I suspect that the practice of measuring ma-ai is currently in disfavor because of some misuses or misunderstandings related to it, like the zombie attack. But it is a valuable training tool, when used properly. This sort of practice is valuable for improving kamae, ma-ai, metsuke, and zanshin
How we were taught to begin techniques - prior to practicing a kihon (basic form) technique,
- Uke and tori stand in front of each other in a proper stance (kamae) - whatever that is according to their teacher Tomiki-students and Shioda-students prefer different basic kamae.
- Uke and tori extend their lead arms, nearly straight, with fingers touching or hands slightly crossed. This defines the basic operational distance for kihon (ma-ai).
- Then both partners lower their arms and look at each other for a moment. This allows both partners to get used to judging ma-ai distance visually instead of by measuring.
- When tori is ready for the attack, he establishes the visual connection (metsuke). Different folks will tell you to do this eye-control differently, but we were told for tori to watch uke's center while measuring and when ready for the attack, make eye contact and maintain it.
- Then uke attacks.
How we were taught to end kihon -
- Uke falls.
- Tori follows uke into a lock or pin (unless the throw is a projection)
- Whenever possible, tori lands uke either face-down or side-lying facing away from tori
- Tori places a knee and two hands on uke, chocking him and keeping him under control.
- Tori maintains as straight a posture as possible and looks around for more attackers.
- Uke submits
- Tori backs out of ma-ai moving toward uke's head instead of his feet.
- Uke turns to face tori, gets his feet between him and tori, and gets up moving away from tori.
Want to discuss this blog post?
Come find me on Facebook at my Mokuren Dojo FB group