The popular Facebook group “Aikido” shares well-written content about the traditional martial art, and the technical notebook.
Regardless of the technique and the movement employed, if the proper distance between oneself and the opponent is not maintained, one’s posture will be broken, the technique will be rendered ineffective, and the opponent will be able to counterattack.
Ma-ai (combative distance) determines the viability or futility of a technique.
Simply stated, a good ma-ai puts one in the best possible place— you can strike the opponent at will but he can find no openings in your defense.
When mai-ai is properly grasped, proper distancing will not just be a physically calculated interval, but also involve the functioning of mind, ki flow, maneuver-ing, as well as your position in time and space — indeed, all aspects of a technique.