly drop to the under-100 kg division for competition as I am only a little over 100 kg at this point [106.7 kg]).  I am based in Australia and as such there is a small, but vibrant Judo community.  

    My aim for the Australian National Judo Championship (the competition for which I am training) is to be competitive rather than medalling or using this as a stepping stone to elite level competition.  

    I can't comment on the level of domestic Australian championships and their teams, however, without trying to be acerbic, if you're 37 years of age, there is no way you will or can keep up with those teams. It is physiologically not possible.

    I trained with the national team until I was 30. At that point I already had a heck of a time. I did more supportive training than anybody else and this just allowed me to keep me from regressing, whereas the guys who were 22 years of age with one third of that training made progress.

    Oxygen uptake declines with advancing age, and enzymatic recovery diminishs, growth hormone and testosterone secretion decrease meaning less lean body mass and higher risk of injury. When I was 30, I trained at least 6 hours per day, and did 21 training sessions per week, and unlike you I was not new to it as I had been in competitive judo at a national level since age 14. So, with that amount of training, I was still struggling, but at least not deteriorating. The only theoretical option would have been to increase the training volume and intensity even more, but that becomes impossible because at a certain volume you can no longer recuperate, because recovery increasingly takes longer. Imagine that you need 26 hours to recover, well, then you can clearly not increase your training within a 24-hour period.

    Even an absolute training beast such as Robert Van De Walle who still competed in the Barcelona Olympics as a 7th dan at age 38 (!) was getting gassed. It is simply not possible. The average age of national teams is usually around 22 yrs of age. Much above that and your team is no longer a winning team, and vintage goods.

    The only alternative is a "fake" or "virtual improvement". Indeed even if you are 37 years of age and are only now starting this kind of thing and maybe somewhat excess body fat, you probably can RELATIVELY make more progress than I could or anyone else who has been training at that level for years. After all, if you shed 5% of body fat, well than the effect of that on your VO2max per body mass will exceed the yearly decline due to age. But I call thise "fake" or "virtual improvement", after all you can't keep shedding 5% of body mass, so truth and reality will be looking at you from behind the corner.


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    idealab

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    Re: Learning from randori

    Post by idealab on Thu Feb 13, 2014 12:29 pm

    I agree with CK. Although it's more likely for a 37-year-old to win one or two matches at the Australia National Championships than let's say in France, especially given the depth of -100kg there.

    still learning

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    Re: Learning from randori

    Post by still learning on Thu Feb 13, 2014 11:28 pm

    To put some additional perspective into this.

    One of my regular training partners is early 40s, over 120 kg, 3rd dan and always medals whenever he enters masters competitions, so he's good. He decided to do some training with the British squad, and found his ukemi useful for the first time in years, repeatedly useful, even against much lighter judoka. He found the gulf of difference immense and never had a single throw. So be realistic.


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    Ben Reinhardt

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    Re: Learning from randori

    Post by Ben Reinhardt on Fri Feb 14, 2014 4:19 am

    r12477 wrote:
    Ben Reinhardt wrote:How old are you (OP), and what weight division are you competing in? Are you in a country with lots of top level judo ? You may be wasting your time depending on your age and the amout/level of competition you have to deal with, at least if your goal is to medal at national level, or even be competitive.

    Local to national is a huge jump. You dont have "provincial/state/regional competition to go to?


    I am almost 37 and currently weigh in with the over-100 kg division (although I will possibly drop to the under-100 kg division for competition as I am only a little over 100 kg at this point [106.7 kg]).  I am based in Australia and as such there is a small, but vibrant Judo community.  

    My aim for the Australian National Judo Championship (the competition for which I am training) is to be competitive rather than medalling or using this as a stepping stone to elite level competition.  

    To date I have competed in some state and national (masters) competitions, but never with the focus or competition as what the Australian National Judo Championship offers.  In my previous posts, I have referred to "local" competitions, but these are possibly better described as "state" level competitions, organised and run by the state-level governing body, as this is generally the level as which "local" competition is conducted - There are very few (if any) smaller, regional or club level competitions that I am aware of.

    At least you are a heavy(ier) weight class. At 37 you could forget about being competitive at lower weights where reaction time is extremely important.

    You are light for the over 100 kg division.

    Without knowing specifics about you, it's hard to say. If you are healthy and can devote a lot of time to physical preparation, and you can qualify (however that happens in Australia), you might make it. To qualify, at least, depending on how deep the talent pool is.

    It will be a tough row to hoe in any case.
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    NittyRanks

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    Re: Learning from randori

    Post by NittyRanks on Sat May 09, 2015 2:34 am

    Cichorei Kano wrote:
    r12477 wrote:
    I am almost 37 and currently weigh in with the over-100 kg division (although I will possibly drop to the under-100 kg division for competition as I am only a little over 100 kg at this point [106.7 kg]).  I am based in Australia and as such there is a small, but vibrant Judo community.  

    My aim for the Australian National Judo Championship (the competition for which I am training) is to be competitive rather than medalling or using this as a stepping stone to elite level competition.  

    I can't comment on the level of domestic Australian championships and their teams, however, without trying to be acerbic, if you're 37 years of age, there is no way you will or can keep up with those teams. It is physiologically not possible.

    I trained with the national team until I was 30. At that point I already had a heck of a time. I did more supportive training than anybody else and this just allowed me to keep me from regressing, whereas the guys who were 22 years of age with one third of that training made progress.

    Oxygen uptake declines with advancing age, and enzymatic recovery diminishs, growth hormone and testosterone secretion decrease meaning less lean body mass and higher risk of injury. When I was 30, I trained at least 6 hours per day, and did 21 training sessions per week, and unlike you I was not new to it as I had been in competitive judo at a national level since age 14. So, with that amount of training,  I was still struggling, but at least not deteriorating. The only theoretical option would have been to increase the training volume and intensity even more, but that becomes impossible because at a certain volume you can no longer recuperate, because recovery increasingly takes longer. Imagine that you need 26 hours to recover, well, then you can clearly not increase your training within a 24-hour period.

    Even an absolute training beast such as Robert Van De Walle who still competed in the Barcelona Olympics as a 7th dan at age 38 (!) was getting gassed. It is simply not possible. The average age of national teams is usually around 22 yrs of age. Much above that and your team is no longer a winning team, and vintage goods.

    The only alternative is a "fake" or "virtual improvement". Indeed even if you are 37 years of age and are only now starting this kind of thing and maybe somewhat excess body fat, you probably can RELATIVELY make more progress than I could or anyone else who has been training at that level for years. After all, if you shed 5% of body fat, well than the effect of that on your VO2max per body mass will exceed the yearly decline due to age. But I call thise "fake" or "virtual improvement", after all you can't keep shedding 5% of body mass, so truth and reality will be looking at you from behind the corner.

    This is sobering to me at a blue belt level in Judo and about to be 48. I notice the difference even working out with a guy in my class that is 37. I just don't recover as he does and seem to take longer between injuries to be good. Be that as it may I am still going to compete in two masters tournaments this month. Being realistic is tough though....
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    Ben Reinhardt

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    Re: Learning from randori

    Post by Ben Reinhardt on Sat May 09, 2015 4:49 am

    NittyRanks wrote:
    Cichorei Kano wrote:
    r12477 wrote:
    I am almost 37 and currently weigh in with the over-100 kg division (although I will possibly drop to the under-100 kg division for competition as I am only a little over 100 kg at this point [106.7 kg]).  I am based in Australia and as such there is a small, but vibrant Judo community.  

    My aim for the Australian National Judo Championship (the competition for which I am training) is to be competitive rather than medalling or using this as a stepping stone to elite level competition.  

    I can't comment on the level of domestic Australian championships and their teams, however, without trying to be acerbic, if you're 37 years of age, there is no way you will or can keep up with those teams. It is physiologically not possible.

    I trained with the national team until I was 30. At that point I already had a heck of a time. I did more supportive training than anybody else and this just allowed me to keep me from regressing, whereas the guys who were 22 years of age with one third of that training made progress.

    Oxygen uptake declines with advancing age, and enzymatic recovery diminishs, growth hormone and testosterone secretion decrease meaning less lean body mass and higher risk of injury. When I was 30, I trained at least 6 hours per day, and did 21 training sessions per week, and unlike you I was not new to it as I had been in competitive judo at a national level since age 14. So, with that amount of training,  I was still struggling, but at least not deteriorating. The only theoretical option would have been to increase the training volume and intensity even more, but that becomes impossible because at a certain volume you can no longer recuperate, because recovery increasingly takes longer. Imagine that you need 26 hours to recover, well, then you can clearly not increase your training within a 24-hour period.

    Even an absolute training beast such as Robert Van De Walle who still competed in the Barcelona Olympics as a 7th dan at age 38 (!) was getting gassed. It is simply not possible. The average age of national teams is usually around 22 yrs of age. Much above that and your team is no longer a winning team, and vintage goods.

    The only alternative is a "fake" or "virtual improvement". Indeed even if you are 37 years of age and are only now starting this kind of thing and maybe somewhat excess body fat, you probably can RELATIVELY make more progress than I could or anyone else who has been training at that level for years. After all, if you shed 5% of body fat, well than the effect of that on your VO2max per body mass will exceed the yearly decline due to age. But I call thise "fake" or "virtual improvement", after all you can't keep shedding 5% of body mass, so truth and reality will be looking at you from behind the corner.

    This is sobering to me at a blue belt level in Judo and about to be 48. I notice the difference even working out with a guy in my class that is 37. I just don't recover as he does and seem to take longer between injuries to be good. Be that as it may I am still going to compete in two masters tournaments this month.  Being realistic is tough though....

    Masters is (usually) based on age, so you should be in a division with guys close to your age. In the US at least it goes 30-34, 35-39, 40-44, etc, with weight classes.


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    overthehill

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    Re: Learning from randori

    Post by overthehill on Tue Nov 24, 2015 5:06 pm

    sorry to jump on this thread late.......at 37, kudos to you for that intensity of training!

    Anatol

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    Re: Learning from randori

    Post by Anatol on Sun Feb 14, 2016 7:41 am

    In heavyweight division anything can happen.

    Last year I qualified through ranking tournaments

    for the national championships (best 16 are qualified) and came in 5th.

    For sure I had to keep the matches short, to have some chance -

    all four fights were under 2 minutes, winning two and losing two by Ippon.

    I am 51.

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