When I first started Aikido my greatest influences were obviously Dee and Jerry. I recall Robert being particularly helpful as well. In many ways I have found the basic technique instilled in me from the very beginning helpful. Plus Dee’s unique way of teaching randori through different types of ‘games’ each designed to focus on a particular aspect of freestyle was extremely useful. In fact that is the one thing lacking in New York. The randori class here is actually a jyu waza class. Your attackers will not gang up on you if you stay in one spot and throw. They wait patiently on the sidelines until you are free. Its quite boring actually. I find myself wishing Dee would come and teach the class.

There is only one instructor here that focuses on the strategy of randori. Sadly, Junya only teaches one or two evenings a week and doesn’t always do randori. The last time I did it in his class I felt my skills in this area had slipped. I know the principles of good randori, short entrance techniques, looking at your next attacker immediately after connecting with the present one, moving so that attackers block each other, being aware of walls, using uke as a shield, and not letting people get behind you to attack. After that a variety of basic techniques and some flair can be added if you are in a good position. I heard a story of Toshi a former deshi who finished his randori for a test in suwari waza. That is some cool stuff right there. I hope I’m that good one day.