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Old 01-30-2007, 02:42 PM   #51
Robert Rumpf
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Re: Musings on combat distance

Quote:
Kevin Leavitt wrote:
It'd be cool to figure out what the distance between our maŠi is right now. What is your 8 digit grid coordinate?
Great circle distance, small circle distance, rhumb line distance, or slant line distance? Hehe... I left my PLGR at my last job.

Rob
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Old 01-30-2007, 03:03 PM   #52
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Re: Musings on combat distance

PLGRs are soooo old school now.
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Old 01-30-2007, 05:05 PM   #53
Lan Powers
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Re: Musings on combat distance

I am a solid believer in Bowdeen'an mathmatics so I see the beauty of this system.
You know Jethro and his "gos-inta's"
1 gos-inta 2 , 2 goz-inta 4 You know, like that.


Lan

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Old 01-30-2007, 07:44 PM   #54
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Re: Musings on combat distance

Hi George (and others),

Yes, I see what you are saying. Fully. I agree, you cannot learn art from a diagram; the map is not the territory; you cannot eat a picture of a cake -- all true. One cannot master or understand the finer or defining points of maai via mathematical formulas. One has to do it to be it, and one has to be it to do it. All true, and all very problematic for anyone that chooses not to delve or that cannot delve into the depths of the experience of maai but expects comprehension nevertheless (which is not to suggest that this is what Justin is doing -- he is not). Two points remain however (for me):

1) Does this mean that one cannot go backwards -- from maai to math? Answer: I imagine in a general sense (i.e. What is maai?), this would be impossible. However, in a particular sense, dealing with a specific example (i.e. What is the maai for Shomen-uchi Kote-gaeshi when Jon is uke and Sam is nage and it is being performed in this dojo?), it does not seem that there is anything in maai that would resist a theoretical explanation of a given sample, be that philosophical or mathematical. Thus, I do not feel we should be so rejecting here. Perhaps, a better discussion could follow if we look for what such an analysis might capture -- as opposed to all it will not or cannot.

On the positive side of things, models, while not good for birthing understanding can indeed further understanding. Theoretical models have always been part of the martial arts -- even Osensei's Aikido. A model I tend to use is In/Yo -- in a general sense. For example, knowing there is always a bit of In in Yo, and vice versa, after assigning something In, or Yo, I look for the contrasting element within the former -- knowing, theoretically, that it has to be there (even if I have not experienced, seen it, or felt it). So, for example, I look to find the irimi in my tenkan and the tenkan in my irimi. With the model, I look for it, before I experience it, but after I know it. This is a big plus of models.

All one has to do is be cautious of how a model might limit us or restrict us. Therefore, one has to be ready to subvert one's model -- always. However, this can be done with another model. For example, I may take a model of union and universals. Such that I may say (to myself), "While the art can be divided into In and Yo, ultimately a oneness marks everything -- such that In and Yo do not exist." If that is so, I ask, "Can it not be the case that my tenkan can be irimi and my irimi can be tenkan?" Asking that, I look for it, and there it is -- a oneness, a mystical union of In and Yo, the absence of In/Yo -- an irimi that acts like a tenkan and a tenkan that acts like an irimi. Then, I might take the triangle and the circle and look for ways in which the triangle can spin and resemble (i.e. act like) the circle, and ways the circle can be positioned/timed so that it resembles the straight lights and points of the triangle. Etc. Here is what that all might look like:

http://www.senshincenter.com/pages/vids/tenchinage.html

Now, I imagine I could have trained and trained for 20 more years to solve what I never liked in the Tenchi Nage versions I was being taught (i.e. pushing or retreating in the omote version; tenkans that served no tactical purpose in ura versions, etc.), yada yada yada, but I was too plagued by the fact that there were folks training for forty years before me that still did those things and that wanted me too as well. In short, after a little experience has been gained, with experience, models can free us from ignorance as much as they can enslave us to it. They are not all, or only, negative. However, this is what I was hearing a lot of folks saying to Justin. When everyone was telling Justin that he was wasting his time, etc., I felt it more inclined to at the most say, "You might be wasting your time or you might not. It all depends upon what you want to do with it." Or, "Hey, that's a good start, let me know how it pans out for you as you work it into your real-life practice."

2) The fact that experience is necessary for understanding, suggests, not rejects, that subjectivity is part of the goal of discovery. Thus, if a person is used to understanding his/her world mathematically (and I am not), it seems vital that that person include mathematics in his/her experience of Aikido. For me, this is no different from the musician that sees music in Aikido or the painter that sees color in Aikido or the architect that sees geometry in aikido or the singer that hears sounds in Aikido, etc. In other words, we use what we are to discover what we can be. We have no other choice than this when it comes to self-cultivation. In short, this is not a restriction to growth -- it is the process of growth (as you well know). In the end, someone using a model similar to Justin's might well discover that his position is similar to everyone else's in this thread -- thereby rejecting his previous inclusion of mathematics. However, he cannot do that until he first remains who he is. In other words, he has to try it to see if it works or if it does not work. Me, I applaud those efforts -- knowing risks and mistakes are part of growth, not the end of growth. Thus, I felt inclined to speak up and suggest or hint at some more positive avenues for discussion. Here's one:

For all that Justin's model does not capture, it does indeed capture that there is a relationship -- dynamic and relative in nature (represented by the circle) -- between the "spinal ring" (i.e. the vertical core of one's body when standing) and the extremities of the body. This is because graphically the concentric circles share the same axis of rotation. If you look at beginner practice, you do not often see this being realized. In relation to uke, beginners often relate more to the extremities of the attacker than they do to the relationship that exists between the spinal ring and (for example) the arm ring. This often has them moving too much or too little, as well as too late or too early. As a widespread issue, this has aikidoka moving way more or way less than is usually tactically practical (note: look at how many different angles you see generally in Systema vs. what you see generally in Aikido). Because of this, aikidoka tend to move like aikidoka and no one else when it comes to their angles of deviation. In my opinion, this is a result of aikidoka tending to think only in terms of single elements -- e.g. the center or the arm and not in terms of relationships that remain dynamic and relative -- which is "feasible" because of how controlled training environments are (for the most part).

This is all I was meaning -- folks should be allowed, encouraged, to take their own stab at the art. When one reads rejection after rejection, it's hard to keep sight of that. So I spoke up. J

My opinion,
d

David M. Valadez
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Old 01-30-2007, 08:28 PM   #55
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Re: Musings on combat distance

Quote:
I just don't see how any type of mathematical calculation would be helpful in any way. It is not how the human brain processes...
On the contrary, it is exactly how it processes. The brain is a computer, the most complex ever so far, afterall. The calculations are just done behind the scenes.

For example, http://www.sciencenews.org/articles/...8/mathtrek.asp

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Old 01-30-2007, 08:33 PM   #56
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Re: Musings on combat distance

Quote:
David Valadez wrote:
However, this is what I was hearing a lot of folks saying to Justin. When everyone was telling Justin that he was wasting his time, etc., I felt it more inclined to at the most say, "You might be wasting your time or you might not. It all depends upon what you want to do with it." Or, "Hey, that's a good start, let me know how it pans out for you as you work it into your real-life practice."
The people who say "wasting time" have never bugged me, not even one iota. If they read the article, they will have read that I already said such thinking about distance has been personally useful to me.

I'm positive I will improve upon it in the future, too, and incorporate the good suggestions.

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"Let your weight from the crotch area BE in his hands."
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Old 01-30-2007, 11:46 PM   #57
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Re: Musings on combat distance

You should talk about your ideas for refining the model, perhaps we can reach a consensus. It's frustrating that I feel you are coming from a very different understanding as far as the nature of the system on which the model is based.

For example, my comment about "tag" - there are a lot of times and places I'm happy to let someone hit me, because I know theres no way they can generate any power (if they can even contact me). Sitting on top of someone, for example. I often invite people to punch me when I'm in mount, go for it. I once had someone tell me they could punch their way out of a rear naked choke... we tested that out; turns out I can choke better than they can punch over their own head (and no, eyegouges didn't work either, you can tuck and cover.)The places where optimal power transfers ("good shots") occur are very specific, and avoiding (and creating) those places is important - but they are more like the exception. The vast majority of places I could be with relation to an opponent are safe. This, to me, is such an important concept that to see the model lacking it was very confusing.
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Old 01-31-2007, 02:15 AM   #58
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Re: Musings on combat distance

Quote:
David Valadez wrote:
This is all I was meaning -- folks should be allowed, encouraged, to take their own stab at the art. When one reads rejection after rejection, it's hard to keep sight of that. So I spoke up. J

My opinion,
d
David, you are right. I should have kept my own opinion on the matter to myself. Apologies to Justin... I shouldn't have rained on your parade. If this stuff helps you, go for it.

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Old 01-31-2007, 06:37 AM   #59
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Re: Musings on combat distance

I am (politically incorrect) a western white boy, meaning I lead with my head. It is easy for me to get my body to move a certain way if my head is congruent and understands the concept/principle. The problem all too often is, I can get caught in the visual and auditory internal mental map and neglect feeling my way through the external kinesthetic territory of reality where the application is most appreciated.

BTW, I was once a math major and respect the effort that went into trying to explain reality mathematically. I just don't find people that congruent or consistent. I have never been hit by a math equation, though I have smacked myself while trying to solve some.

Lynn Seiser PhD
Yondan Aikido & FMA/JKD
We do not rise to the level of our expectations, but fall to the level of our training. Train well. KWATZ!
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Old 01-31-2007, 06:43 AM   #60
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Re: Musings on combat distance

Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote:
David, you are right. I should have kept my own opinion on the matter to myself. Apologies to Justin... I shouldn't have rained on your parade. If this stuff helps you, go for it.
George Sensei, this is the place for opinions, and yours is always of great value. Please don't feel bad about putting it out there, because we want to hear it.
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Old 01-31-2007, 10:15 AM   #61
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Re: Musings on combat distance

Hi George,

Well, like I said, I agree with you as far as learning maai -- this type of model is not going to cut it. Additionally, I can picture someone looking at it and start talking about long range, medium range, and short range weapons, etc., which would be quite problematic when it comes to Aikido kihon-waza, in my opinion. This is because any given weapon (i.e. tactical component of a given technique) could be delivered "up close" or "from afar" (making it both long and short range, for example), depending upon when in the spiral nage opts to deliver it. This all happens without the slightest variation, or should happen without the slightest variation, in extension. When extension doesn't need to be altered physiologically because range can be modified geometrically, the concentric circle model tends to not only fall short, it seems to be talking about something else entirely (e.g. Karate, maybe).

Aside from that, echoing Erick's post, maai for me is ultimately a spiritual matter. Meaning, for lack of better words, the training objective when it comes to maai is to loose all binary understandings of maai and non-maai. This puts me very close to what you are saying, because math is never going to get one to drop binary attachments. That is to say, the goal is to free the body/mind of its attachment to any given maai, such that non-maai ceases to exist. All that one is left with is the sense of being in the perfect place at the perfect time for whatever one is doing right then and there. When these three components exist, maai is present. Maai then is a uniting of what is given with what one wants/can use/is doing but with a person throwing out the chicken and egg issues once and for all. Maai is a total acceptance of the here and now. So, for me, maai, at a practical level, is about our capacity for non-resistance, our capacity for non-attachment, our rejection of egocentricism. It is about an emptiness of self.

Not sure, how to represent this mathematically, but if it is, with M equaling maai, M = 0, I'm not sure what one, anyone, can do with that equation. It seems you can only just look at it, the way we look at our teachers before we have any understanding of what they are doing -- look at it and go, "Oh, okay."

david

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Old 01-31-2007, 12:33 PM   #62
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Re: Musings on combat distance

Quote:
David Valadez wrote:
When extension doesn't need to be altered physiologically because range can be modified geometrically, the concentric circle model tends to not only fall short, ...
... Not sure, how to represent this mathematically, but if it is, with M equaling maai, M = 0, I'm not sure what one, anyone, can do with that equation.
The expression of your intuition is very interesting. I firmly believe that intuitions formed from rigorous expereince, when put into a more general mathematical construct can sometimes lead to interesting obesrervations from seemingly unrelated areas and physical parallels that may not be always obvious in plain language description.
Quote:
David Valadez wrote:
Aside from that, echoing Erick's post, ... the training objective when it comes to maai is to loose all binary understandings of maai and non-maai. This puts me very close to what you are saying, because math is never going to get one to drop binary attachments.
Actually, the math of some fairly commonplace dynamics, suggested by your own words, does just that. There are situations where a dynamic component reaches a mathematical infinity in a finite time (practically it fails before that). It is called a singularity. Mathematicians, with dry understatement, describe regions of singularity as being "not well-behaved."

The most commonly seen examples of this dynamic singularity are a bouncing ball, a snapping whip, or, more suggestively for the typical shape of movement in aikido -- a coin spinning and rolling along its edge without slipping (Euler's disk). http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Euler%27s_disk

That latter example precisely conforms to your description of "extension [that] doesn't need to be altered physiologically because range can be modified geometrically" And, in that case, the "concentric circles" literally do "fall short." In several versions of irminage, the dynamics are very similar to this in form and my own sense of the "feel." One difference is that irminage can concentrate as well as dissipate, which the coin cannot, but the shape is much the same.

I have discussed elsewhere the "snapping whip" or falling chain which similarly reaches a singularity where angular velocity at the end goes to infinity (practically, it is limited by the compression shock wave as it hits the speed of sound as the radius of the traveling loop or wave reduces to nothing.) Aspects of the ikkyo dynamic are similar in nature to this.

While Justin's approach may be wrong, it may well be a useful "wrong" that leads elsewhere.

Last edited by Erick Mead : 01-31-2007 at 12:41 PM.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
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Old 01-31-2007, 01:43 PM   #63
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Re: Musings on combat distance

I knew I sucked at math. Nevertheless, what you say sounds reasonable to me (i.e. meshes with my experience). Thanks for sharing Erick.

I agree with the last comment on Justin's model.

take care,
dmv

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Old 01-31-2007, 05:11 PM   #64
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Re: Musings on combat distance

Quote:
David Valadez wrote:

Aside from that, echoing Erick's post, maai for me is ultimately a spiritual matter. Meaning, for lack of better words, the training objective when it comes to maai is to loose all binary understandings of maai and non-maai. This puts me very close to what you are saying, because math is never going to get one to drop binary attachments. That is to say, the goal is to free the body/mind of its attachment to any given maai, such that non-maai ceases to exist. All that one is left with is the sense of being in the perfect place at the perfect time for whatever one is doing right then and there. When these three components exist, maai is present. Maai then is a uniting of what is given with what one wants/can use/is doing but with a person throwing out the chicken and egg issues once and for all. Maai is a total acceptance of the here and now. So, for me, maai, at a practical level, is about our capacity for non-resistance, our capacity for non-attachment, our rejection of egocentricism. It is about an emptiness of self.
Well, that's it really. The most important thing about ma-ai is how the Mind reaches oustside the ma-ai to connect with the partner / opponent long before he comes into range. De-ai or critical instant means that the movement needs to be ALREADY happening at that instant, not starting at that instant. this is entirely an issue of how one projects and maintains his attention on the opponent.

Ma-ai doesn't really tell you when you have to start doing something, it tells you the point at which it too late. The Mind is the real weapon here and I have no conception of how one would try to quantify that.

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Old 01-31-2007, 08:03 PM   #65
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Re: Musings on combat distance

Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote:

Ma-ai doesn't really tell you when you have to start doing something, it tells you the point at which it too late. The Mind is the real weapon here and I have no conception of how one would try to quantify that.
Perfectly said. Thank you George.

d

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Old 01-31-2007, 08:10 PM   #66
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Re: Musings on combat distance

Quote:
David Valadez wrote:
I agree with the last comment on Justin's model.
Ditto,


Justin

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Old 01-31-2007, 09:28 PM   #67
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Re: Musings on combat distance

Quote:
David Valadez wrote:
So, for me, maai, at a practical level, is about our capacity for non-resistance, our capacity for non-attachment, our rejection of egocentricism. It is about an emptiness of self.
Quote:
George Ledyard wrote:
Ma-ai doesn't really tell you when you have to start doing something, it tells you the point at which it too late. The Mind is the real weapon here and I have no conception of how one would try to quantify that.
Perfectly said. Thank you George.
Emptiness has shape -- defined by the positive space around it. We can quantify that shape and locate the edges of the hole. It is useful to define that -- as long as we also acknowledge that the emptiness has an expanse of depth that the surface it pierces can never fully reveal, however well-defined. The size of the formal opening on the surface does not betray the extent of space available to move within the formless center. That is what makes aikido so powerful.
Most technique, to my mind, is about finding that boundary very precisely, but not for the purposes of avoiding it. Aiki only works when one has fully committed to depart that boundary and then leaps in, like a diver -- with simultaneous abandon and precise control ...

Cordially,

Erick Mead
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Old 02-01-2007, 01:42 AM   #68
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Re: Musings on combat distance

Hi Erick,

Do you think that changes if you are attempting to express the subjective experience of emptiness? Do we experience the formal opening or the edges of emptiness once we are fully committed to depart or once we are fully departed? Or, doesn't "fully departed" mean the experience of the opening or the boundary is no longer possible? For me, I would answer all of these questions in such a way that it would be suggested that the subjective experience of emptiness, which is what I think George and I (and you) were once talking about, beyond quantifying shape. Sure, from an outsider, "objective" point of view, we can identify shape and boundaries, but from the inside, subjective point of view, I would still feel that math is missing something (by suggesting too much).

My thoughts,
d

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Old 02-01-2007, 08:51 AM   #69
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Re: Musings on combat distance

Quote:
David Valadez wrote:
Do you think that changes if you are attempting to express the subjective experience of emptiness?
The experience of emptiness as I would see it in this context (and perhaps others) is utter freedom, zero constraints, which may be both liberating, terrifying and potentially a temptation that is destructive in its own way. That freedom is perilously close to loss of control, and it must be, in order to be free. Singularity, again
Quote:
David Valadez wrote:
Do we experience the formal opening or the edges of emptiness once we are fully committed to depart or once we are fully departed?
Freedom and boundaries. A canonical paradox in every theology (and mechanical system) I know of. Take the leap and you are past the boundary. And free to act pretty much the way you want -- as long as you still respect the shape of the space that allows you that freedom. If the form is lost then inexorably the boundaries and the solidity that lies behind then reassert themselves, sometimes unpleasantly. I know this because it happens enough to me that I now see it when it happens. And generally I see what it was that caused my bit of empty space to collapse into solidity. Occasionally, I can make me not do that -- again.
Quote:
David Valadez wrote:
Sure, from an outsider, "objective" point of view, we can identify shape and boundaries, but from the inside, subjective point of view, I would still feel that math is missing something (by suggesting too much).
Another of my favorite aiki metaphors (also an incidence of singularity) is surfing. The breaking wave is in mathematical singularity, as the chaos of the breaking crest indicates. It is not "well behaved." You can surf there however, as long as you continue to be in the position of "falling in" and in harmony with both the chaos of the break and the linear curve of the swell. You have left the original boundary of static support, but that space you have entered is still defined by it.

If you do not resolve it to the boundary states of either "not falling" or "have fallen." you remain free in that empty place, where surfers are free to do pretty much what they want -- as long as they respect their boundaries. Hooker Sensei's focus recently on attention to uke waza even within the nage waza, calls up a great deal of this sensibilty for me.

It really is a universal paradox.

Last edited by Erick Mead : 02-01-2007 at 08:56 AM.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
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Old 02-01-2007, 09:11 AM   #70
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Re: Musings on combat distance

Quote:
Erick Mead wrote:
The experience of emptiness as I would see it in this context (and perhaps others) is utter freedom, zero constraints, which may be both liberating, terrifying and potentially a temptation that is destructive in its own way. That freedom is perilously close to loss of control, and it must be, in order to be free.
I used to practice occasionally by pretending I was O-Sensei. I tried to immitate that formless movement, the complete freedom of action. etc. One night I was teaching class and I was "in the zone"... no one could even touch me, I was experiecing that freedom you describe.

There I was, one with the Universe, when my uke punched me full force in the face. I couldn't decide which of the two guys I saw in front of me I should throw.

So, one with the Universe, total freedom of movement, lack of constraint is quite an experience... but the rules still apply and if you don't have them so programmed into your system on an unconscious level that you and the rules are inseperable, you still get some nasty surprises.

George S. Ledyard
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Old 02-01-2007, 11:01 AM   #71
Erick Mead
 
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Re: Musings on combat distance

Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote:
So, one with the Universe, total freedom of movement, lack of constraint is quite an experience... but the rules still apply and if you don't have them so programmed into your system on an unconscious level that you and the rules are inseperable, you still get some nasty surprises.
Amen to that. Sometimes, no matter what, you just get caught inside the break, in which case you had better revert to strong swimming and not be in its way.

I did forget the third case between "not falling" and "have fallen" -- it is "fallen on."

If you have ever gotten caught inside, BTW, you will innately understand the criticality of both "last-chance" maai and prompt irimi. You will also gain far greater appreciation of the gift of breath.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
一隻狗可久里馬房但他也不是馬的.
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Old 02-01-2007, 03:27 PM   #72
Michael McCaslin
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Re: Musings on combat distance

I don't know. One of the first things I remember being taught in aikido was that maai could be thought of as the length of a person's leg extended from his center (excluding weapons). If a person is inside the circle delineated by that distance you had better be controlling him.

Justin, I think your model could be simplified if you dropped the arm terms. Once a person is in punching range, he is by definition inside maai. Perhaps this is an overly simplistic view, but it seems fairly functional.

Michael
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Old 02-01-2007, 03:33 PM   #73
senshincenter
 
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Re: Musings on combat distance

Well, I think, for the most part, some sort of consensus has been reached in regards to maai in the general sense. It's difficult to impossible to quantify without some sort of qualifications being given. But, what about in the particular. I suggested, as have others, that maai could be more or less calculated or modeled or described within a specific instance. Some of us may do that via math, some with sentences, etc. What about taking a shot at it. Could we take one example and use it as a platform to discuss maai in its particulars - ? That might be kind of interesting. Might any of the videos from our website do? Or is some other sample more suited? Please feel free to offer whatever, but let's get some video examples involved.

just a suggestion,
d

David M. Valadez
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