Originally posted by Arianah
What are your thoughts on how to neutrally maintain ma ai?
Hmm. Okay, to me, maai is not a set thing which CAN be maintained. There are, in training terms, specific intervals (tooi maai, issoku-itto-no-maai, chikai-maai for instance).
However, aside from learning set pieces (kata) as we do in the dojo (yes, even in aikido, almost ALL non-jiyuwaza or non-randori training is, truly, kata), maai is a fluid, dynamic, malleable thing.
The point, I think, is less to control the maai (which can be done), than to find the rhythm and flow and use the maai as it creates itself.
If you try to impose training restraints on a more fluid situation, you're likely to get caught up in the applying part and get thumped.
Rather, try to move in the maai as it establishes and re-establishes itself. In this way, you can operate fluidly and dynamically as the engagement develops.