Aikido Dictionary

The following is a list of useful words and terminology used in relation to Aikido training and martial arts.

AiHarmony, Union, Love
Ai HanmiAttacker and defender have the same foot forward. (See GYAKU HANMI)
AikiBlending physically and mentally with attacker.
AikidoThe Way of Harmony of the Spirit
AikidokaStudent of Aikido
Aiki BudoAs O-Sensei called the art between late 1930's and early 1940's.
Aiki JoStaff used in Aikido (approx. 4ft long).
Aiki JujutsuA term used occasionally to refer to the jujutsu form taught by O-Sensei in the 1920’s and early 1930’s. Today it is understood as Aiki techniques performed in a hard jujutsu-like manner used in contrast to the softer, rounded techniques of Aikido.
Aikikai FoundationThe Aikikai Foundation is the parent organisation for the development and popularisation of Aikido throughout the world (公益財団法人合気会).
Aiki KenSword used in Aikido, influenced by the sword of the Kashima Shinto Ryu (鹿島新当流) school.
ArigatoThank you.
AtemiStrike, blow. Used to distract or unbalance the attacker during execution of a technique.
AwaseBlending movement; from verb awaseru: to blend, harmonise. Frequently used in Aikido to evoke the notion of harmony with the movement of one’s partner.
BokkenWooden sword, usually made of oak wood. Used as a training sword.
BudoMartial Way; Martial Art. The way of life through the application of the principles of martial arts.
BudokaMartial practitioner; Martial Artist; student of BUDO.
Buki WazaWeapons techniques in Aikido referring to techniques executed with the AIKI JO and AIKI KEN.
BushidoThe Feudal-military Japanese code of behaviour; the way of the warrior, or of the samurai.
Chudan KamaeMiddle stance; refers to the position where the sword is held extended out from the centre and almost parallel to the ground.
Daito-Ryu-JujutsuAn early martial art disseminated by Master Sokaku Takeda until 1943. Morihei Ueshiba received his teaching certificate in 1922.
DameWrong, bad, incorrect.
DanGrade, rank. As from first black belt degree. First introduced by Jigoro Kano, Founder of modern JUDO.
Dankai TekiniIn Ken Awase, refers to the 'step-by-step' method of performing the awase
DoThe Way. In Japan, any art that is practised to develop both technique and spiritual maturity is considered a DO.
DogiPractice uniform. Also GI or KEIKOGI.
DojoTraining Hall - ‘‘The place of enlightenment’’.
Dojo-ChoDirector of the DOJO.
Domo-Arigato-Gozaimasu‘‘I thank you very much’’. (To be said at the end of every class when bowing to the SENSEI).
DoshuLeader of The Way. A term designating the leader of a school or group. In Aikido the First DOSHU was O-Sensei. At present his grandson Moriteru Ueshiba is the Third DOSHU.
DozoPlease (at the beginning of a sentence).
EriCollar, lapel.
Eri DoriCollar or lapel grab.
FutarigakeDefence against two opponents.
GedanLower - from the lower-held sword position (or GEDAN NO KAMAE).
GiPractice Uniform.
Godan5th degree Black Belt.
Gokyo5th pinning technique in basic Aikido.
Gokyu5th Kyu grade.
GyakuReverse, opposite.
Gyaku HanmiReverse or opposite stance; the situation in which the attacker and defender form a mirror-image.
Hachidan8th degree Black Belt.
Hai DozoYes, please do this technique.
HakamaPleated skirt; usually black or dark blue; worn by black belt holders and often women of any rank.
HanmiHalf stance; ready position with one foot forward prior to execution of technique.
Hanmi HandachiHalf standing stance; when defender is seated (or kneeling) and the attacker is standing.
HaraStomach, abdomen; intended more as centre of concentration and energy. HENKA WAZA = Variation: 1) variation of a same technique; 2) an alternate technique executed to complete a throw when the initial technique was unsuccessful.
Hidari HanmiLeft foot forward.
Hito E MiRefers to a ready posture similar to HANMI, but where the rear leg is moved further left or right away from the centre line (used in AIKI JO technique).
Hombu DojoHeadquarters training hall - General term used by any organisation. In Aikido it usually refers to AIKIKAI HOMBU DOJO located in the Shinjuku Ward of Tokyo, Japan.
IkkyoFirst teaching, or first principle. Refers in Aikido to a basic technique in which the attacker is unbalanced through the application of pressure on the elbow and shoulder of his outstretched arm, which is followed by a pinning movement which immobilises the opponent’s arm at a 45o angle to his body with pressure applied to both the elbow and the wrist.
IrimiEntering movement. Direct inward movement by the defender in front or to the rear of the attacker prior to execution of a technique.
Irimi NageA technique where the defender enters primarily behind the attacker, gains the initiative and seizes him by the collar or neck with one hand while entering under the chin with the other open hand and then downward to execute the throw.
IwamaA town of about 15,000 inhabitants situated about 63 miles to the NE of Tokyo. This is the site of the AIKI SHRINE built by the Founder as the Spiritual Centre of Aikido, ca. 1942. Due to the post-war ban on martial arts by the Allied Forces, the AIKIKAI HOMBU DOJO was moved to Iwama in 1948 through 1956, when it was returned to Tokyo. Ueshiba’s dojo is attached to his home and has been under the care and direction of Morihiro Saito since the Founder’s death in 1969.
Iwama Ryu AikidoAn informal term referring to Aikido as taught in Iwama by Morihiro Saito, one of the closest students of the Founder. Technically, it includes and emphasis on the relationship between AIKI KEN and AIKI JO movements. This style of Aikido reflects the art of Ueshiba as taught approximately between the years 1946-1955, and there are more techniques than are presently being practised at the AIKIKAI HOMBU DOJO.
JoStaff, stick, approximately 4 foot long. See AIKI JO.
JodanUpper position.
Jodan No KamaeUpper stance. Refers to to a position where the sword is held above the head ready to strike.
Jo DoriStaff taking. Refers to techniques designed to defend against Jo attacks.
JudanTenth degree black belt.
Juji GaramiCross-entangling method. Refers to the technique where pressure is applied against the attacker’s elbows as they are brought to a crossed position.
Juji NageJuji Garami.
Kaiten NageRotary throw, or ‘Wheel Throw’ - technique where the attacker is thrown forward with pressure applied on the head or neck while his/her arm is raised over the head.
KamaeCombative ready position; stance.
KamiDeity; divine being. Can be translated as ''god'' but not in the Judeo-Christian sense.
KampaiCheers! ‘‘Bottoms up!’’
KataForm; series of prearranged movements performed individually or in a group; specially designed to teach basic movements.
KatadoriShoulder grab; a basic attacking method in Aikido.
KatanaSteel sword
KatatedoriOne hand grab.
KeikoPractice; training.
KeikogiTraining uniform; usually made of cotton.
KenWooden Sword (see BOKKEN).
KenjutsuCombative sword arts or technique.
Ken No KamaeReady stance for Aiki no Ken practice in Buki Waza. Ken no Kamae is a natural position in which the back leg is allowed to relax and bend slightly while the hips are turned 45 degrees.
KimonoJapanese robe.
KibishiStrict. Iwama Ryu is known for its strict approach to teaching in order to ensure that basic technique is studied correctly with emphasis on every small aspect of a technique.
KiSpirit; mind; heart; energy.
Ki No NagareKI, or energy flow; refers to a more advanced application of techniques while in motion as contrasted to basic or KIHON WAZA.
Ki No MusubiJoining, or tying together of KI; commonly used in Aikido to refer to blending one’s energy with that of UKE.
KiaiCombative shout, or yell, designed to disturb the attacker. This powerful, forceful expulsion of air from the lungs by means of a shout helps tightening all the muscles of the body in countering an attack.
Kihon WazaBasic technique.
KohaiYounger person / student.
KokyuBreath. Often used in Aikido with a meaning similar to that of KI. To be understood as a deeper, more cosmological aspect of respiration.
Kokyu-HoWay or method of breathing. The term refers in Aikido to a seated exercise (SUWARI WAZA) performed at the end of class where one partner, whose wrists are being held, attempts to unbalance the other; designed to develop KOKYU and proper method of blending. Also developed with MOROTEDORI.
Kokyu NageBreath throw; A cover-all term used to refer to a series of blending techniques with no common mechanical similarities, or for unusual techniques not better defined.
Koshi NageHip throw.
Kote GaeshiWrist throw or twist. In Aikido a pressure is applied outwardly against the back of the wrist.
KubiThe neck.
Kubi ShimeChoke by attacking from behind.
KudenOral teaching. Morihiro Saito uses to refer to particular points O-Sensei used to stress during his classes.
KyuGrade; all grades below SHODAN, or first degree black belt.
KyudanNinth degree black belt.
MaaiSparring distances; the proper spacing before opponents assume co-operative engagement.
MaeIn front of, before.
MenHead, front.
MenuchiHead strike.
Menkyo KaidenCertificate of advanced proficiency.
MigiRight (Opposite of left).
MisogiPurification, absolution; also a meditative practise.
Moku RokuCatalogue or list; transmission scroll in Martial Arts.
MorotedoriTwo-handed grab.
MuneChest, breast.
MunadoriChest hold; the attacker seizes the lapel of the defender.
MusubiKnot, tie; concept of a link between attacker and defender in order to execute a technique smoothly.
NageThrow, projection; it usually refers also to the person throwing (opposite of UKE).
Naka De MotsuIn suwari waza kokyu ho, a grab on the inside of the wrists.
NanameOblique, at an angle.
NidanSecond Degree Black Belt.
NikyoSecond teaching; refers to several types of pressures applied against the wrist.
OBig, Great
Ohayo Gozaimas(U)Good Morning.
OmoteFront (opposite of URA); normally refers to movements where the defender executes an entering movement when commencing a technique; synonymous with IRIMI.
O-SenseiGreat Teacher; a term of respect used in Aikido to refer to the Founder, Morihei Ueshiba.
OyowazaApplied techniques.
RandoriRough grabbing or seizing; refers to free-style practice, often with multiple attackers.
ReiBow and thanks, executed before and after training sessions but also while working with your partners.
RokkudanSixth Degree Black Belt.
RyokatadoriTwo-shoulder grab.
RyokatatedoriTwo wrists grab
RokkyoSixth teaching; refers to an elbow arm-barring pressure technique.
RyotedoriTwo-hand grab.
SandanThird Degree Black Belt.
SankyoThird teaching; in which the opponent’s wrist and fingers are twisted in order to achieve the final pin.
Seika TandenCentral point situated just below the navel. Physical and spiritual centre of human beings.
SeizaSeated position from which Aikido techniques are also performed.
SempaiSenior. The SEMPAI-KOHAI (Senior - Junior) relationship is important in all areas of Japanese life.
ShichidanSeventh Degree Black Belt
ShihanMaster Instructor of highest level.
Shiho NageFour-way throw. The defender passes under the attacker’s arm then lifts it overhead, pivots 180o and throws. One of the fundamental techniques in Aikido.
ShikkoKnee walking, improves balance and stability of the hips.
Shita De MotsuIn suwari waza kokyu ho, a grab from below the wrists.
ShodanFirst Degree Black Belt.
Shomen UchiStrike to the front of the head. Same as MENUCHI.
Sokumen De MotsuIn suwari waza kokyu ho, a grab on the outside of the wrists.
Suwari WazaTechniques performed while both Tori and Uke are seated in SEIZA.
SuburiBasic exercise with the Ken or Jo but without a partner.
Tachi DoriSword Taking techniques developed to disarm sword-wielding opponent.
Tachi WazaStanding techniques.
Takemusu AikiRefers to the highest levels of Aikido in which techniques are created spontaneously in any given situation.
Tai-No-Henko“Turn of the Body”. Used at the beginning of every class to develop blending with opponent.
TaijutsuEmpty hand techniques.
Tai SabakiBody Movement - used to refer to movements such as IRIMI and TENKAN.
Tanken DoriKnife taking techniques
TatamiMats used in martial arts which involve falling techniques (approx. 6ft by 3ft).
Tegatana‘Sword/Blade hand’.
TenchinageHeaven and Earth throw.
TenkanA pivoting or turning movement in order to avoid an attack (opposite of IRIMI).
ToriOne who executes the technique, or the defender (same as NAGE).
TsukiThrust or punch
Uchitachi"The attacking sword". Equivalent to UKE in TAIJUTSU practice.
Ue De MotsuIn suwari waza kokyu ho, a grab from above the wrists.
UkeOne who receives the technique, or attacker.
Uketachi"The receiving sword". Equivalent to NAGE in TAIJUTSU practice.
UraBack (opposite of OMOTE); normally refers to movements where the defender moves to the opponent’s outside when commencing a technique. KATATEDORI TAI NO HENKO forms the basis of all URA WAZA.
UshiroRear, behind.
Ushiro Kiru Kimochi DeIn SHIHO NAGE URA WAZA, refers to the feeling of turning and cutting to the rear.
YokomenSide of the head.
Yokomen UchiStrike to side of the head.
YondanFourth Degree Black Belt.
Yonkyo'4th Teaching' Pressure is applied to the lower forearm in order to pin the opponent.
YudanshaPerson holding 1st degree black belt or higher.
Zanshin'Lingering Spirit' - awareness. Continuing to keep a spiritual connection with the attacker even after he/she is lying on the ground. Emphasised in all aspects of Aikido, and vital to the correct execution of technique. Awareness is not concentrated on one point or person, but the entire surrounding area. In Iwama Ryu Zanshin is maintained at all times to anticipate another attack.
ZazenSeated Zen meditation.
ZenJapanese school of Mahayana Buddhism that teaches self-discipline, deep meditation.