Three Archetypes for Better Randori

In competitive grappling, such as Brazilian jiu-jitsu (BJJ), judo, et al, there are essentially three different ways that one can approach randori (free sparring), depending upon our personality, training goals, or partner. We can train defensively, offensively, or educationally. That is, we can approach randori like the tortoise, the hare, and the scientist. The tortoise…

Jita Kyōei: We Are In This Together

Training for mutual welfare and benefit (自他共栄 jita kyōei). Jigoro Kano, the founder of judo, did much to revolutionize Japanese martial arts. From older, more violent martial systems, Kano compiled the techniques that were both safe for everyday training and most effective in randori (sparring). His goal was to create a system of physical and…

Angle and Position Before Execution

Angle and positioning: How do we get there from here? Anyone who has trained a martial art with resistance-based pressure testing or sparring knows that the correct technique in a given situation is rarely predetermined. A boxer may have a plan to knock out his opponent with his powerful right cross, but making perfect contact…

Osoto Gari as Iriminage

Iriminage (entering body throw) is the quintessential Taikyoku Budo technique because every technique in Taikyoku Budo begins with irimi. Irimi is the principle of taking space, displacing one’s opponent’s body with one’s own. As Ellis Amdur explains, “As the enemy cuts, so, too, do I cut. Not ‘along’ the same path. ON THE SAME PATH….

Yonkyoku or Spiraling Downward

Yonkyoku or Spiraling Downward At the heart of Taikyoku Budo (太曲武道) is the belief that all martial movements can be subdivided into five themes or kyoku (曲). These themes create the basis for our solo practice, but also act as a sort of filter through which to analyze and incorporate techniques from other martial studies…