Best way to practice maai?
I run a small Kendo club in a very small & isolated community which I recently moved to. There are no sensei within hundreds of miles. Can you recommend some exercises & drills to practice the different maai?
Thank you for your question. Do you mean “distance”? If so, you have to know there are three kinds.1. Chika ma2. Issoku itto no ma 3. Tō ma
I recommend knowing about issoku ittō no ma
. Ideally you should strike your opponent with one step from this distance.
If you cannot reach your opponent with one step on to the right foot from issoku ittō no ma
then you should get closer into chika ma
. You can strike your opponent comfortably without losing a balance and destroying your good posture. Also you can learn a good ki ken tai icchi
Then you should try tō ma
and your opponent’s are not touching at all). Not many can strike from this distance with one step. You really have to physically fit. Usually we take a step forward onto the right foot so we can get into issoku ittō no ma
. By doing so, those who could not strike men
with one step from issoku ittō no ma
may be able to reach their opponent.
You can modify kihon
(basic) strikes with different maai
if you want. For example, men
strike from issoku ittō no ma
, chika ma
and tō ma
. Make sure you don’t start from chika ma
When you practice strikes in chika ma
, you should be in issoku ittō no ma
and before you execute strike, you should take a step forward to get into chika ma
Hope this helps.