The space or distance between opponents in a kendo match is called maai. There are three distinct maai or distances as measured with both opponents in chudan kamae: chika-ma (close distance), issoku-itto-no-maai (one step distance), and to-ma (far distance). These defined distances are fixed and the same for both opponents. The preferred distance is the classic issoku-itto-no-maai (one step distance), in application a short persons step is shorter than a taller persons step making the one step maai or distance different for each opponent, often this distance may over lap just short, or a little longer with how close the opponent prefers to strike in one step. The preferred distance each opponent seeks to strike in one step is a constant battle to maintain. Besides the transitional maai, the preferred ma-ai does not just happen it is most often the distance both opponents nonverbally agree to strike each other in one step, or a distance forced by one of the opponents. A master swordsman will manipulate this distance to their advantage, keeping just far enough that opponent is not able to land a strike yet close enough that they are able to easily strike, never allowing the opponent to dictate what maai to use. Awareness of your opponents preferred ma-ai should never be over looked. Learning to force your opponent to accept your preferred maai while not allowing your opponent to dictate the maai is a subtle but essential lesson in kendo. Keeping track of your opponents preferred ma-ai will give you a masterful advantage to defeat your opponent.