Peter Rehse (PeterR) wrote:
Drew - you misunderstand ma ai. Ma ai is combative distance - nothing to do with training except you train for combat. Your training should encompass the same feeling of ma ai as you would in a real situation - if not what is the use.
That's a rather sweeping statement to make -- especially as you've never trained with me.
In any event. Ma-ai literally means (as I understand it) the "distance of connection." There are several distances that we work from: (1) at the beginning of the technique, we'll be at one distance -- usually a one step striking distance. (2) During the technique, we'll have different distances from uke depending on the technique. These are all ma-ai. (3) During a dynamic practice like jiyu waza or randori, nage often has to deal with ukes either farther away, or close than, the one-step striking distance.
This is my training, and it does encompass what I'd expect in a dynamic situation outside the dojo.
Proper ma-ai at the beginning of a technique varies if one is using a jo, bokken, or empty hand. It's still, in my dojo, a one-step striking distance, but the physical space is different.
The original question seemed to be asking: "What do you do when somebody is either farther away, or closer than, the proper starting ma-ai?" My answer is that you do aikido. If the space is too big, you take it up. If the space is too small, then you create space -- often by simply throwing or striking uke without waiting for his attack.