Aikido Vocabulary…

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Aikido Vocabulary…
Because Aikido is a Japanese martial art, at the Florida Aikido Center we regularly use
Japanese words and phrases during class and when we practice. Students generally
pick-up common terms over time as part of the training. There is no heavy emphasis
placed on language training and nobody should feel pressured to memorize terms.
For the sake of giving new or perspective students a head start on some of the language
you’ll hear used in class, here are some common phrases along with a phonetic
pronunciation to help you along.
Aikido (eye-kee-doh) – martial art practiced at the Florida Aikido Center
Atemi (ah-tem-mi) – movement or maneuver performed to unbalance an opponent or
disrupt his/her attack
Bō (boe) – a 6-foot wooden staff. Also called a Kon (con) or Kūn (goon)
Bōkken (boe-ken) – a Japanese long sword carved out of wood
Bōkūto (boe-koo-toe) - a Japanese short sword or dagger carved out of wood
Būdo (boo-doh) – “the warrior way”; a word used to describe the study of many
Japanese martial arts
Dán (daan) – Title given to the rank of black belt and above; prefaced by a rank number
Dojo (doh-joe) – “the place of the way”; a martial arts school or training center
Dōmo arigato gozai máshita (doh-mo ah-ree-gah-toe go-zee mash’ta) – “thank you very
much”; a courtesy phrase used to close each class
Gi (ghee) – a typical martial arts uniform worn in Karatē, Aikido, Jūdo and other martial

Gyakū Hanmi (guy-ah-koo hawn-me) – “opposing stance”; stance where opponents feet
are in opposition of each other
Hapkido (hap-kee-doh) – “joined energy way”; a Korean martial art with many similarities
to Aikido (and may, in fact, be an offspring of Aikido)
Hakama (haa-kaa-maa) – traditional samurai-style pleated pants typically worn in Aikido,
Kendo and Iaido
Īaido (ee-ah-do) – “the way of immediate action”; a Japanese sword art associated with
the smooth, controlled movements of a sword from the draw, to the cut, to replacing the
sword in the scabbard
Irimi (ee-ree-me) – translated as “entering”; a movement used to place oneself outside
of an opponent’s ability continue to attack effectively
Jo (joe) – a 4-foot wooden staff traditionally used as a walking stick by monks and
Jittē (jee-tay) – a one-pronged metal truncheon used to disarm a sword-armed
opponent; also called a Jūttē (joo-tay)
Jūdo (joo-doh) – “the indirect way”; a “sister” martial art to Aikido that uses locks,
throws, chokes and leg picks to disable an opponent
Jūjūtsu (joo-joot-soo) – “the yielding art”; a parent martial art of Aikido that combines
joint locks and throws with pressure point strikes and kicks
Kai (k’aye) – “association”, “club” or “federation” of martial art
Kata (kaa-taa) – a pattern or practiced set of techniques in many Japanese martial arts
Kama (kaa-maa) – a Japanese hand sickle, used as a weapon individually or in pairs
Katana (kaa-taa-naa) – the traditional Japanese long sword or “samurai sword”
Karatē (kaa-raa-tay) – “empty hand”; a Japanese martial art that uses many kicks and
punches, as well as some grappling maneuvers and leg sweeps
Kendo (ken-doh) – “the way of the sword”; a Japanese martial art based on traditional
Japanese swordsmanship

Kung Fu (gung foo) – “hard work”; a term typically used to describe many Chinese
fighting styles including Wing Chun, Hun Gar, Pai Gua and Shaolin Quan
Ki (kee) – “spirit” or “energy”; sometimes also called Chi (chee) or Qi (khee)
Kyu (cue) – a white belt rank; prefaced by a rank number
Nage (nah-gay) – the person performing an Aikido technique
Nāginatā (naa-gee-nah-taa) – a 5 to 7-foot Japanese halberd often associated with the
Nūnchákū (noon-chah-koo) - two 10 to 16-inch sections of wood connected by a cord or
chain; also called Tabak-Toyok (tah-bak toy-ock) or Numchuks
Obe (oh-bee) – a martial arts belt
Ōmote (Oh-moe-tay) – “in front of”; a maneuver or technique performed to the
opponent’s front
Ōnei gāshi māsu (oh - nye ga-she mas) – “I wish to learn from you”; a courtesy greeting
used to begin class
Ōsei Waza (oh-say wah-zaa) – pinning techniques used in Aikido, Judo and Jujutsu
Randori (ran-door-ee) – “all out training”; Aikido “sparring” typically done against
multiple opponents
Rei (ray) – a bow made at the waist – either sitting or standing – as a sign of respect
Ryū (ree-you) – “school” or “style” of martial art
Sai (s’eye) – a 10 to 18-inch, three-pronged metal truncheon typically used in pairs; also
called a Manjizai (man-gee-zie), Tajabang (taa-cha-baang) or Tiek-Pi (t’ek-pie).
Samūrai (saa-moo-rye) – “one whom serves”; a warrior dedicated to the service of the
Japanese emperor; often compared to the knights of medieval Europe
Sensei (sen-say) – “teacher”; a martial arts instructor
Seiza (say-zaa) – Japanese formal kneeling position

Sempai (sem-pie) – a senior student that occasionally teaches class or provides
Shihan (she-hawn) – “teacher of teachers”; a martial arts “master”
Shinai (shin-eye) – a practice sword made out of strips of bamboo tied and wrapped
Shomen Ūchi (show-men oo-chee) – an overhead knife-hand or sword strike
Shūrīken (shoo-ree-ken) – “blade hidden in the hand”; name given to any number of
palm-held Japanese throwing weapons; also called throwing stars or Ninja spikes
Suwari Waza (soo-waa-ree waa-zaa) – techniques performed from a kneeling position
Tāchi (taah-chee) – Japanese long sword slightly longer and more curved than a katana
Tae Kwon Do (tay-kwahn-doh) – “the hand-foot way”; a Korean martial [art] martial arts
with many similarities to Karate and some Kung Fu styles
Tai Chi (tie-chee) – “boundless form”; a rhythmic Chinese martial art often practiced as a
form of meditation or exercise
Tánbō (taan-boe) – a 15 to 24-inch wooden baton used singularly or in pairs; also called
a Kali (kaa-lee) or Escrima (ess-cree-maa).
Tánto (taan-toe) – a traditional Japanese dagger
Tenkan (ten-kahn) – an Aikido maneuver that turns the body; typically an 180-degree
Tenshin (ten-sheen) - an Aikido maneuver that removes oneself from the line of attack;
typically a step back with a 45 or 90-degree turn
Tónfā (tohn-faa) – a “nightstick” type baton typically used in pairs; also called a Tānfé
(taan-feh) or Tòn-Fūn (tawn-foon).
Tsubā (t’soo –baa) - a round (occasionally square) guard at the end of the grip of most
bladed Japanese weapons
Tsuki (t’ski) – a punch or weapon thrust directed at the center mass of an opponent

Ukē (oo-kee) – the person receiving an Aikido technique
Ukemi (oo-kem-me) - "to receive with the body"; techniques that allow one to be thrown
or fall while minimizing the risk of injury
Ura (oo-rah) - "to the rear"; Aikido techniques executed by moving behind the attacker
Ushiro (oo-shi-roe) – “behind”; Aikido techniques in which one moves or is attacked from
Wakizashi (waa-kee-zaa-she) - the traditional Japanese short sword
Yari (yaa-ree) – A long, straight, metal-tipped spear; also called a Qiang (Kee-ang) or
Yoga (yo-gah) – “to unite”; a term typically used to describe several Indian martial arts
typically practiced as meditation or exercise
Yoko (yo-koh) – “side”; Aikido techniques in which one moves or falls to the side
Yokomen Uchi (yo-ko-men oo-chee) – a knife-hand or sword strike to the side of the
Ichi (eech) – one
Ni (nee) – two
San (sahn) – three
Shi (she) – four
Go (go) – five
Roku (row-koo) – six
Shichi (she-chee) – seven
Hachi (haa-chee) – eight
Ku (koo) – nine
Ju (joo) – ten