This literally means ‘Stealing an eat’. It is grammatically unsound of course, but that is not the point here.
In a martial arts context over this side of the world, when we say ‘偷吃 步’ or ‘偷吃’ we mean it as a ‘sneaky move’ or a ‘short cut’. When we use it that way, it would mean to move into a position to sneak up on your opponent, or to be poised unsuspectingly to surprise your opponent.
That would usually means, that you are, to begin with, is already in an unfavourable position, or you would like to more into a ‘more favourable’ position as compared to your opponent.
In a kumite, this often happens when you are shuffling your feet, (not the LMFAO type of ‘shuffling‘) to close in the distance on your unsuspecting opponent, and when the window is open for a strike, you are already poised to seize it, usually with a single leap, and a decisive punch. It is very much like a chess game, you shift and move yourself into a strategically superior position.
In an Aikido context, to ‘偷吃’ would means a weakness in a stance, either the stance is too wide for comfort or too narrow. if a stance is too narrow for your height and leg, you’ll usually and more often than not unconsciously take a half, or a quarter step to correct your stance. The corrected stance is your natural stance.
So if the corrected stance is the natural stance, then why did we adopt a wider or narrower than usual stance?
It is a matter of our desire, leaking into our physicality. too wide a stance, we subconsciously display an extroverted desire. If a stance is too narrow to be natural, then there is a defensive nature, which will invariably attract an attack.
For me, i tend to take a wider than natural stance, as i favour a stability, which inherently affected my agility. Sometimes, in irimitekan, we turn too much or not enough, either way we need to adjust, and this sometimes happen when we are unconscious about it. The correction which we made, which are not know to us, is it us ‘stealing’ to gain an advantage over others, or does it allow others to catch us thieving?