Technical pair form training in hokei provides an opportunity to learn the fundamental principles of Shorinji kempo but the ability to act appropriately in response to the spontaneous actions of an opponent is absolutely essential for self-defence.
In physical conflict an aggressor cannot be expected to obey any predetermined rules of conduct and as such the practitioner must learn how to apply the principles of Shorinji kempo in a spontaneous, unpredictable encounter. Randori practice provides a safe environment within which to develop the awareness, control and sensitivity required in such circumstances.
Whilst success or failure to protect oneself in randori are key experiences to learn from it is not an opportunity for practitioners to compete. Any emphasis on winning or losing diminishes the essentially co-operative spirit of Shorinji kempo and runs contrary to the correct practice of budo. However, this co-operative approach does not in any way detract from the practical value of randori practice, which is challenging, instructive and very enjoyable. From a very early stage in training randori practice provides practitioners with an opportunity to explore the complexities of an unpredictable encounter. Training offers a broad range of exercises to develop the skills required. As the practitioner's skill improves, the intensity and complexity of practice is increased but throughout the process, the emphasis is on safe, enjoyable, productive learning.
Shorinji kempo training is founded on the ideal of students enjoying their training together with others, making friends and helping one another to make progress. Any practice that stresses winning and competition as its purpose limits the range of technical practice and ultimately panders to the ego.