Glossary of Aikido Terms



ai                                                     joining together, harmony

aigame                                            regular facing posture

aikidoka                                         a student of aikido

aikijujutsu                                      old style combat oriented art from which aikido originated

ate                                                   to hit or strike a certain point

atemi                                               to hit the body

ato no sen                                     the moment of initiative taken in response to the attack

ashi                                                 foot or leg

ayumi ashi                                     normal walking with feet alternating



budo                                               study of martial arts as away of life  so as to cultivate character

budoka                                           a student of budo, implies a great understanding of martial arts

bujutsu                                          study of martial arts as a  form of  practice for combat, military science

bushin                                            “martial spirit” transcendental level of martial arts



chudan                                           middle level, area from the hips to the shoulders

chushin                                          center line of the body



Daito ryu                                       style of aiki-jujutsu passed down by the Takeda clan in Aizu prefecture, antecedent to Aikido

dan                                                 a degree of rank in black belt

do                                                   the way, a path of refinement, practice and study

dojo                                                “way place” a training hall for study of the martial arts



gaeshi (kaeshi)                             reversal

gamae (kamae)                              posture or stance

gatame (katame)                           lock

gedan                                             low position, hip level

Geis, Karl                                       (1933-) important martial arts teacher and innovator, who introduced judo, aikido and jodo to thousands of practitioners in the United States

go                                                   five

godan                                             fifth degree black belt

gokui                                              deep intuitive understanding of the fundamental principle of an art

gokyo                                             five teachings, groups of techniques in Judo

gokyu                                             fifth grade before black belt, orange belt

goshi (koshi)                                 hip

guruma (kuruma)                          wheel, in a throw, to rotate horizontally as well as vertically



hachi                                              eight

hanasu                                           to escape, to obtain release from

Hanasu no Kata                           the eight releases, related to old style shichi hon no kuzushi

hando no kuzushi                        the pendulum like quality of balance and off balance

hanmi                                             half-stance, front foot forward and back foot and hips angled 30-45 degrees

hara                                                abdomen

hazumi                                            force generated by the unified action of ones whole body movement

hiji                                                   elbow

hiki                                                  to pull

hineri                                              twist

hon                                                 main, normal, standard, book, origin, also counter suffix for numbers or cylindrical objects



ichi                                                  one

ikioi                                                 force generated by isolated muscular strength, “using muscle”

ikkyu                                              first grade before black belt, brown belt with black collar

irimi                                                 entering into opponent’s attack

irimi                                                 entering stance (front foot forward, back foot and hips angled 90 degrees)

itten                                                one spot, center of gravity just below the navel



jodan                                              high position, shoulder level and above

jodo                                                way of the short staff, a traditional weapons art

ju                                                     ten

ju                                                     gentleness, yielding, softness

ju                                                     quick aggressive clawing attack like a bird of prey (name of 3rd tanjo technique)

Ju Nanahon Kata                          Seventeen standard forms, also called randori no kata

ju no ri                                            principle of gentleness

ju yoko go sei suru                      old saying “ soft controls hard”

judo                                                martial art derived from jujutsu by Jigoro Kano, the preeminent throwing and grappling art in the world



kake                                                to execute a throw

Kano, Jigoro                                 (1860-1938) founder of judo, a revolutionary figure in martial arts

kansetsu                                        joint technique

kata                                                 formal exercise to demonstrate principles

kata                                                 shoulder

ki                                                     spirit, energy, feeling, the nature of something

kiotsuke                                         attention (lit, attach the spirit)

kime                                                focus of power applied during execution of a technique

Kito ryu                                         ancient school of martial arts that emphasized throwing and off balance, antecedent to Judo and Tomiki Ryu Aikido

kohai                                              the junior grade in any pair of training partners

koryu kata                                     ancient forms preserved for advanced study

kote                                                wrist

ku (kyu)                                         nine

kubi                                                neck

kuzure no jotai                              forms of off balance

kuzushi                                          the disruption of posture and breaking of balance

kyu                                                 grades of rank before black belt



ma-ai                                               distance of engagement and reaction

mae                                                 front

mae ukemi                                      forward fall

masayume                                     “correct dream”, i.e., the dream that comes true

mawashi                                         to turn

metsuke                                         eye contact

Miyake, Tsunako                         (1926-) a profound master of several martial arts including, aikido, judo and jodo, who was instrumental in the development of many of the katas

mizu no kokoro                             mind clear and reflective like water

mugame                                         empty posture, no special stance, just natural

Musashi, Miyamoto                    (1584-1645) great swordsman and martial arts genius who wrote The Book of Five Rings

mushin                                           no mind, an open readiness unencumbered by intentions or plans



nagashi no ri                                 principle of flowing

nage                                               throw

nanadan                                         seventh degree black belt

ni                                                     two

nikyu                                              second grade before black belt, brown belt

nidan                                              second degree black belt



omote-mi                                       front-stance, both feet pointed forward with hips square (see shizentai)

oshi                                                push

osu                                                 to push

otoshi                                            drop

Owaza Ju Pon                               the big ten defensive throws



randori                                           free exercise, both partners simultaneously attacking and defending

randori no kata                             old name for Ju Nana Hon Kata

ri                                                      principle

riai                                                   “principle harmony” underlying logic of a kata or technique

roku                                                six

rokudan                                          sixth degree black belt, red and white belt

rokkyu                                            sixth grade before black belt, yellow belt



san                                                  three

sandan                                           third degree black belt

sankyu                                           third grade before black belt, brown belt

sempai                                            senior grade in any pair of training partners

sen                                                  the moment of initiative occurring simultaneously with the attack

sen-sen no sen                             seizing the initiative just as the attack is about to begin

sensei                                             teacher, usually 4th dan or above

shi                                                   four (also “yon”)

shiai                                                contest

shichi                                             seven (also “nana”)

shichihon no kuzushi                  seven balance breaks, early form of Hanasu no Kata

shihan                                            honorific title, “a leader of men,” a teacher of 6th dan or above

shiho                                              four directions

Shindo Muso Ryu                       classical weapons art based on the Jo (stick), developed by samurai of the Kuroda clan in Fukuoka

shizen hon tai                               natural upright body posture (feet even)

shizen no ri                                    principle of natural posture

shizentai                                        natural upright body posture (one foot forward)

shizumi                                           sinking or dropping

shodan                                           first degree black belt

shomen                                          front

shugyo                                          hard training

soto                                                outside

suigetsu                                         solar plexus (lit, water moon)

suki                                                 an opening, weakness in body structure or movement

sumi                                                corner



tai sabaki                                       body movement, esp. evasion

taiso                                               warm up exercises

Takeda, Sokaku                            (1860-1943) famous Daito ryu teacher who taught Ueshiba aikijujitsu.

tanto                                               knife

taoshi                                             to tip over

te                                                     hand or arm

tegatana                                         “hand sword” unbendable arm

Tegatana no kata                         the walking kata

tekubi                                             wrist

Tenjin Shinyo Ryu                       ancient style of jujutsu emphasizing strikes and jointlocks, antecedent to Judo

tenkai                                             rotation, turning around

tenkai kotegaeshi                         alternative name for shihonage

tenkan                                            to turn around and reverse direction

tobu ukemi                                    jumping fall, an elevated forward rolling breakfall, a flip

tokui waza                                     favorite technique (comes not necessarily by choice but tends to develop naturally)

Tomiki, Kenji                                 (1900-1980) menkyo kaiden from Ueshiba, 8th dan judo, founder of Tomiki ryu

Tomiki ryu                                     style of aikido emphasizing a logical curriculum and effective technical standards

tori                                                  the person who applies the technique

toshu randori                                hand randori

tsugi ashi                                       following step, sliding steps with same foot leading

tsukuri                                            to fit in with body position



uchi                                                inside

ude                                                 arm

Ueshiba, Morihei                         (1883-1969) founder of aikido, also referred to as O Sensei by many

ue-shita                                          up/down, body rise and body drop

uke                                                  the person who receives the technique

ukemi                                              art of falling or receiving techniques in a safe and efficient manner

uki                                                   floating

unsoku                                           footwork

ushiro                                             behind

ushiro ukemi                                 back falls



waki                                                side of the body, armpit

waza                                               technique



yoko                                               side

yoko ukemi                                    side fall

yondan                                          fourth degree black belt

yonkyu                                          fourth grade before black belt, green belt




zanshin                                          state of ready awareness; without concept or distraction

zempo kaiten ukemi                      forward rolling break fall