A 30-year veteran of the martial arts, John Spezzano is a full instructor of Jun Fan gung fu / jeet kune do concepts and the Philippine martial arts under Dan Inosanto. Spezzano is also qualified to teach maphilindo silat (under Inosanto), wing chun (under Francis Fong) and muay Thai (under Chai Sirisute). He is a Russian Kettlebell Certified instructor under Pavel Tsatsouline.
That a director of my city's opera company would call me seemed a little odd. There are probably some monkeys who know more about opera than I do. But the director was inviting me to lunch, so of course I went.
I said most Japanese and Japanese-Americans probably view the opera as so ridiculously fictional that no one could take it as a serious historical commentary. In fact, I'd already heard from some traditional Japanese dance groups whose members hoped to audition for nonspeaking roles in the opera. I pointed out, however, that the promotional illustrations the company had come up with for the opera were "wrong." The director was confused. One illustration showed a woman in a kimono, holding her infant. She was clearly meant to depict Madame Butterfly.
"You have her hair in a long and straight ponytail," I said. "That style had gone out of fashion in Japan hundreds of years before the period of the opera."
"But she looks Japanese," the director said.
"Think about an illustration for Downton Abbey," I said, referring to the popular drama about life in early 20th-century England, "where the character depicted was dressed like Henry VIII. Imagine someone pointing out the historical inaccuracy and the illustrator replying, 'But the guy looks British.'"
I was reminded of this recently when I saw some people who claimed to follow a classical school of Japanese swordsmanship. Several of them were wearing bright pastel-red hakama skirts that had no stiff straps at the rear. These were colorful, to be sure. However, they are also the kind and color of kimono worn by miko, young women who serve as attendants at Shinto shrines.
My guess is that these hakama were offered for sale somewhere. (Buddhist temples in many Japanese cities have monthly flea markets where all kinds of goods find their way.) The practitioners probably saw a good deal and, lacking a sense of cultural context, decided to buy.
Western practitioners of Japanese martial arts must be cognizant of these cultural contexts, both to avoid looking silly and clueless (these would-be modern samurai furiously swinging their swords in what looks like the equivalent of a schoolgirl's uniform automatically removes them from serious consideration as martial artists) and to gain an accurate sense of what they're doing.
While not directly martial arts–related, perhaps you've seen women in a dojo or at a public event affecting an "Oriental" look by wearing their hair in a bun that's fastened with chopsticks stuck through it. Certainly, it appears ridiculous if you know that what look like chopsticks in formally dressed Japanese women's hair are actually kanzashi, or hairpins — which, by the way, doubled as weapons in close-quarters encounters.
The reader may say, "Hey, this isn't a fashion magazine. No dojo has any responsibility to correctly present Japanese culture as part of its training. Martial artists are not military re-enactors who strive to get every detail of their uniforms and behavior historically accurate.
"I agree. Frankly, I think much of karate training would be better if participants wore sweatpants or some other loose-fitting clothing. The culture of traditional Japan, however, is obviously important in many dojo, so if it's going to be integrated into training, why not do it as faithfully and correctly as possible?
The way to maintain a culturally accurate atmosphere in the dojo as it relates to Japan is not best approached by watching movies or relying on the advice of self-styled experts. Often, karateka who have spent limited time in Japan see traditions but don't really understand them in context. Which is why a strange hybrid version crops up in some American martial arts schools.
Shinto tori gates find their way onto the front walls. Statues of the Buddha sit in corners. Images of dragons and tigers are everywhere. It's all supposed to look like something out of the exotic East. For the most part, however, it looks like there was a big sale at an import shop.
Sometimes well-meaning practitioners will ask Japanese people in their communities about the right way of doing things. You only need to visit your local sushi restaurant and see the katana displayed upside down and backward to know that this isn't always a solution.
Unfortunately, there's no easy way to acquire the knowledge necessary to do things the right way in a traditional dojo. Even if one has a teacher who knows these things, it's a slow process. Be willing to learn. Be willing to be embarrassed when your mistakes are pointed out. Always be ready to learn more.
And above all, don't wear a pastel hakama.
Dave Lowry has written Karate Way since 1986. For more information about his articles and books, visit blackbeltmag.com and type his name into the search box.
- Joe Lewis: Fix the 40 Most Common Kickboxing Training Mistakes ... ›
- Top 10 Mistakes Martial Artists Make in Competition - Black Belt ... ›
- Top 10 Mistakes Martial Artists Make in the Dojo - Black Belt Magazine ›
The placebo effect is a psychological phenomenon which happens when we believe in the beneficial effect of things and objects that, realistically, do not have it. The influence of the placebo and the placebo effect is usually connected with medicine, but it can be found everywhere around us in our daily lives, e.g. if placebo didn't exist, neither would marketing.
A couple of these interesting facts will reveal the omnipresence of this intriguing phenomenon.
In Latin, the term "placebo" literally means "it pleases" (lat. placere = to please, to be liked). Placebo is defined as a "suggestive drug" which is not efficient and harmless. Its efficiency exclusively depends on the strength of self-suggestion of each individual person. Its application has been used since 1785 when this term was first used in a medical dictionary as an – ordinary method or drug.
Since each treatment is accompanied by a placebo effect, the effects that are assigned to drugs vary among patients as well as doctors. A patient who has a positive opinion about doctors, nurses and hospitals is prone to have a more positive reply to placebo and on an active drug, in comparison to a patient who has a negative attitude and will more likely deny the beneficial effects of the same drug or will develop side-effects. A positive effect is more likely when both the patient and doctor believe that an intervention will be beneficial. The placebo effect is being observed during each treatment in medicine (e.g. pharmacotherapy, psychotherapy or in surgery) as well as in alternative medicine. The placebo effect is sometimes as strong as certain pharmacological effects of a medicinal substance (i.e. a drug).
There are two factors that have a crucial impact on the placebo effect. The first is, certainly, an optimistic attitude which is also referred to as suggestibility, faith, hope or optimism. The very belief that you are taking a medicinal substance brings improvement. The second is a spontaneous change, which can often be even more important. Namely, spontaneous improvements are often perceived without any treatment. If such a spontaneous improvement appears after applying the placebo (a non-effective substance), it is understandable that the merit for one's betterment will be attributed to the placebo, as inappropriate as it may seem.
Generally, doctors are not fond of giving the placebo intentionally and secretly (opposed to clinical trials) because such "cheating" will disrupt the mutual trust they have built with their patients. However, despite their aversion to prescribe placebo, doctors sometimes meet patients who are completely convinced that they will forestall or suppress some illnesses by taking certain substances, although there is no scientific data to prove this viewpoint. The reason lies in the fact that each drug has a placebo effect, i.e. good and bad effects which are independent from active chemical ingredients.
In order to distinguish real drug effect from placebo effect, researchers have been comparing drugs with placebo. In such studies, half of the subjects have been receiving the drug during the study and the other half have been receiving the placebo which is identical in form. In such studies, it is ideal if the subjects as well as the researchers do not know who has been receiving the real drug and who has been given the placebo (such studies are called "double blind"). Science has determined that each drug has two therapeutic effects: the first one thanks to an active ingredient and the second one because of one's belief that he/she will get better. The latter phenomenon, known as the placebo effect, appears among a third of the patients who receive therapy under the condition that they are sure in its effectiveness.
Many theories, discussions and even comprehensive, serious, pharmaco-biological and clinical trials exist and are directed towards trying to solve the enigma surrounding placebo and its real clinical efficiency. One such recently published research shows how doctors may, one day, start prescribing placebo-pills to their patients suffering from chronic pain. Such pills will reduce the pain as efficiently as any "real" painkiller that can now be found on the market. A research team from the Northwestern University of Feinberg, Chicago has examined the brain anatomy and psychological characteristics of patients and has proven that it is possible to predict which patients with chronic pain will efficiently react to the false "sugar" pill that is placebo.
'Their brain is already prepared to positively respond to placebo', says the leader of the research, Vania Apkarian, Professor of Physiology at Northwestern. 'Its psychological and biological cerebral constitution is the cause of its suggestible state in which, if you claim that the pill will reduce their pain - their pain level will really be reduced. 'Such a patient isn't necessary to deceive', says Apkarian. There is a biological base supporting the placebo response.
Research has shown that all subjects sensitive to placebo have a similar brain centre structure: neural emotional centers are larger in the right side of the brain and their brains have a somewhat larger sensory cortex in comparison with subjects who haven't responded to placebo. Other than that, personality tests showed similar psychological traits: a high emotional self-awareness and an elevated sensibility to painful situations. The research was published in the journal Nature Communications.
Also, it is proven at a neurophysiological level that the use of placebo stimulates the frontal cortex as well as the core of the brain – the grey matter and the amygdala, activating dopaminergic pathways and, in a smaller measure, serotonergic pathways. This activation provokes feelings of relaxation and pleasure which corresponds to an improvement noticed by patients. However, the mechanism of impact of the placebo effect remains to be, in some of its parts, a mystery. What is intriguing in this process is what is seems to be a phenomenon in which abstract thinking effects some very basic and primitive processes which operate in a similar way among animals.
Peter Trimmer, a biologist from the University of Bristol, UK says that it all starter with research that showed that something similar to the placebo effect exists among many animal species. At first sight, this seems to be absurd. Why would an organism, if it can cure itself, wait the placebo's incentive to initiate it? An answer from an evolutionary perspective was offered by a new computer stimulation showing that the defense mechanism has a switch which is under the control of the mind. Trimmer says that there is a simple explanation for such a phenomenon – the process of starting an immune response is so exhausting that a strong and durable incentive might seriously deplete one's energy storages in the organism.
Among a number of recent studies, a research has been carried out among patients who suffer from Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), a type of illness which terrorizes a person with alternating constipation and diarrhea. Scientists have told these patients that they will give them a placebo pill made out of an inactive substance which, according to studies, showed a significant improvement through a self-healing relationship between the body and the mind. The result was predictable- a large majority of the patients felt much better.
Also, in another study containing 84 cleaning ladies from 7 hotels researchers wanted to discover if placebo could be used for physical activities. In 4 hotels, the cleaning ladies were told (convinced) that their everyday work fulfills a healthy and active lifestyle. They haven't told anything to the cleaning ladies from the remaining 3 hotels. A month later, they have discovered that the women from the informed group lost, on average, a kilogram in weight, their blood pressure was reduced by almost 10% and were much healthier from the perspective of fat percentage, body mass index as well as the waist to hip ratio.
If you want a better television, you can buy a super mega HD plasma...or invest in placebo effect. A new TV is expensive, but self-deception is free! What is this about? Dutch scientists have carried out an interesting study. Subjects were shown the same video on the same television, but only half of them were told that they can expect a high-resolution image. To make the matter more convincing, they set up commercial materials and flyers around this group's television screen and have connected it to a very large cable. The second group was told that they would be watching a regular DVD video. Subjects have, predictably, fallen for the trick and have concluded that the image was better on the "HD" screen.
Scientists get all sorts of ideas, but Australian psychologists are especially flaky. Their study has researched the effect of alcohol/placebo on the emotion of sadness and it looked something like this. In the beginning, they divided the subjects in groups that will receive alcohol or placebo (apple juice). Then they have put them in a bad mood and served them their drinks. The result was interesting. The improvement in their moods was similar in both groups, but only the feeling of inebriation was comparable. A similar study was carried out among student at Princeton University, New Jersey.
However, the weirdest study was carried out at Baylor School of Medicine which was published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2002 and which evaluated patients who have suffered from serious pain after knee surgery. The corresponding author, Dr. Bruce Moseley, who is an experiences surgeon, knew that the knee surgeries were helping his patients: 'All good surgeons know that there is no such thing as the placebo effect in surgery.' However, he tried to understand which part of the surgery helped his patients the most.
The patients who were participating in this study were divided into 3 groups. One group of patients had their damaged knee cartilage scraped off. The second group underwent a knee joint rinse so that any material that could cause inflammation was removed. The third group underwent "false" surgery, i.e. patients were given general anesthesia and Dr. Moseley gave them 3 standard cuts and behaved as if he was performing surgery. After the procedure, all 3 groups of patients were prescribed the same post-op care which included physical therapy.
The results were shocking. The condition among all patients improved. Dr. Moseley thought the results were both shocking and clear: 'Those patients weren't helped by my surgical skills at all. The whole benefit of the surgery of knee osteoarthritis was the placebo effect.'
The Placebo Effect and Everyday Life
The effects of placebo are usually linked to medicine, but they can be found anywhere around us. Did you know that pedestrian traffic lights are often used just so they could give us a sense of control? Or that the buttons used for closing the elevator door don't have any real function? Or that office buildings often have systems that emit a fake air conditioning noise and also fake heat regulators? Perception is the key to everything – psychologists, doctors, sports trainers (instructors) and various business people (managers), politicians or religious leaders know this and often use it. Sometimes even to our benefit (e.g. psychologists, doctors, sports trainers).
Today's unconventional (alternative) medicine, just like biomedicine, doesn't have any connections to the past (apart from a historical perspective) folk medicine, i.e. treatments done by different medicine men, healers, witches, etc. which is today thought of as backward. In today's terms, it greatly surpasses the ways that medicine men or witches prayed or danced in order to cheer up their gods and return one's health, send rain, etc. All medical systems as well as the parallel ones (alternative) have gone through their own developmental path and successfully supplement each other.
Today's, e.g. homeopathy, ayurveda, acupuncture, acupressure, phytotherapy, Chinese herbal medicine, bioenergetic therapy, reiki, chiropractic, osteopathic, manual medicine, various therapies that manipulate with the spine, bones or feet, aromatherapy, sound therapy, etc. are all systems for which different renowned and serious school and colleges exist in the world and where future experts – therapists are being educated.
Unfortunately, in many countries around the world, the law didn't precisely regulate how to run such a parallel, unconventional and alternative medical system so, because of that, many unqualified therapists-healers have taken advantage of such a chaotic regime and tried to make money thanks to the lack of knowledge and weakness of sick people. Such unprofessional therapists-healers are not at all or are not qualified enough to run such a business. These experts often identify their position of a therapist with some kind of messianic role (especially in the area of spiritual medicine and some forms of energetic medicine) so they turn it into a "comedy" which entirely lowers the value and dignity of their profession.
Such unqualified therapists take advantage of the fact which is pretty know today- thanks to placebo, i.e. placebo therapy 60-90% of illnesses can be improved among patients. Because of this, among others, many unprofessional spiritual medicine therapists, fake astrology experts, tarot card readers and others who unprofessionally take on other methods of esotericism find their place here. All of these different healers as well as some religious and spiritual groups offer one thing- salvation, enlightenment, new cognition, an increase in your physical and psychological performance, your spiritual growth and development. But is it all truly as they say?
Such unqualified (fake) therapists-healers often hang different medical images (charts, anatomy maps, chiropractic maps, maps that depict chakras, etc.) on the walls of their rooms (offices). This way, they are trying to impress you with their "knowledge" and their so-called professional titles so that you can become convinced in their qualifications.
But if you listen to them more carefully, you will see that, from the 639 muscles that the human body has, they are aware of just a portion of them (usually those are the biceps, triceps brachi, deltoid, pectoralis, abdominal muscles, gluteus, rectus femoris, soleus and sometimes the trapezius and adductor). They rarely know for any muscles outside of these groups.
Also, from the 370 acupuncture points on the human body that are known today, such fake experts will show you just as little as 10 acupuncture or acupressure points, usually those that have been known for a very long time. Even when they talk about chakras (although there are many explanations and theories from a scientific and spiritual viewpoint existing today), these so-called experts know how to explain only the basics about the 7 chakras and know very little about the basic flow of energy in the human body through chakras (the vortex of energy).
However, some of these unqualified therapists have something that one can envy them for and it is the way they convince people in the truthfulness of what they are saying, i.e. their healing "powers". Many of them have even convinced themselves that they are the right, i.e. true healers. And, what is most unbelievable, is the fact that there is even a bit of truth in what they are saying, i.e. in their therapeutic healing as well as their healing "powers".
Why is that so? The reason lies in the placebo effect which results from their efforts to convince people in their qualifications and the efficacy of their therapy.
According to some researchers, among 10 randomly chosen people, 4 of them will be totally under the influence of the placebo while 2 more will be partially influenced. In other words, among those 10 people, the placebo effect will, in a higher or lower measure, influence as many as 6 people. According to different research, that is a higher percentage of efficacy than doctors are able to achieve when introducing a new drug. In those cases, they are happy to achieve a 40% efficacy.
This is one of the reasons why today, according to the WHO (World Health Organization), classical medicine is ranked 4th according to its representation around the world. The first three places are held by other parallel medical systems.
The placebo effect is indispensable in aromatherapy. Namely, therapists will try to convince you in the healing properties of their therapy as well as the efficiency of various essential oils, perfumes, scented candles, flower arrangements, etc. that they use. Your head might start to ache thanks to all of the smells, your nose might become irritated or your skin might redden thanks to the oils, but they will say its all a normal occurrence. And you will, of course, believe them.
Similar goes for sound therapy. Namely, therapists will try to convince you that you will feel better if you listen to nature sounds, e.g. the sound of the sea (waves), wind or some birds, even the sound of a harp, violin, guitar, etc. You will feel better if you listen to Mozart, Tchaikovsky, Ravel or a similar composer. The real truth is that you would feel your best if the therapist would let you listen to your favourite music, such as blues, rock, country, etc.
Did you know that the color of a certain drug is not only used to diversify the type of pill, but that it also has a strong placebo effect? Pharmaceutical companies have been using these kinds of findings in color psychology for a long time and so: tranquilizers (pills) are usually blue, stomach medicine is green, strong painkillers and cardiovascular remedies are red, antidepressants and stimulants can be red, yellow or of a pastel color, whereas birth control pills are light blue or pink.
Patients suffering from depression have a better reaction to yellow pills, while patients that have a high blood pressure give advantage to white pills. For most people, red and black pills seem more efficient than those that are white, whereas brown color is thought to have a laxative effect. The shape of the pill as well as her price also play an important role in placebo effect. More expensive drugs are more efficient than a cheap one and a pill that tastes bitter has a better effect than a sweet-tasting one. Also, a pill that has the manufacturer's logo engraved in it will have a stronger placebo effect.
According to some medical-therapeutic theories, a person gets ill from 30% of illnesses that are of a physical or material character and today's medicine cures these types of illnesses pretty successfully. However, people also get ill from 70% of malignant illnesses which are of a spiritual and psychosomatic character and today's medicine is much less efficient in those cases. This is where the placebo effect and its power of suggestion come into play.
No matter the level of education of certain people, as it was previously mentioned, the placebo effect "works" at a higher or lower level among most people. It is sufficient to trust your doctor, the members of your family, your sports trainer, your friends or that you can be convinced by various therapists in the efficacy of their therapy. The placebo effect will come into play.
And if you think that you are not the type of person that can be tricked by placebo- don't be so sure of it because it greatly depends on a given moment or situation. You might be surprised because the placebo effect is much stronger than it is usually believed. An optimistic state of mind, i.e. a will to improve or being convinced that you will improve will gradually lead you to success.
A person who believes that he/she will get better and will succeed will do all the necessary work in order to, sooner or later, achieve that improvement or success. This effect is based on the fact which says that, if you have an expressed opinion that a certain situation or phenomenon will happen, the subject will do all the necessary actions that will cause all the pre-expected situations to happen.
This is often seen in the process of curing patients or when making some important business or life decisions. It can also find its purpose in sports and sport competitions. Your wish and belief in success will gradually lead you to it.
Placebo and the placebo effect, as well as its importance in everyday life, has a much larger role than it is given credit for.
- The Secrets of Immortality - Black Belt Magazine ›
- Magnesium for Martial Arts Training! - Black Belt Magazine ›
- Martial Arts and Mental Health - Black Belt Magazine ›
Although Jigoro Kano invented and promoted judo whenever he could, he earned his living as an educator. In his 1932 lecture Kano spoke on Judo and Education noting, these movements are also automatic acknowledgments of the crying need of efficiency and mutual welfare and benefit. They must be fostered by the educational forces of every country in which judo should have a prominent part.
From Nanka's - Jigoro Kano & Judo: The Secret Behind the Man Zoom Seminar featuring Lance GatlingIn formatting judo, Kano established a Syllabus for Kodokan Judo much like a college course.It is broken down in components based on the relationship and difficulty of the techniques. Kano also utilized belt ranks to designate degrees of knowledge based on testing.These became the foundation blocks of judo, all rooted in Kano's professional education and teaching experience.
It revolutionized the martial arts and brought them into the 20th Century. Further by making judo a way, Kano further differentiated it from the martial arts of the past. Learning is endless and a life long journey. Kaizen in Japanese means continuous improvement, Masaaki Imai, Founder of Kaizen Institute.
More thoughts and wisdom from the Nanka Zoom Seminar with Lance Gatling on Kano
A few Key Definitions from Lance Gatling's Nanka Zoom Seminar which had 124 pre-registered judoka
Energism is a doctrine that certain phenomena (such as mental states) are explicable in terms of energy. It is an ethical theory that the supreme good consists in the efficient exercise of normal human faculties rather than in happiness or pleasure : self-realizationism. This was Kano's goal of seeking perfection of one's character. Utilitarianism is a doctrine that actions are right if they are useful or for the benefit of a majority. In Judo, a win according to Kano - is sticking to 'the way'.
Dr. Mike Callan, 7th Dan is a quality judoka and a well-established contributor/consultant on education to many of the world's top tier Judo organizations. As an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology, Sport and Geography and head of the i-dojo International Judo Research Unit at the University of Hertfordshire, Mike's extensive experience of providing coach education has regularly been sought around the world. He is the Education Director of the Commonwealth Judo Association and Managing Director of the Judospace Educational Institute. His PhD relates to support for judo players in an educational environment. Mike was awarded the International Judo Federation Special Award for his services to education and research. Overall Dr. Callan is one of the world's experts on judo and coach education.
The video recording of Lt. Col Gatling's Seminar will be made available soon. It is Nanka's intention to release it under the umbrella of the Sharp Foundation.
One of my closest friends and mentor's is Black Belt Magazine 2x Hall of Fame Member Hayward Nishioka, 9th Dan who is a lifelong professor and very much of the same mind as Jigoro Kano. From my extensive discussions with him over the years I've come to appreciate the paradigm from which an educator views the world. It is an organized menu leading to self-discovery and personal growth.
Hayward once wrote in answer to the question of What is a Judo Sensei? A coach, a teacher, a guide, somebody a cut above a friend? Who are some famous sensei's? Why are they famous? What are they remembered for? Perhaps for the many champions they helped to develop. Maybe something even more simple. They were there to help you develop into more than you could be by yourself.
Hayward lecturing a coaching symposium at the Judo Winter Nationals®
Here are Hayward's thoughts on Kano's concept of randori free practice
Randori practice was one of the things that differentiated judo from much of jiujitsu. Jiujitsu practice for the most part consisted of prearranged forms of dangerous techniques. Both practitioners could safely, without injuring, work with each other because they both knew when the technique was to be applied and when the defense was to occur. These set prearranged sequenced of moves and were referred to as a "kata."
Judo's founder, Dr. Kano, took a different approach. He either eliminated or found a way around including dangerous techniques and rather than using kata to practice techniques he employed randori. Ran meaning chaos and dori or tori means to take. To take chaos was the name of the game. Both persons are at liberty to attack or defend at will while randomly moving all over the dojo floor.
So in this chaotic confusion of moving about both opponents are to seek out moments in which they can take and make sense of the moment by executing a beautiful technique.
Randori, in a sense is a kind of stand up sparing match, where the main object is to throw the opponent to his back cleanly. It is somewhat like what dogs do when they are play fighting. Their free-flowing movement back and forth and side to side in various directions allows them to develop a sense of movement and control over their body and to understand the limits of their ability in play, which if needed in a fight for their lives, will have been developed, ready to go.
What you are developing through this type of practice is to prepare the body for the "unknown factor," In kata practice you know what's coming next, in randori you don't. One has to instantly react to changing conditions and respond appropriately or lose. There is no time to think, the body has to have developed neural pathways that fire up muscle, some to contract and others to relax in a coordinated way to result in a positive reaction, be it to throw or to thwart. This often comes about faster for those who really have a burning desire to throw and have trained for years at randori practice. In highly trained individuals they will often say, " My body just moved, I only realized I threw my opponent after he or she was already on the ground. Sometimes when I'm about to fall off to sleep I'm still seeing the perfect throw and I'll see myself about to enter, and twitch hard and wake myself up. Crazy huhn?!
This hardly happens for the beginning student. Your first randori will feel as if you have turned into Robocop. Opponents will be hurky-jerky resistive, worried about being thrown more than trying to throw. Everything will seem angular and contracted if you are working with another beginner. The key thought will be, "I've just got to survive!" You will upon gripping the opponent start contracting every muscle you have even if you were told to relax and take the fall if it's a good throw. Because you are giving your all, your heart will be pounding against your rib cage, from the inside. Your chest will be heaving while taking in as much air as you can. You'll find yourself using up all the energy you had fairly quickly. Advance judoka know this and wait for you to burn yourself out, then they'll throw you. You'll think about what is being read here, but it will still happen. It's Okay! You're just a beginner and you are learning. You're right where you are supposed to be.
Half Randori Not to fret, In the beginning stages of randori it is too big of a step to go from learning how to fall and to throw and suddenly be tossed into the Lion's den as "fresh meat" ready for the kill. That's where ½ randori comes into to the play. In the beginning stages you don't want herky-jerky, you don't want Robocop judo, you don't want everything tightening up so hard you squeak when you walk.
It takes up too much energy, and you don't learn how to glide into techniques when moving about the mat. It's called ½ randori because while you move around and enter and defend randomly at will, the half you leave out is the throwing and resisting portion. To get you accustomed to entering into throws while in motion here are the rules.
1. There will be moving about but no resistance while moving about the mat.
2. At random whoever tries first enters into a throw, any throw. but no throwing is allowed, just moving, and entering. Slight lifting is okay.
Because there is no resisting, the person trying the throw will find it easier to enter and find the most comfortable way to do so. The person on the receiving side because he is not going to be thrown, can relax and not get so tensed up, and use up his energy. Generally for beginners there should be 3 to 5 rounds of ½ randori sessions lasting 3 to 5 minutes each round. The rounds should be with a mixture of opponents. Guys and gals, Some tall or economy size, some larger, some weaker, some stronger, with everyone getting a chance to practice with a different body type. This will bring to light the fact that certain techniques are better for some than others. Everyone gets to understand there is an advantage for everyone.
This is an important point for beginners as well as sensei. Don't just go from learning a stationary example of a throw and throw the beginner in with a class of intermediates who have been doing randori for some time. As a beginner at least get the feel of what it's like to randomly move about the mat and enter into a throw. Otherwise like may, you may get discouraged without this important intermediate step to get the feel that you can move and do the throw that you learned while standing in a stationary position. Even advanced athletes are advised to do ½ randori, especially when expanding your repertoire of techniques with new techniques, combinations, or entries. You need to get the feel of the technique before advancing on to regular randori. What I now know…
1. I now know that just because I know about how a throw is done it doesn't necessarily mean I can do it at will on a moving person who is resisting.
2. I can see the genius of Jigoro Kano's method of employing randori practice to prepare for the "unknown element" of an engagement that was superior to learning by the kata method. It's challenging and fun, to boot.
3. The difficulty in this type of randori training of the body is to relax and/or contract the appropriate parts of the body, at the appropriate times, under stressful uncertain conditions of a battle for supremacy,
4. I now know that the intensity level of this type of randori practice has in understanding one's own "ego verses physical reserves" has as the escalation factor comes into play. One has to spend their energy wisely or you will find yourself bouncing around the floor more than with checks without adequate funds to meet the bill.
5. I now know that if I want to get a better feel for a technique, I should do it over and over as many times need to in order to engrain the entry into my nerves and muscles. I can better understand the feel of the moving entry if I do more series of entries with a helpful partner. The instructor terms this practice ½ randori, where both at random move about and enter at will. Both are not to throw or to be excessively defensive.
Here are Hayward’s Think Tank Ideas
The following are ideas that may be used in the Nanka Think Tank (NTT) Group. They are not in any particular order currently, just listed 1, 2, 3. Etc. and will possibly be prioritized later. The purpose of the NTT is to stimulate thinking and to solve problems that confront us, not only in judo but possibly in our greater world. It's an organon.
1. Use the Stanford Design School Model. Ted Talks > Tim Brown have differing views, even opposite views/diversity
2. Apply heuristics and biases. (Daniel Kahnaman) availability heuristic,
3. Thinking backward: Start from the outcome and go backward to see where the problem came from. Think effect, and what caused it.
4. Problem solving approach: Problem>write it down(capture), Look at its origins, not just the symptoms,>List solutions>prioritize them>Problem may be multifaceted>list solutions for each problem> prioritize them.> Study them all and see if they are salvageable in a specific order that may require rearranging the priority order of solutions.>Select the best solution(s),> go for it!> Always review your outcome and study to see if it was done correctly or if corrections are needed in your thinking. Writing everything down is important in this process.
5. Related to biases is "traditions" and experiences, and trail treaded thoughts and mottos. i.e. Self-perfection, Mutual Welfare and Benefit, Maximum Efficiency, Minimum Effort.
6. Inclusive/participatory thinking: Often we exclude people of opposing views. Instead, include them to get a different perspective. It could have benefits.
7. Play as an important concept in learning: be playful rather than ridged. Sometimes it's like going to pee when your full and can't right away. Relax and things seem to flow better.
8. Thinking with your hands. Get the feel of things to solve a physical problem. You might use objects to represent an idea that you can move around or in place. Like physically pushing a person's hip or foot into place in order to get a proper throw in, like ogoshi.
9. Role-playing. Understand the conceptual idea from playing the role. Kids do it all the time when they play adult roles by dressing up like an adult. doctor, nurse, firefighter, etc.
10. Thinking back from the future: Picture yourself two or three years into the future. If your decision was a success or a failure, write down all the reasons that come to mind why? List also what you internally feel about your situation. What if you had taken a different path?
11. Think like the opposition: Often you are holding an opposing view to another person. Think what he is thinking. What he will gain. What he will lose. How much effort he will expend to get what he wants.
12. Faces are not always the result of an emotion. The reverse may also work to trigger the emotion. Didn't your mother ever tell you, "keep making stupid faces you may wake up to that reality? Stupid is as stupid does. Smile even when sad, it seems to help. Why?
Hayward Nishioka & US Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell of CO Retired, July 2021
(Senator Campbell was a member of the 1964 US Olympic Judo Team)
I'm always looking for new subjects to write about regarding judo as well as contributions from my readers. Please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org, thanks.