The training entails the practice of general manouvers that aim to protect the practitioners' health in case of falls or other peril or that add efficency, strenght, balance, and stability to movements. Fighting techniques are generally practiced with a partner. Sets of techniques can be assembled into combinations according to some simple principles.

Each training unit consists of warmups that strengthen important muscle groups and raise the body's core temperature to avoid injury. Sometimes, light stretching of major muscles is included to protect the joints and extend the range of motion. The practitioner learns how to fall with minimum or no injury and how to move efficiently. The main part of each practice should be the learning or practicing of a technique or combination with changing partners. Combinations generally start with a partner attacking in a certain way, the combination is used as defense. The partners take turns practicing defense or attacking. Finally, a light fight with a partner (a so-called "randori") can be used to gain experience and to practice application of various techniques and combinations.