Bernie, I think you've got an interesting cross-training arrangement. I look forward to hearing your input on this subject in the future as you get better at both arts.
Peter's response reminded me of a question I have been meaning to post, so I throw this out to whoever might be willing to drop a few lines -
I notice that frequently when these types of questions come up, the answer, "ma-ai" is presented as the key to prevailing in the situation for the Aikidoist. I sometimes wonder if Aikidoists put too much hope in this concept. This may just be a reflection of my limited knowledge on the topic:
Does ma-ai just refer to keeping a proper distance from the opponent to allow your application of technique ? As a former fencer I appreciate the concept. However, outside the dojo (or fencing strip) you frequently have to deal with the distance (and terrain) you are given. If you are actually forced to fight, and not exit the situation, that probably means the distance is up close and personal.
What are your thoughts on the practicality of maintaing ma-ai outside the dojo ?