I've seen mentioned here a few times that my ma-ai should be that I can hit my opponent in one step, but he can't hit me with one step.
In practice, it seems like a lot of people have very similar if not the same ma-ai. Especially with people of the same height, it seems like their one-step-to-hit distance is the same.
Is there something more to ma-ai than just distance?Answer:
Thank you for your question. That is a good question. It is very hard to explain but I will try.
It is true that your body structure and your opponent’s affect the distance. However, kendo is not only “physical”. Seme includes taking over “space” physically but you probably have experience this; even in daily life.
Sometimes you can feel some “pressure” from a person who is “invading” your personal space not physically but “mentally”. You feel pressure just from the existence of this person who is talking to you. You know why but you feel overwhelmed. This is a seme too.
If you close your eyes and get someone walk towards you, you can feel some kind of pressure from that person. Right, even when you cannot see him/her. That is energy from that person.
This plays a great deal in kendo.
You can also control physical distance with your arms too by extending and bending your elbows. Also you can “steal” the distance by your right foot. You can slide your right foot in without your opponent knowing it.
There are physical and mental distance in kendo and you will gradually learn how to control these as you progress
Hope this helps.