Re: Personal Space
I believe I shared the following at some time, maybe many years ago:
One of my high school English teachers in Miami had taught much in South America and elsewhere. Seemingly out of nowhere, she called my name and asked me to stand next to her. I got up, went to the front of the class, and stood. Then she asked a Dominican student to stand on her other side. She asked the class if they noticed anything. A student said that I was a few feet away while the Latin student was practically touching her. The teacher said that European-descent Americans like me are reared to keep about three feet of distance, while Latin Americans are raised to be comfortable much closer.
During my training in Miami, I found myself amongst many Latinos y Latinas. Looking back, I really wish I had conducted a simple experiment when it came to initial ma-ai with them. Also, I wonder if Central and South Americans find the inherent closeness of Aikido training to be more natural than I do.