The framework of the 2017 edition and general guidelines:
The aim of the Randori Taikai is for the trainee to challenge and test him/herself for further personal growth in Jujutsu. This is not a competition, but a learning experience, a test of technique, stamina, strategy, control, and overall skill against resisting opponents. Proper Budo etiquette must be adhered to at all times.
Honours: Doryoku Sho (Great Effort Award), Shorei Sho (Commending Award) and Yushu Sho (Outstanding Award). Awards are awarded on merit and are decided by the Judges on overall performance of the trainee in all his/her bouts combined and are based on; control, technical precision, strategy, endurance and overall skill. Had this been a competition, only a submission would count for victory, based on our view that such competitions should be on a submission only basis. Official certificates are also presented in conjunction with the award.
Examples of what the Judges look for: body movement, distancing and managing gaps, technical strength rather than excessive force, use of pressure, timing, defending, escaping and countering, breathing and energy management, ability to withstand force and attack, mental self control, awareness, ability to hold ground against bigger and stronger opponents etc..
Types of Randori: Juniors 5-8 years: Grappling. Juniors 9+ years: Self-Defense and Grappling. Adults: Self-Defense, Grappling and Full Randori (including striking).
Protective Equipment: For Self-Defense and Full Randori, protective gear is worn: Grappling Gloves and Shin with Instep Guard. Males wear a Groin Guard and Females wear a female chest guard. (Mouth and Head Guards; if the student wishes).
Groups (categories): Based on experience and applicants’ characteristics and credentials.
Format: All trainees of each group take the mat at the same time and in pairs. Each participant performs against every other participant of his/her category.
Weight, size and sex are not decisive on how the groups are formed. This is based on the fact that this is not a competition and away from the Dojo an attacker can be of any size. Advance points are awarded to those who are able to hold their ground, outperform and/or show promising performances while performing against larger and stronger opponents.
The changing of opponent is signalled by the playing of the Dojo Drum twice and the partners change randomly, not being with the same person twice. Time limit is at the discretion of the main judge and depends on the size of the group and overall outcome of all bouts taking place at the time. The end of all bouts for the category is signalled with the playing of the Dojo Drum 4 times.
Control is very much part of technique and thus the participant must take special care and apply his/her techniques in a clean manner with full control and without inflicting injuries to his/her opponent in any way. Dangerous techniques and irresponsible actions result in negative points and can result in total disqualification from event. Jumping techniques of any kind are not permitted.
For the Self-Defense type Randori, attacks used are based on: Punching, Kicking, Grabbing, Grabs / Holds and Strikes and Knife attacks, both standing and on the ground.
For the Adults Full Randori: Striking to the: throat, spine, joints, biting or any dangerous attacks result in negative points and can result in total disqualification. Excessive force is not of any benefit towards final ranking and results in the negative.
If the participant is put into a submissive lock or choke or needs to stop for any reason, he/she taps hard on the mat or the opponent. The bout starts again immediately until the main judge signals the end.
Victory is not celebrated, but full respect in-line with proper Budo etiquette is exercised at all times.
The awardees of the 2017 edition:
Yushu Sho (Outstanding): Jake Attard, Dannica Micallef, Andreya Muscat Farrugia, Justin Cassar, Kyra Scicluna, Melchior Cucciardi, Craig Cooper, Emma Bonnici, Nico Micallef, Joseph Bajada, Isaac Bajada, Stephen Dalli, Miguel Sacco, Shaun Gaffarena, Michael Buhagiar, Kyle Stone, Terence Moses Bartolo, Feras Abouhasson.
Shorei Sho (Commending): Jerome Pace, Gabriel Tabone, Jade Nygaard Andersen, Ryan Micallef, Krista Bonnici, Dailin Agius, Denzel Akinola, Sheldon Stone, Gianni Muscat Farrugia, Triston Spiteri, Jamie Azzopardi, Jaydon Micallef, Beppe Bonello, Wesley Azzopardi, Dylan Curmi, Gabriel Busuttil, Kurt Falzon, Dillon Vella, Anthony Caruana, Bion Urry, Matthew Sammut, Ephraim Schembri.
Doryoku Sho (Great Effort): Owen Polidano, Keyon Farrugia, Andreas Agius, Helen Eneva Bonello, Vladeorghe Attard, Leah Scicluna, Bertie Briffa, Luca Spagnol, Cameron Shires, John Sant Portanier, Francesco Giorgina, Kynan Gatt, Jake Poulton, Lynn Zammit Russell, Owen Zammit, Isaac Nappa, Etienne Scicluna, Aaron Borg.