Re: M: Maai, Metsuke, and Musubi
In my training, I was introduced to these three concepts before my instructor ever talked about "aiki". In hindsight, I think that was good. I know, I know, the aiki people want to introduce aiki sooner in training... But... When I first learned to play baseball, I remember my coach telling me, "learn to swing first, then worry about hitting the ball." We spent hours clinic-hitting, never swinging at a live ball. Once I learned to swing well it didn't matter what I swung at, fast ball, curve, slow pitcher, fast pitcher. I was 8 and I remembered my lessons right up until I gave up the sport.
Maai - proper distance. Understand your surroundings and where you should be. Metsuke - casting a gaze over your opponent to soft focus your field of vision (the eye contact is new because I was taught not to make eye contact unless I could steal my partner's spirit). Musubi - create a [physical] connection to your partner. We would practice these things before we ever took a stance. If I had proper distance, I could see the entirety of my partner's actions. If I could see the entirety of my partner's actions, I could move with parity to maintain proper distance to my partner. If I could maintain proper distance to my partner...
Great article Lynn,