Photo courtesy of Tommrkr
Having focussed on relaxation in January and posture in February, during March we are going to focus on ma-ai, or the time-space relationship between attacker and defender. Ma-ai is a principle that one hears preached upon in aikido and weapon classes all the time, and even though it is not as often taught explicitly in judo or karate-do, it is still vital that you have a good, intuitive sense of spacing and timing and the ability to control distance.
As a first glimpse of how important ma-ai is in all martial arts - not just aikido and kendo - following is Genshin Hironishi Sensei's definition from the Preface to Karate-do Nyumon:
... literally translated, maai means "(spatial) distance", but in this usage it also evokes a sense of timing, or chance. Thus, it indicates both the space and the time it takes for and opponent's fist to reach one's body. In the practice of both kata and basics, there is a tendency to forget maai and become absorbed solely in the repetition of movements...