Ai – Harmony. First character of Aikido.
Aihanmi – Both partners having same foot (right or left) forward
Aiki – Harmonizing of Ki
Aikido – Ai means harmony or coming together. Ki is spirit or energy. Do means a way or path
Aikidoka – Practitioners of Aikido
Aikikai – The names of organizations affiliated with Hombu Dojo
Ai-uchi – Mutual kill
Aite – One training partner. (literally, reciprocal or together. Ai means together and te means hands)
Atemi – Punches and other sorts of strikes to your partner’s unguarded areas, designed to distract and to weaken the defenses and/or balance. (Literally, ate is strike and mi is body).
Bokken – A wooden practice sword. There are many different styles of bokken. (Literally, bokku means wood and ken means sword).
Bu – Martial spirit
Budo – The path or way of martial arts. Literally, do means way and bu means neutralizing aggression. “A mind to serve for the peace of all human beings in the world is needed in Aikido, and not the mind of one who wishes to be strong and practices only to fell an opponent. There are neither opponents nor enemies for true budo. Therefore, to compete in techniques, winning and losing, it is not true budo. True budo knows no defeat. ‘Never defeated’ means never fighting.”
Bujutsu – Warrior’s arts
Bushido – Warrior’s code. The way of the warrior.
Dame – Bad, wrong or mistake
Eri dori – Collar grab from behind
Gyakute tori – Cross hand grab
Hiji dori – Elbow grab
Kata tori – Shoulder grab
Kata menuchi – Shoulder grab and strike
Katate tori – Single wrist grab
Menuchi – Also called shomen uchi. A straight strike to the head from the front with the hand or ken.
Morote tori – Grabbing the wrist with both hands
Mune tsuki – A straight punch or thrust to the center of the chest
Ryote tori – Grabbing both hands
Shomen tsuki – A straight punch or thrust to the center of the face
Shomen uchi – Strike to the top of the head.
Ushiro tori – Rear bear hug
Ushiro katate tori kubishime– Rear choke with one wrist held
Ushiro ryokata tori – Both shoulders grabbed from the rear
Ushiro ryote tori – Both wrists grabbed from the rear
Ushiro ryote kubi tori – Both wrists grabbed from the rear
Yokomen uchi- Strike to side of the head
Ikkyo – Involves controlling your partner’s center through the arm, as well as pinning the arm flat on the mat. Literally, first teaching or first principle.
Nikyo – Involves manipulating the wrist and pinning the arm vertically. Literally, second teaching or second principle.
Sankyo – Involves twisting the wrist and arm in a third way, pinning the arm vertically, and torquing the hand and wrist. Literally, third teaching or third principle.
Yonkyo – An arm pin involving leverage on the underside of the arm and elbow, while attacking the nerve points there. Literally, fourth teaching or fourth principle.
Gokyo – Similar to ikkyo but with a change in the position of the hands. Literally, fifth teaching or fifth principle.
Irimi Nage – A throw involving entering through an attack to get behind your partner and take his balance. Literally, to enter (iri) body (mi) and throw (nage).
Juji Nage – Throwing your partner by using leverage on his cross arms. Literally, cross (juji) throw (nage).
Kaiten Nage – Throwing your partner as if he were a big wheel. Literally, rotation (kaiten) throw (nage). Pressure is exerted by holding uke’s hand down and holding one arm vertically.
Kokyu Nage – Any sort of throw that relies essentially on blending and flowing with your partner’s movement and upsetting his balance, rather than any specific movement. Often used for throws that have no specific name. Literally, breath (kokyu) throw (nage).
Koshi Nage – Throwing your partner by rotating his body over the back of your hips. Literally, hip (koshi) throw (nage).
Kote Gaeshi – Involves throwing partner by folding the hand back over the wrist. Literally, small hand (kote) turn over (gaeshi).
Shiho Nage – A throw in which partner may be thrown in any direction. Literally four (shi) direction (ho) throw (nage).
Tenchi Nage – Throwing by extending your arms around and behind your partner’s body, one down toward the mat and the other up toward the ceiling. Literally heaven (ten) earth (chi) and throw (nage).
Dan – A black belt ranking such as shodan, nidan, etc. (Literally, dan means level).
Deshi – Student
Do – Way or path. Third character in Aikido.
Dojo – A training hall for traditional Japanese arts, including Aikido and other martial arts. Literally, do means way and jo means place. Formerly a term used by Buddhist priests in reference to the place of worship.
Dojo Cho – The head of the dojo
Doshu – The official curator of the art of Aikido. Literally, do means way and shu means the master or owner. The present doshu is Moriteru Ueshiba, the grandson of the Founder, Morihei Ueshiba and son of the previous doshu, Kisshomaru Ueshiba.
Gaeshi – Reverse
Gedan Gaeshi – A circular movement with the jo aimed at the lower part of the opponent’s body
Gi – Traditional uniform, usually white, worn during the practice of Japanese or Okinawan martial arts. Also known as a dogi.
Gyaku-hanmi – Partners stand with opposite feet forward, for example, one with right foot forward and the other with left forward
Gyaku-yokomen – A slightly angled opposite strike to the side of the head
Hakama – A traditional Japanese outer garment worn over the gi pants. Black or blue in color, they are more formal, provide protection in rolling and falling and help conceal foot movement. Traditionally, they are worn by men holding the rank of shodan and women of any rank (depeneding on dojo)..
Hanmi – A way of standing in Aikido so that the feet form a T stance and the body is turned at an angle. (See separate heading).
Hanmi Hantachi – Techniques executed from a kneeling position against an attacker who is standing. Literally, hanmi means half body and handachi means half standing.
Hantai – In reverse order
Hara – An Aikidoist moves with the hara. It is not only your center of gravity, but also your source of reflex and power. (See separate heading).
Happo Giri – An exercise with the sword in which you practice turning the hips and cutting in at least eight directions. Literally, hachi means eight, po means direction and giri means cutting.
Hasso-gaeshi – A movement from the basic stance to the hasso posture, using a figure-eight motion to block a thrust and concluding with the jo held in a vertical position at the right shoulder.
Henka – Variation. Literally, hen means unusual and ka means change. For example, henka waza are variations on the way a standard technique is completed
Hidari – Left. For example, hidari hanmi is hanmi with the left foot forward.
Hiji – Elbow
Hito-e-mi – Same as ura sankaku. It literally means making the body small
Irimi – Entering. Moving into and through the line of attack with no thought of escape. A technique of entering and choosing death. The motion of entering is Yang. The motion of turning, or Tenkan, is Yin.
Jiyu – Free, unstructured. For example, jiyu keiko means unstructured training and jiyu waza means free techniques.
Jiyu Waza – Free style techniques or practice
Jo – A short staff, being about as long as the distance from the floor to just under the arm, or approximately 50 inches. It is about an inch thick and is usually made of white oak.
Jodan – High hand or weapon position
Jodan-Gaeshi– A circular movement with the jo aimed at the upper part of the opponent’s body. An up block of a thrust to the midsection or throat.
Jo Dori – Jo means staff and dori means taking.
Kaiten – To revolve or rotate – round or wheel.
Kamae – The ready position or posture, as in tsuki kamae or shomen kamai, the ready positions for the jo and bokken, respectively.
Kami – O Sensei said that Aikido was a function of kami, the divine alchemy of fire (ka) and water (mi). Fire and water are the two prime elements of outer and inner alchemy, in the East and in the West, and are associated with the polarities of heaven and earth, the sun and moon, yang and yin, logos and eros, hidden and manifest, positive and negative, heart and womb, man and woman.
Kancho – Supervisor, director of a school.
Kata – Prearranged sets of movements, either with or without weapons, designed to teach form and basic movement.
Katana – Japanese sword.
Keiko – Training in traditional Japanese arts such as Aikido, flower arranging or tea ceremony. Literally, kei means contemplation or exploration and ko means old or traditional.
Ken – A Japanese sword, usually curved. A wooden sword used in practice. (See also bokken).
Ki – The vital force of the body. Through Aikido training, the ki of a person can be drawn in increasing amounts from the universe. (See separate heading).
Kiai – A loud shout accompanying the execution of martial arts techniques. Literally, ki means energy or spirit and ai means meeting. O Sensei’s forceful shouts completely unbalanced his opponents and on occasion extinguished the lights of the dojo. Sometimes his Kiais were like a fearful banshee yell, other times like the roar of a hurricane. Used with the principle of Yamabiko, responding to an attack immediately and resoundingly like a mountain echo.
Kihon – Basic techniques, as opposed to flowing techniques or variations. (See separate heading).
Ki-musubi – The uniting of one’s own ki with that of the opponent. It assures that you are on the exact line of attack and, ironically, have established the connection that can lead to a harmonious solution.
Men – face or head
Migi – Right. For example, migi hanmi means right hanmi.
Misogi – Purification of mind, body and spirit. O Sensei said, “Misogi wa keiko desu.” Training is purification. Sweating is purification. Cleaning is misogi and fasting is misogi. Misogi is the intention of our training and the refining of our skills.
Musubi – The blending of kokyu between partners. It is the tying together of Ki. Musubi is the process of unification. (See separate heading).
Nage – The partner who executes the technique. Literally, throw or thrower.
Obi – Belt.
Omote – The attacker’s front. Moving in front of your partner
O-Sensei – Literally, O means great and sensei means teacher. Used to refer to the Founder of Aikido, Morihei Ueshiba (1883-1969).
Randori – A movement exercise used to develop calm and efficient blending with the power and movement of multiple attacks. Literally, ri means principle, ran means confused, and do means melee or fight.
Sasou – To draw out your partners. For example, to make them raise their arms or move forward. Literally, to invite, call forth, lure. The art of drawing out and leading is difficult to master, though, requiring years of solid practice. For a beginning student in any discipline, training is 90 percent technique and 10 percent intuition. For a master, the percentages are the opposite: 90 percent intuition and 10 percent technique.
Satori – Enlightenment.
Seiza – A formal kneeling position. Sitting cross-legged is called Agura and is considered more informal. Literally, sei means correct and za means sitting. Also, the command to sit in seiza.
Sempai – Senior. In Japan, how one behaves toward others is dictated largely by one’s status in terms of seniority, from martial arts dojos to schools and workplaces.
Sensei – In Japan, a title used to address or refer to a teacher. Literally, sei means born and sen means before.
Shiho – Four directions.
Shikko – Knee walking.
Shodan – First degree black belt.
Shomen – The alcove at the front of the dojo, considered a sacred space, to which we pay respect in Aikido practice. Literally, sho means correct and men means side.
Shomen-uchi – Also called men-uchi. A straight strike to the head from the front with the hand or ken.
Soto Deshi – Students who do not live at the dojo. Soto means outside and deshi means apprentice. See also, Uchi Deshi.
Suburi – A single movement of the ken or jo done as a solo practice.
Suwari Waza – Sitting techniques. Suwari means sitting and waza means techniques.
Tachi – The Japanese sword
Tachi Dori – Techniques of taking an opponent’s sword and throwing him. Tachi means sword and dori means taking.
Tachi Waza – Sword techniques
Taijutsu – Body techniques. The techniques of Aikido done without weapons. Tai means body and jutsu means technique.
Takemusu – The “valorous procreative force of harmony, fully integrated, life generating, totally free and capable of unlimited transformation..” The martial technique that emerges spontaneously after many years of repetitive training with thorough grounding in the basics. (See separate heading).
Tanto – Wooden knife
Tanto Dori – Knife-taking. Tanto means knife and dori means taking techniques.
Tegatana – Sword hand, edge of the hand
Tenkan – Turning to dissipate force. The motion of turning is Yin. The motion of entering, or irimi, is Yang.
Tsuki – A thrust or punch.
Uchi – くA strike
Uchi Deshi – Students who live at the dojo and train intensively. Uchi means inside and deshi means apprentice. See also, Soto Deshi.
Uke – The partner who is thrown or receives the technique. (See also, Nage).
Ukemi – The art and skill of rolling and falling as a means of protecting the body from injury during the execution of Aikido techniques. Uke means to receive and mi means through the body.
Ura – The attacker’s back. Moving around or behind your partner. Opposite of Omote.
Ushiro waza – Attacks from the rear,
Yokomen – Side of the head, strike to the side of the head
Yudansha – Persons holding rank of black belt. Yu means have, dan means rank and sha means person.
Zanshin – Maintaining concentration before, after and during a technique. Continuity, remaining aware and prepared for the next attack.
*Compiled from various Aikido websites
Domou arigatou gozaimasu – thank you very much (formal)
Hajime – command to begin
One-gai Shimasu – A phrase used to ask a favor of someone, in this case, “Will you please train with me?” Literally, I humbly request. Or, “If you please.”
Yame – command to stop
Counting in Japanese
1: ichi (いち | 一)
2: ni (に | 二)
3: san (さん | 三)
4: shi (し | 四)
5: go (ご | 五)
6: roku (ろく | 六)
7: shichi (しち | 七)
8: hachi (はち | 八)
9: ku (く | 九)
10: ju (じゅう | 十)