Aikido Glossary

Here are some terms that will be helpful to know and reference for your aikido training journey. 

  • Aiki: Blending, harmony, unification, synchrony.
  • Arigato Gozaimas: Thank you very much.
  • Atemi: Striking techniques; designed to control or cause Uke to react.
  • Boken: Wooden training sword, shaped like a Japanese katana.
  • Do: The Way, or Path.
  • Dojo: The place where the way is revealed. A place for the strengthening and refinement of spirit, mind and body.
  • Gokyo: ‘Fifth Technqiue’ – a wrist and elbow control, usually against a knife.
  • Hakama: Formal, wide pleated pants worn over the dogi (uniform).
  • Hanmi: The relaxed triangular stance of Aikido, with one foot forward.
  • Hanmi Handachi: Techniques practiced with nage sitting and uke standing.
  • Ikkyo: ‘First Technique’, an arm control.
  • Irimi: Entering, moving into and through the line of attack
  • Jiyu Waza: Freestyle technique. In testing usually against one opponent.
  • Jo: Short staff.
  • Jo dori: Techniques of staff taking.
  • Kaitennage: ‘Wheel throw’ – pressing uke’s arm behind and over their back.
  • Kamae: Natural ‘readiness’ stance. With a weapon: Jodan kamae – high position; Chudan kamae- middle position; Gedan kamae – lower position.
  • Kata dori: Shoulder grab.
  • Katate dori: Wrist grab.
  • Katate dori ryote mochi: Grabbing your partner’s wrist with both hands.
  • Keiko: Study or practice, to refine our spirit.
  • Kohai: Junior student. Those who begin their study of Aikido after you.
  • Kokyu: The power of breath, renewal of life force. Also, timing or rhythm.
  • Kokyu Tanden Ho: Paired, two-hand grab sitting exercise.
  • Kosa dori: Cross hand grab.
  • Koshi Nage: ‘Hip Throw’.
  • Kotaegaeshi: ‘Returning Wrist’ – a wrist-turning throw to the rear.
  • Kubi shime: A choke hold.
  • Kumi Jo: Paired jo practice.
  • Kumi Tachi: Paired sword practice.
  • Kyu: White belt grade.
  • Munetsuki: A straight punch to the chest or solar plexus.
  • Nage: A throw. One who throws.
  • Nikkyo: ‘Second Techqnique’ – a wrist joint-lock control.
  • Omote: To the front.
  • O Sensei: Great teacher – the title used for the Founder of Aikido.
  • Randori: Free technique against multiple attack.
  • Rei: To bow.
  • Ryote dori: Grabbing both wrists.
  • Ryokata dori: Grabbing both shoulders.
  • Sankyo: ‘Third Technique’, a wrist-joint twisting technique.
  • Sempai: Senior student: Those who began their study of Aikido before you.
  • Seiza: Formal sitting position.
  • Sensei: Teacher, one who gives guidance along the way.
  • Senshin: A purified heart and spirit; enlightened attitude
  • Shihonage: ‘Four corner throw’ – a wrist / elbow lock, throw, and pin.
  • Shikko: Knee walking exercise; trains student to move from the tanden.
  • Shomen: The place housing the picture of O Sensei and the spirit of Aikido.
  • Shomenuchi: Downward strike or cut to the top of the head.
  • Shomentsuki: Thrust / punch between the eyes.
  • Shinai: Split bamboo practice sword.
  • Shugyo: The daily work to refine and purify the quality of life.
  • Sumi O-Toshi: ‘Corner Throw’, sometimes a locked-elbow throw.
  • Suwariwaza: Kneeling techniques.
  • Tachi dori: Techniques of sword taking.
  • Taijutsu: Empty handed techniques.
  • Tanden: The hara, the center of mass, located about where the belt is tied.
  • Tanto: Knife. In Aikido, we use a wooden tanto for training.
  • Tanto dori: Techniques of knife taking.
  • Tenkan: Pivoting, turning to dissipate force.
  • Tenchinage: ‘Heaven and Earth throw’
  • Uke: One who receives. The person being thrown.
  • Ukemi: Techniques of falling, rolling, and protecting yourself.
  • Ushiro: Attacking from the rear
  • Ura: To the rear.
  • Yokomenuchi: A diagonal cut or strike.
  • Yonkyo: ‘Fourth Technique’ – a wrist pressure point technique.
  • Zanshin: Awareness of surroundings at all times (subconsciously).