Sunday, May 2, 2010

Ordering Chaos - Randori

A very cryptic and wise book on the subject of esoterica is the "Principia Discordia". In it there is a passage that makes a very curious statement. CHAOS IS ENERGY!

Chaos indeed is energy. At times chaos has been defined as the infinity of space or formless matter supposed to have preceded the existence of the ordered universe. Chaos indeed is the primordial soup. It is the raw building blocks of construction of....order and the phenomenal universe.

In classical Japanese martial arts, many train with the concept of randori 乱取り. Randori is used to describe free-style practice or sparring, sometimes with multiple attackers.

Lets take a look at the characters.

a rebellion, a revolt, an uprising, disturb, disarrange, disorder, confuse, chaotic

take, pick up, hold, seize, get, obtain, secure, have, deprive, reserve, order

Randori is often translated as 'chaos taking'. Other combinations of the ideas behind the characters take on some artistic and conceptual poetry to aid in understanding. How about 'depriving a revolt', 'securing the uprising', 'seizing disorder', 'taking confusion', and my favorite; ORDERING CHAOS.
I see the concept of randori also getting played out in the Japanese garden.  Nature is constantly reintroducing chaos back in the order the gardner tried to create.  A garden is a balance a nature and man's influence - a form of ordered chaos.

Whether it is the universe channeling it's energies into patterns that make the stars and planets, or the budo man dealing with the problems of attackers - the concept of randori is at play. Once YANG's chaotic energies bubbles forth, YIN ordering influence works to shape it into creation of form.

In budo, we learn progressively to put ourselves into increasingly difficult chaotic situations, primordial soup of the creation of waza, technique. By applying the principles that guide efficient ordering, we learn to shape the chaos into patterns and shapes that our nervous systems grow to recognize and can effectively deal with. We need not put energy into the creation of technique - chaos is energy and we merely order the energy into form.

Creation from the chaos.

Let there be technique!

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