Wednesday, March 04, 2009

DMZ - Discomfort ma-ai zone

Photo courtesy of Teamworker
We usually think of ma-ai as a safety zone around tori - a comfort zone. Well, another way to think about ma-ai is as a discomfort zone. A line that as uke approaches, tori becomes progressively more uncomfortable, until at two-arms-distance, tori is so intensely uncomfortable that he unconsciously begins to shift off the line of attack and toward a more comfortable space.
If you train a precisely-measured proper ma-ai sufficiently, your intuitive sense of ma-ai combined with your own sense of disomfort will make the off-line evasion and aiki brush-off a subconscious, automatic thing.
You don't want to cheat yourself out of that discomfort. Train with it, let it be part of you and bathe in that discomfort.
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  1. I saw the other day you mentioned finger tip to finger tip is incorrect. Why? I practice finger tip to finger tip, just because I feel handblade to handblade is actually too close. I feel Maai has already been broken. I know i am a minority when I say anything to sway my thought?

  2. I can put an answer to that, or at least an educated guess or justification for why we do the things we do - but you'll have to give me a day or so. I'm bushed right now and doped up on cough medicine.

  3. it seems to me that the old palm to palm came from a time when the habit in training was to work from 3+ steps away and practice picking up the evasion and balance break on the move as both uke and tori closed distance -- the tip to tip thing seemed to get more prevelant as habits shifted to more one step away from each other mode -- now we have a condition of ma-ai plus a burdensome condition of tori getting into motion from the static state-- tori has to move at the right time in response to ukes attack but if you also have to break the moment of inertia and you wait to the palm to palm interval to do it you will probably feel rushed and uncomfortable -- the unconscious starts adjusting and now you have ma-ai plus a compensation for the habit of training -- both are correct -- both give correct de-ai timing given the conditions that they are develpoed within--personally i still like the old catching it on the fly from olden times but most folkls habits these days are the more move from static forms

  4. Palm to palm also allows some resistance training - can't do this with fingertips, and for beginners constant pressure on the neck gets harsh. Kinda like hitting a heavy bag, but you get to feel if you have kuzushi on a human being


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