Ma-ai: “Distance & Timing”
Distance is an extension of your body and how it interacts with your training partner. Just as we are all different in shape and height, the correct distance for one is not the same for another. Understanding distance allows you to adjust your movement in harmony with your training partner. At the kyu level there are three distances to understand.
The first distance has you and your training partner far enough away that they can’t reach you unless they take a few steps forward. This is the best distance to be at since if they want to attack you they have to close, and that gives you lots of time to run.
The second distance has you and your training partner one step away from each other. With this distance you can be attacked with your partner taking a single step, but this still gives you time to move to escape.
The third and final distance is when your training partner is up so close that they can hit or grab you without taking a step. This is not a good distance to be at since they can attack with speed and little notice.
The length of your legs, your training partner, clothes, shoes, terrain, and weapons all contract and expand distance and you need to adjust on the fly for each variable.