Hand randori is something that I didn’t start really developing until 3rd or 4th degree black belt. Before that, we just didn’t have enough background techniques to really be able to feel or appreciate the nuance of it. While randori can be done at any level, it takes a certain amount of experience to be able to appreciate the internal aspects and complexities.

This is a drill that I put together for my aikido classes. It can be done at any level and is designed to help those new to randori appreciate the feel and the flow, as well as recognizing the “gotcha” points where you can take an opponent’s balance. This is not about performing any specific move or technique, nor is it about trying to “take” your partner off-balance. Practicing this move will help in other techniques as well. It seems like a simple drill, but it may pave the way to you grasping the more internal parts of aikido – such as flow and lightness – at an earlier stage in your training.