Peter Rehse (PeterR) wrote:
What I was trying to get across in my last post is that maintaining ma ai is active rather than reactive but in answer to your question I would assume that if you are being charged then the attacker has figured out that your body mass or strength is less than his. Meeting that situation with pure irimi could prove difficult.
I think that's right - in general I'd always choose to be proactive rather than reactive. In addition I would add that maai is not only active, but it is also flexible. People talk about "maintaining maai", and that seems to give the impression that maai is a fixed variable (actually it's 30.42 cm, but that's just between you and me
In reality maai flexes according to the situation, the people involved, and what is being attempted on both sides. Some things work better at on maai then at another - the trick is to get the maai you want out of the situation while the other person is trying to do the same thing.
Take a look at ballroom dancing and just think what it would look like if the exact same distancing were always maintained - they used to do that at school dances, and it looks pretty unnatural. Good dancers move through various maai depending upon the dances they are performing.
Also, I believe that it is possible to maintain control over maai while backing up, but it tends to be fairly difficult, so I would avoid it if you can - just ask any military person how difficult it is to execute a retreat in the face of oncoming forward pressure from the enemy without having it break apart on you. Not impossible, but not something that you'd make your first choice.