“The exact meaning of randori depends on the martial art it is used in. In judo, jujitsu and Shodokan Aikido, among others, it most often refers to one-on-one sparring where partners attempt to resist and counter each other’s techniques. In other styles of aikido, in particular Aikikai, it refers to a form of practice in which a designated aikidoka defends against multiple attackers in quick succession without knowing how they will attack or in what order. This form of randori is not sparring, and the attackers are usually not allowed to resist or attempt to counter the defender’s techniques. The term is used only by Aikikai dojos outside Japan. In Japan, this form of practice is called taninzu-gake (多人数掛け?), which literally means multiple attackers. In kendo, jigeiko means “friendly” free combat as in competition, but not counting the points.”
Brian Kagen is an avid web researcher with a particular interest in martial arts. His training background includes both judo and aikido. He has contributed hundreds of article links over the years for AJ readers.