are here > terminology
A = AArdvArk
I = pIzza
U = blUe
E = somewhere between Echo and tAble
O = bOne
One hand holding one hand.
One hand holding one hand cross handed.
Two hands holding one hand.
Ryo Kata Tori
Grabbing both shoulders.
Two hands holding two hands.
One or two hand lapel hold.
Ushiro Tekubi Tori
Wrist grab from the back.
Ushiro Ryote Tori
Two hands holding two hands from the back.
Ushiro Ryo Kata Tori
Grabbing both shoulders from the back.
Ushiro Kubi Shime
Overhead strike to the head.
Daigonal strike to the side of the head.
Straight thrust (punch), esp. to the midsection.
Strike, esp. thrust or punch (see tsuki).
Ikkyo, Oshi taoshi, Ikkajo
Arm bar (ude osae)
Nikkyo, Kote mawashi, Nikkajo
Wrist turn in.
Sankyo, Kote hineri, Sankajo
Wrist twist in.
Yonkyo, Tekubi, osae Yonkajo
Gokyo, Ude Nobashi, Gokajo
Arm like a bridge - knife defense.
Rokkyo, Waki gatame, hiji-jime-osae
Elbow Lock (ude hishigi)
Arm entwining throw.
Four direction throw.
Heaven and earth throw.
Arm lock throw
Sokumen Irimi Nage
Side Step in Throw
A type of Breath (Kokyu Nage) Throw
Hitting Elbow Throw
Pull Down Throw
1=Ichi, 2=Ni, 3=San, 4=Shi
(Yon), 5=Go, 6=Roku, 7=Shichi
8=Hachi, 9=Kyu (Ku), 10=Ju, 11
= jyu-ichi, 12 = jyu-ni, 13 = jyu-san,…
20 = ni-jyu, 21 = ni-jyu-ichi, 22 =
30 = san-jyu, 40 = yon-jyu,…
100 = hyaku
- "Self victory."
According to the founder, true victory (Masakatsu)
the victory one achieves over oneself (Agatsu). Thus
one of the founder's "slogans" was Masakatsu Agatsu
-- "The true victory of self-mastery."
- The principal of
harmony and integration.
- Ai Hanmi
- Mutual stance
where Uke and Nage each have the same foot forward
Situation in which opponents face each other in same
- Ai Nuke
- "Mutual escape."
An outcome of a duel where each participant escapes
harm. This corresponds to the ideal of Aikido
according to which a conflict is resolved without
injury to any party involved.
- Ai Uchi
- "Mutual kill." An
outcome of a duel where each participant kills the
other. In classical Japanese swordmanship,
practitioners were often encouraged to enter a duel
with the goal of achieving at least an Ai Uchi. The
resolution to win the duel even at the cost of one's
own life was thought to aid in cultivating an
attitude of single-minded focus on the task of
cutting down one's opponent. This single-minded
focus is exemplified in Aikido in the technique,
Ikkyo, where one enters into an attacker's range in
order to effect the technique.
- Aia Tori
- One hand holding
one hand cross handed.
- Universal life
energy, the creative principle of life.
- Aiki no kurai
- The secret of
aiki, the highest consciousness of aiki.
- Aiki Otoshi
- Projection Number
- Aiki Taiso
- The basic
exercises of Aikido.
- The art founded
by Morihei Ueshiba O Sensei, the way of aiki.
A modern discipline of harmony between opposites on
a universal scale.
The word "Aikido" is made up of three Japanese
characters: Ai- harmony, Ki- spirit, mind, or
universal energy, Do- the Way. Thus Aikido is "the
Way of Harmony with Universal Energy." However, Aiki
may also be interpreted as "accommodation to
circumstances." This latter interpretation is
somewhat non-standard, but it avoids certain
undesirable metaphysical commitments and also
epitomizes quite well both the physical and
psychological facets of Aikido.
- One who practices
One who participates in Aikido.
A practitioner of Aikido.
- An ancient
technique of combat based upon the principle of
coordination between the attack and the defense.
association." A term used to designate the
organization created by the founder for the
dissemination of Aikido.
- Amaterasu (Omi
- The goddess of
the sun (Shinto).
- Leg or Foot.
- Ashi Sabaki
- Footwork. Proper
footwork is essential in Aikido for developing
strong balance and for facilitating ease of
- A strike to an
(lit. Striking the Body) Strike directed at the
attacker for purposes of unbalancing or distraction.
Atemi is often vital for bypassing or
"short-circuiting" an attacker's natural responses
to Aikido techniques. The first thing most people
will do when they feel their body being manipulated
in an unfamiliar way is to retract their limbs and
drop their center of mass down and away from the
person performing the technique. By judicious
application of atemi, it is possible to create a
"window of opportunity" in the attacker's natural
defenses, facilitating the application of an Aikido
Blows delivered against vulnerable points of the
- Ayumi Ashi
- Alternated step.
- Stave, jo.
- Bo Kata
- A formal exercise
with the stave.
- The technique of
- Wooden practice
- Wooden sword.
Many Aikido movements are derived from traditional
Japanese fencing. In advanced practice, weapons such
as the Bokken are used in learning subtleties of
certain movements, the relationships obtaining
between armed and unarmed techniques, defenses
against weapons, and the like.
- To stop weapons
(literally, "to stop a spear"), war.
An ideogram related to the military dimension; used
in compounds such as bushi.
- The doctrine of
enlightenment propounded by the InDain philosopher
Guatama Siddharta (563 - 483 B.C.)
- The way of Bu.
"Martial way." The Japanese character for "Bu"
(martial) is derived from characters meaning "stop"
and (a weapon like a) "halberd." In conjunction,
then, "Bu" may have the connotation "to stop the
halberd." In Aikido, there is an assumption that the
best way to prevent violent conflict is to emphasize
the cultivation of individual character. The way
(Do) of Aiki is thus equivalent to the way of Bu,
taken in this sense of preventing or avoiding
violence so far as possible.
- One who practices
The arts of the warrior.
- Warrior. ,
- The way of the
The code of honor of the bushi.
- Chin kon ki
- A practice
intended to aid one in joining with the universal
spirit and to help one understand the divine mission
that it is one's life goal to fulfil.
- Direct. Thus
Chokusen No Irimi = direct entry.
- Natural hand
position, a central position.
"Middle position." Thus Chudan No Kamae = a stance
characterized by having one's hands/sword in a
central position with respect to one's body.
- One's center.
Center. Especially, the center of one's movement or
- The moral
doctrine of right conduct, extremely social in
content, propounded by the Chinese scholar and
philosopher Confucions (551 - 479 B.C.)
- A rank.
Black belt rank. In IAF Aikido, the highest rank it
is now possible to obtain is 9th Dan. There are some
aikidoists who hold ranks of 10th dan. These ranks
were awarded by the founder prior to his death, and
cannot be rescinded. White belt ranks are called Kyu
- A follower, a
student, a disciple.
- The way.
The method or "way," a discipline and philosophy
with both moral and spiritual connotations.
A cut to the side.
Way/path. The Japanese character for "Do" is the
same as the Chinese character for Tao (as in
"Taoism"). In Aikido, the connotation is that of a
way of attaining enlightenment or a way of improving
one's character through aiki.
- Practice uniform.
- Place where one
studies a do, or way.
A training hall where the martial arts are
practiced; in Zen monasteries, the hall of spiritual
exercises, meditation, and concentration.
Literally "place of the Way." Also "place of
enlightenment." The place where we practice Aikido.
Traditional etiquette prescribes bowing in the
direction of the shrine (Kamiza) or the designated
front of the dojo (Shomen) whenever entering or
leaving the dojo.
- Dojo Cho
- The head of the
dojo. A title. Currently, Moriteru Ueshiba (grandson
of the founder) is Dojo Cho at World Aikido
Headquarters ("Hombu Dojo") in Tokyo, Japan.
- Domo Arigato
- Japanese for
"thank you very much." At the end of each class, it
is proper to bow and thank the instructor and those
with whom you've trained.
- Take, grab,
- The person who
shows the way, head of Aikido.
Head of the way (currently Kisshomaru Ueshiba, son
of Aikido's founder, Morihei Ueshiba). The highest
official authority in IAF Aikido.
origination (Sanskrit = pratitya samutpada). In
Buddhist philosophy, phenomena have no unchanging
essences. Rather, they originate and exist only in
virtue of material and causal conditions. Without
these material and causal conditions, there would be
no phenomena. Furthermore, since the material and
causal conditions upon which all phenomena depend
are continually in flux, phenomena themselves are
one and all impermanent. Since whatever is
impermanent and dependent for existence on
conditions has no absolute status (or is not
absolutely real), it follows that phenomena (what
are ordinarily called "things") are have no absolute
or independent existential status, i.e., they are
empty. To cultivate a cognitive state in which the
empty status of things is manifest is to realize or
attain enlightenment. The realization of
enlightenment, in turn, confers a degree of
cognitive freedom and spontaneity which, among other
(and arguably more important) benefits, facilitates
the performance of martial techniques in response to
rapidly changing circumstances. (see Ku)
- "Immovable mind."
A state of mental equanimity or imperturbability.
The mind, in this state, is calm and undistracted
(metaphorically, therefore, "immovable"). Fudo Myo
is a Buddhist guarDain deity who carries a sword in
one hand (to destroy enemies of the Buddhist
doctrine), and a rope in the other (to rescue
sentient beings from the pit of delusion, or from
Buddhist hell-states). He therefore embodies the
two-fold Buddhist ideal of wisdom (the sword) and
compassion (the rope). To cultivate Fudo Shin is
thus to cultivate a mind which can accommodate
itself to changing circumstances without compromise
of ethical principles.
- A formal title
whose connotation is something approximating
- Furi Kaburi
movement. This movement in found especially in
Ikkyo, Irimi-Nage, and Shiho-Nage.
- Calligraphy or
motto hung on dojo walls.
- A low hand
Lower position. Gedan No Kamae is thus a stance with
the hands or a weapon held in a lower position.
- The regular
uniform, normally white, used in most schools of
martial arts; in aikido it is worn under the hakama.
- Gi (Do Gi)
- Training costume.
Either judo-style or karate-style Gi are acceptable
in most Dojo, but they must be white and cotton. (No
black satin Gi with embroidered dragons. Please.)
Fifth Technique (reverse arm pin).
- The lateral
pelvis; hips (see also koshi).
- Gyaku Hanmi
- Opposing stance
(if Uke has the right foot forward, Nage has the
left foot forward, if Uke has the left foot forward,
Nage has the right foot forward).
Situation in which opponents face each other in
pleated pants worn by the samurai and by kobudo
students. There are seven pleats and "'They
symbolize the seven virtues of budo', O Sensei said.
'These are jin (benevolence,) gi
(honor or justice,) rei (courtesy and
etiquette,) chi (wisdom, intelligence,)
shin (sincerity,) chu (loyalty,) and
Divided skirt usually worn by black-belt ranks. In
some Dojo, the Hakama is also worn by women of all
ranks, and in some Dojo by all practitioners.
- The basic
triangular stance of Aikido.
Triangular stance. Most often Aikido techniques are
practiced with Uke and Nage in pre-determined
stances. This is to facilitate learning the
techniques and certain principles of positioning
with respect to an attack. At higher levels,
specific Hanmi cease to be of much importance.
Standing posture in which one foot is advanced.
- Hanmi Handachi
- Position with
Nage sitting, Uke standing. Training in Hanmi
Handachi Waza is a good way of practicing techniques
as though with a significantly larger/taller
opponent. This type of training also emphasizes
movement from one's center of mass (Hara).
Situation in which one person is sitting and the
- Hanmi Handachi
performed when one is sitting and the other
- 8 directions; as
in Happo-Undo (8 direction exercise) or Happo-Giri.
- (8 direction
cutting with the sword). The connotation here is
really movement in all directions. In Aikido, one
must be prepared to turn in any direction in an
- One's center, the
seat of one's life energy.
One's center of mass, located about 2" below the
navel. Traditionally this was thought to be the
location of the spirit/mind/(source of Ki). Aikido
techniques should be executed as much as possible
from or through one's Hara. Editors note: Refer to
Tanden. Hara just means below navel.
- Harigaya Usai
- A renowned
seventeenth century Japanese swordsman.
- Hasso No Kamae
stance. The figure eight does not correspond to the
Arabic numeral "8", but rather to the
Chinese/Japanese character which looks more like the
roof of a house. In Hasso No Kamae, the sword is
held up beside one's head, so that the elbows spread
down and out from the sword in a pattern resembling
this figure-eight character.
- Henka Waza
- Varied technique.
Especially beginning one technique and changing to
another in mid-execution. Ex. beginning Ikkyo but
changing to Irimi-Nage.
- Hidari Hanmi
- Left natural
- Lock applied
against the elbow.
- Hiji Tori
- Elbow grab.
- Hiji Osae
- Elbow control.
- Elbow power.
- Spear, one of the
component elements in the kanji bu.
- Dojo A term used
to refer to the central dojo of an organization.
Thus this usually designates Aikido World
Headquarters. (see Aikikai)
The international headquarters of Aikido.
- One, first.
- Ikkajo osae
- First control.
- The first
movement, the first principle.
First Technique (arm pin).
- The act of
entering directly into the attack.
(lit. "Entering the Body") Entering movement. Many
aikidoka think that the Irimi movement expresses the
very essence of Aikido. The idea behind Irimi is to
place oneself in relation to an attacker in such a
way that the attacker is unable to continue to
attack effectively, and in such a way that one is
able to control effectively the attacker's balance.
Literally "putting in the body." Tori brings his
body into - or almost into - contact with uke's body
to effect the tecnique.
- Irimi Nage
- Entering throw
("20 year" technique).
A throw whose main element is irimi.
Throw in which tori brings his body into contact
with, or very close to uke.
- A (Shinto)
shrine. There is an Aiki Jinja located in Iwama,
Ibaraki prefecture, Japan.
Free-style practice of techniques. This usually
involves more than one attacker who may attack Nage
in any way desired.
- The five-foot
Wooden staff about 4'-5' in length. The Jo
originated as a walking stick. Many Jo movements
come from traditional Japanese spear-fighting,
others may have come from Jo-jutsu, but many seem to
have been innovated by the founder. The Jo is
usually used in advanced practice.
- Upper position.
Jodan No Kamae is thus a stance with the hands or a
weapon held in a high position.
- Juji Nage
- Arm entwining
- "Victory at the
speed of sunlight." According to the founder, when
one has achieved total self-mastery (Agatsu) and
perfect accord with the fundamental principles
governing the universe (especially principles
covering ethical interaction), one will have the
power of the entire universe at one's disposal,
there no longer being any real difference between
oneself and the universe. At this stage of spiritual
advancement, victory is instantaneous. The very
intention of an attacker to perpetrate an act of
violence breaks harmony with the fundamental
principles of the universe, and no one can compete
successfully against such principles. Also, the
expression of the fundamental principles of the
universe in human life is love (Ai), and love,
according to the founder, has no enemies. Having no
enemies, one has no need to fight, and thus always
emerges victorious. (see Agatsu and Masakatsu)
- Kaeshi Waza
reversal. (Uke becomes Nage and vice-versa). This is
usually a very advanced form of practice. Kaeshi
Waza practice helps to instill a sensitivity to
shifts in resistance or direction in the movements
of one's partner. Training so as to anticipate and
prevent the application of Kaeshi Waza against one's
own techniques greatly sharpens Aikido skills.
- Kagura mai
- Dance of the
- A title. The
founder of Aikido (i.e., Morihei Ueshiba).
- Kaiten Nage
- Rotary throw.
- A posture or
stance either with or without a weapon. Kamae may
also connote proper distance (Ma Ai) with respect to
one's partner. Although "Kamae" generally refers to
a physical stance, there is an important parallel in
Aikido between one's physical and one's
psychological bearing. Adopting a strong physical
stance helps to promote the correlative adoption of
a strong psychological attitude. It is important to
try so far as possible to maintain a positive and
strong mental bearing in Aikido.
A divinity, living force, or spirit. According to
Shinto, the natural world is full of Kami, which are
often sensitive or responsive to the actions of
- A small shrine,
especially in an Aikido, generally located at the
front of the dojo, and often housing a picture of
the founder, or some calligraphy. One generally bows
in the direction of the Kamiza when entering or
leaving the dojo, or the mat.
Kanji Chinese characters, ideographs.
- Kannagara no
- Way of the
Japanese emperor and of the gods.
- Kansetsu Waza
manipulation techniques. Literally "Against the
- Set form(s).
A "form" or prescribed pattern of movement,
especially with the Jo in Aikido. (But also
- Kata Tori
- Shoulder hold.
- Katame Waza
- What is vulgarly
called a "samurai sword."
- One hand.
- Katate Tori
- One hand holding
- Katsu Jin Ken
- "The sword that
saves life." As Japanese swordmanship became more
and more influenced by Buddhism (especially Zen
Buddhism) and Taoism, practitioners became
increasingly interested in incorporating ethical
principles into their discipline. The consummate
master of swordmanship, according to some such
practitioners, should be able not only to use the
sword to kill, but also to save life. The concept of
Katsu Jin Ken found some explicit application in the
development of techniques which would use
non-cutting parts of the sword to strike or control
one's opponent, rather than to kill him/her. The
influence of some of these techniques can sometimes
be seen in Aikido. Other techniques were developed
by which an unarmed person (or a person unwilling to
draw a weapon) could disarm an attacker. These
techniques are frequently practiced in Aikido. (see
Setsu Nin To)
The saving of your enemy's life.
- Kazumi Ise no
- Founder of the
Shin Nage sword school.
Training. The only secret to success in Aikido.
- The modern art of
- Sword techiques.
(see Mokuso and Satori)
- Kesa giri
- Daigonal cut
across the body.
- Life energy.
Mind. Spirit. Energy. Vital-force. Intention.
(Chinese = chi) For many Aikidoka, the primary goal
of training in Aikido is to learn how to "extend" Ki,
or to learn how to control or redirect the Ki of
others. There are both "realist" and anti-realist
interpretations of Ki. The Ki-realist takes Ki to
be, literally, a kind of "stuff," "energy," or
life-force which flows within the body. Developing
or increasing one's own Ki, according to the Ki-
realist, thus confers upon the Aikidoka greater
power and control over his/her own body, and may
also have the added benefits of improved health and
longevity. According to the Ki-anti-realist, Ki is a
concept which covers a wide range of psycho-physical
phenomena, but which does not denote any objectively
existing "energy" or "stuff." The Ki-anti-realist
believes, for example, that to "extend Ki" is just
to adopt a certain kind of positive psychological
disposition and to correlate that psychological
disposition with just the right combination of
balance, relaxation, and judicious application of
physical force. Since the description "extend Ki" is
somewhat more manageable, the concept of Ki has a
class of well-defined uses for the Ki-anti-realist,
but does not carry with it any ontological
commitments beyond the scope of mainstream
- Ki Musubi Ki
"knotting/tying-up Ki". The act/process of matching
one's partner's movement/intention at its inception,
and maintaining a connection to one's partner
throughout the application of an Aikido technique.
Proper Ki Musubi requires a mind that is clear,
flexible, and attentive. (see Setsuzoku)
- A shout delivered
for the purpose of focusing all of one's energy into
a single movement. Even when audible Kiai are
absent, one should try to preserve the feeling of
Kiai at certain crucial points within Aikido
- (Something which
is) fundamental. There are often many seemingly very
different ways of performing the same technique in
Aikido. To see beneath the surface features of the
technique and grasp the core common is to comprehend
- Kihon Dosa
- Bending the joint
in the direction of natural movement.
Japanese martial arts.
- Junior student.
A student junior to oneself.
- Japanese myths of
- "Heart or mind."
Japanese folk psychology does not distinguish
clearly between the seat of intellect and the seat
of emotion as does Western folk psychology.
- Breath or
breathing as cyclic energy.
Breath. Part of Aikido is the development of "Kokyu
Ryoku", or "breath power." This is the coordination
of breath with movement. A prosaic example: When
lifting a heavy object, it is generally easier when
breathing out. Also breath control may facilitate
greater concentration and the elimination of stress.
In many traditional forms of meditation, focus on
the breath is used as a method for developing
heightened concentration or mental equanimity. This
is also the case in Aikido. A number of exercises in
Aikido are called "Kokyu Ho," or "breath exercises."
These exercises are meant to help one develop Kokyu
- Kokyu Nage
- Breath throws.
- Kokyu Ho
- Breathing power.
- Kokyu tanden
- An exercise in
musubi, in blending the rhythm of your vital
energies with those of your partner.
- Cross-hand grab.
- Koshi Nage
- Hip throw.
- Kote Gaeshi
- Wrist turn-out.
"Outward wrist twist."
- Kote giri
- Wrist cut.
- Spiritual sounds.
A practice of intoning various sounds (phonetic
components of the Japanese language) for the purpose
of producing mystical states. The founder of Aikido
was greatly interested in Shinto and Neo-Shinto
mystical practices, and he incorporated a number of
them into his personal Aikido practice. 3
According to Buddhism, the fundamental character of
things is absence (or emptiness) of individual
unchanging essences. The realization of the
essencelessness of things is what permits the
cultivation of psychological non-attachment, and
thus cognitive equanimity. The direct realization of
(or experience of insight into) emptiness is
enlightenment. This shows up in Aikido in the ideal
of developing a state of cognitive openness,
permitting one to respond immeDaitely and
intuitively to changing circumstances (see Mokuso).
- Ku no ji giri
- Cut in the shape
of the character ku.
- Kumi tachi
- Paired sword
practice in which both partners begin with their
swords already drawn.
- Paired sword
practice in which both partners begin with their
swards still sheathed, in part practice in the art
of drawing swords.
- Jo matching
exercise (partner practice).
- Sword matching
exercise (partner practice).
consciousness, inner being.
- Kurai dori
- To control
- The principle of
destroying one's partner's balance. In Aikido, a
technique cannot be properly applied unless one
first unbalances one's partner. To achieve proper
Kuzushi, in Aikido, one should rely primarily on
position and timing, rather than merely on physical
- Grades preceding
White belt rank. (Or any rank below Shodan)
- (Ku) Nine
- Proper distancing
or timing with respect to one's partner. Since
Aikido techniques always vary according to
circumstances, it is important to understand how
differences in initial position affect the timing
and application of techniques.
Distance between opponents.
- Front. Thus Mae
Ukemi = "forward fall/roll".
- Circular motion.
- "True victory."
(see Agatsu and Kachihayabi)
"Smashing the eyes".
- The period
following the advent of Admiral Perry, in which
Japan began the process of modernization.
- Migi Hanmi
- Right natural
Ritual purification. Aikido training may be looked
upon as a means of purifying oneself; eliminating
defiling characteristics from one's mind or
personality. Although there are some specific
exercises for Misogi practice, such as breathing
exercises, in point of fact, every aspect of Aikido
training may be looked upon as Misogi. This,
however, is a matter of one's attitude or approach
to training, rather than an objective feature of the
- Misogi harai
- Actions that
- One of Japan's
greatest and most renowned swordsmen, author of
The Book of Five Rings.
Practice often begins or ends with a brief period of
meditation. The purpose of meditation is to clear
one's mind and to develop cognitive equanimity.
Perhaps more importantly, meditation is an
opportunity to become aware of conditioned patterns
of thought and behavior so that such patterns can be
modified, eliminated or more efficiently put to use.
In addition, meditation may occasion experiences of
insight into various aspects of Aikido (or, if one
accepts certain Buddhist claims, into the very
structure of reality). Ideally, the sort of
cognitive awareness and focus that one cultivates in
meditation should carry over into the rest of one's
practice, so that the distinction between the
"meditative mind" and the "normal mind" collapses.
- Morote Tori
- Two hands holding
- Students without
- Mune Dori
- One or two hand
- Strike or thrust
to the middle body.
- Literally "no
mind". A state of cognitive awareness characterized
by the absence of discursive thought. A state of
mind in which the mind acts/reacts without
hypostatization of concepts. Mushin is often
erroneously taken to be a state of mere spontaneity.
Although spontaneity is a feature of Mushin, it is
not straightforwardly identical with it. It might be
said that when in a state of Mushin, one is free to
use concepts and distinctions without being used by
connection, unity, ultimately our unity with all
life and with the universe.
- Flowing. One goal
of Aikido practice is to learn not to oppose
physical force with physical force. Rather, one
strives to flow along with physical force,
redirecting it to one's advantage.
- A throw, one who
- Nage waza
- Nikajo osae
- Second control.
- Second technique,
a techniques that uses wrist torque to control the
Second Technique (wrist turn in).
- Great Teacher.
Literally, "Great Teacher," i.e., Morihei Ueshiba,
the founder of Aikido.
- To the front.
"The front," thus, a class of movements in Aikido in
which Nage enters in front of Uke.
- One of the
so-called "new-religions" of Japan. Omotokyo is a
syncretic amalgam of Shintoism, Neo-Shinto
mysticism, Christianity, and Japanese folk religion.
The founder of Aikido was a devotee of Omotokyo, and
incorporated some elements from it into his Aikido
practice. The founder insisted, however, that one
need not be a devotee of Omotokyo in order to study
Aikido or to comprehend Aikido's purpose.
- Onegai Shimasu
- "I welcome you to
train with me," or literally, "I make a request."
This is said to one's partner when initiating
- Osae Waza
- Multiple attack
Free-style "all-out" training. Sometimes used as a
synonym for Jiyu Waza. Although Aikido techniques
are usually practiced with a single partner, it is
important to keep in mind the possibility that one
may be attacked by multiple aggressors. Many of the
body movements of Aikido (Tai Sabaki) are meant to
facilitate defense against multiple attackers.
Etiquette. Observance of proper etiquette at all
times (but especially observance of proper Dojo
etiquette) is as much a part of one's training as
the practice of techniques. Observation of etiquette
indicates one's sincerity, one's willingness to
learn, and one's recognition of the rights and
interests of others.
- A Samurai without
a lord. Most Samurai swore fealty to a fudal lord.
Those without current employment or property, thus
no lord to serve or land to protect, were wandering
Samurai in search of employment.
- Ryo Kata Tori
- Grabbing both
- Both hands.
- Ryote Tori
- Two hands holding
- Two-hand grab
(either two hand grabbing one hand or two hands
grabbing two hands).
- Style or school
of practice, as in "Daito ryu jujutsu".
- One who serves.
- Third control.
- Third technique,
control of the opponent's center through the wrist
Third Technique (arm twist in).
- In Buddhism,
enlightenment is characterized by a direct
realization or apprehension of the absence of
unchanging essences behind phenomena. Rather,
phenomena are seen to be empty of such essences --
phenomena exist in thoroughgoing interdependence (Engi).
As characterized by the founder of Aikido,
enlightenment consists in realizing a fundamental
unity between oneself and the (principles governing)
the universe. The most important ethical principle
the aikidoist should gain insight into is that one
should cultivate a spirit of loving protection for
all things. (see Ku and Shinnyo)
- Satsu jin ken
- The destruction
or killing of one's enemy.
Japanese manner of sitting with one's knees folded
Sitting on one's knees. Sitting this way requires
acclimatization, but provides both a stable base and
greater ease of movement than sitting cross-legged.
Formal sitting position.
- Seiza ho
- Moving into
formal sitting position.
- Senior Student.
A student senior to oneself.
- Teacher, one who
gives guidance along the way, one who goes before.
Teacher. It is usually considered proper to address
the instructor during practice as "Sensei" rather
than by his/her name. If the instructor is a
permanent instructor for one's Dojo or for an
organization, it is proper to address him/her as
"Sensei" off the mat as well.
- Setsu Nin To
- "The sword that
kills." Although this would seem to indicate a
purely negative concept, there is, in fact, a
positive connotation to this term. Apart from the
common assumption that killing may sometimes be a
"necessary evil" which may serve to prevent an even
greater evil, the concept of killing has a wide
variety of metaphorical applications. One may, for
example, strive to "kill" such harmful character
traits as ignorance, selfishness, or (excessive)
competitiveness. Some Misogi sword exercises in
Aikido, for example, involve imagining that each cut
of the sword destroys some negative aspect of one's
personality. In this way, Setsu Nin To and Katsu Jin
Aikido techniques are generally rendered more
efficient by preserving a connection between one's
center of mass (Hara) and the outer limits of the
movement, or between one's own center of mass and
that of one's partner. Also, Setsuzoku may connote
fluidity and continuity in technique. On a
psychological level, Setsuzoku may connote the
relationship of action-response that exists between
oneself and one's partner, such that successful
performance of Aikido techniques depends crucially
upon timing one's own actions and responses to
accord with those of one's partner.
- Shi (Yon)
- Shichi (Nana)
- A formal title
meaning, approximately, "instructor."
- Master teacher.
A formal title meaning, approximately, "master
instructor." A "teacher of teachers."
representative(s) of a shihan.
- "Four direction"
Literally "four directions throw.".
- Literally "dead
angle." A position relative to one's partner where
it is difficult for him/her to (continue to) attack,
and from which it is relatively easy to control
one's partner's balance and movement. The first
phase of an Aikido technique is often to establish
manner of walking on one's knees.
Samurai walking ("knee walking"). Shikko is very
important for developing a strong awareness of one's
center of mass (Hara). It also develops strength in
one's hips and legs.
Moving on the knees.
- Lit. "Duel with
live swords." This expresses the attitude one should
have about Aikido training, i.e., one should treat
the practice session as though it were, in some
respects, a life-or-death duel with live swords. In
particular, one's attention during Aikido training
should be single-mindedly focused on Aikido, just
as, during a life-or-death duel, one's attention is
entirely focused on the duel.
- "Thusness" or "suchness."
A term commonly used in Buddhist philosophy (and
especially in Zen Buddhism) to denote the character
of things as they are experienced without filtering
the experiences through an overt conceptual
framework. There is some question whether "pure"
uninterpreted experience (independent of all
conceptualization & categorization) is possible
given the neurological/cognitive makeup of human
beings. However, Shinnyo can also be taken to
signify experience of things as empty of individual
essences (see "Ku").
- Way of the Gods,
traditional religion of Japan.
"The way of the gods." The indigenous religion of
Japan. The founder of Aikido was deeply influenced
by Omotokyo, a religion largely grounded in Shinto
mysticism. (see Kami)
- First degree
- The head, a cut
or strike to the front of the head.
Front or top of head. Also the designated front of a
- Overhead strike
to the head.
Specifically, an empty hand strike to the front of
the head with the blade of the hand.
- Concentration of
- Shumatsu dosa
- "Deciding" or
- A sharp strike
with the blade of the hand.
- "Outside." Thus,
a class of Aikido movements executed, especially,
outside the attacker's arm(s). (see Uchi)
- Repitions of a
motion done in order to perfect performance.
Basic Jo or Bokken practice in striking and
- Sukashi Waza
performed without allowing the attacker to complete
a grab or to initiate a strike. Ideally, one should
be sensitive enough to the posture and movements of
an attacker (or would-be attacker) that the attack
is neutralized before it is fully executed. A great
deal of both physical and cognitive training is
required in order to attain this ideal.
- Openings, weak
An opening or gap where one is vulnerable to attack
or application of a technique, or where one's
technique is otherwise flawed. Suki may be either
physical or psychological. One goal of training is
to be sensitive to Suki within one's own movement or
position, as well as to detect Suki in the movement
or position of one's partner. Ideally, a master of
Aikido will have developed his/her skill to such an
extent that he/she no longer has any true Suki.
- Sumi Otoshi
- "Corner drop."
- Gliding the feet.
- Literally "to
throw-away the body." The attitude of abandoning
oneself to the execution of a technique (in judo, a
class of techniques where one sacrifices one's own
balance/position in order to throw one's partner).
(See Ai Uchi).
- Suwari Waza
executed with both Uke and Nage in a seated
position. These techniques have their historical
origin (in part) in the practice of requiring all
samurai to sit and move about on their knees while
in the presence of a Daimyo (feudal lord). In
theory, this made it more difficult for anyone to
attack the Daimyo. But this was also a position in
which one received guests (not all of whom were
always trustworthy). In contemporary Aikido, Suwari
Waza is important for learning to use one's hips and
Technique(s) performed in seiza and shikko.
A type of Japanese sword (thus Tachi-Tori =
sword-taking). (Also "standing position").
- Tachi Waza
- Sword taking.
- Tai No Kenko,
Tai No Tenkan
- Basic blending
practice involving turning 180 degrees.
- Tai Sabaki
- Body movement.
- "Body arts,"
i.e., unarmed practice.
- Takemusu Aiki
- A "slogan" of the
founder's meaning "infinitely generative martial art
of aiki." Thus, a synonym for Aikido. The scope of
Aikido is not limited only to the standard, named
techniques one studies regularly in practice.
Rather, these standard techniques serve as
repositories of more fundamental principles (Kihon).
Once one has internalized the Kihon, it is possible
to generate a virtually infinite variety of new
Aikido techniques in accordance with novel
- Training against
multiple attackers, usually from grabbing attacks.
- Basic Hand and
- A dagger.
- "Hand sword",
i.e. the edge of the hand. Many Aikido movements
emphasize extension and alignment "through" one's
tegatana. Also, there are important similarities
obtaining between Aikido sword techniques, and the
principles of tegatana application.
The "cutting" edge of the hand.
- Teji Kara no
- The god of
- Te Waza
- Hand techniques.
- Heaven and earth,
or up and down.
- "Heaven and
Heaven and earth throw.
- Turning movement
used to dissipate force.
Turning movement, esp. turning the body 180 degrees.
(see Tai No Tenkan)
- A movement where
NAGE retreats 45 degrees away from the attack (esp.
to Uke's open side).
- To stop, one of
the component elements in the kanji bu.
- The one who
applied the techniques and the eventual winner.
- A thrust or
A punch or thrust (esp. an attack to the
Straight thrust (punch), esp. to the midsection.
- Succeeding feet,
Your feet must slide / glide and not lift of the
mat. When moving forwards you must push off your
rear foot and when backwards for front foot.Maintain
the correct distance between you feet at all times.
Do not raise or lower your hips.
- "Inside." A class
of techniques where Nage moves, especially, inside
(under) the attacker's arm(s). (but also a strike,
e.g., Shomen Uchi)
- Uchi Deshi
- Personal student
A live-in student. A student who lives in a dojo and
devotes him/herself both to training and to the
maintenance of the dojo (and sometimes to personal
service to the Sensei of the dojo).
- Ude osai
- Control of the
center through the arm.
- The current doshu,
O Sensei's son.
The son of the founder of Aikido and current Aikido
- The founder of
The founder of Aikido. (see O-Sensei and Kaiso).
- The grandson of
the founder and current Dojo Cho at Hombu Dojo.
- The one who
receives the force, the person who is thrown.
Person being thrown (receiving the technique). At
high levels of practice, the distinction between Uke
and Nage becomes blurred. In part, this is because
it becomes unclear who initiates the technique, and
also because, from a certain perspective, Uke and
Nage are thoroughly interdependent.
The one who receives the technique and the eventual
- The art of being
Literally "receiving [with/through] the body," thus,
the art of falling in response to a technique. Mae
Ukemi are front roll-falls, Ushiro Ukemi are back
roll-falls. Ideally, one should be able to execute
Ukemi from any position and in any direction. The
development of proper ukemi skills is just as
important as the development of throwing skills and
is no less deserving of attention and effort. In the
course of practicing Ukemi, one has the opportunity
to monitor the way one is being moved so as to gain
a clearer understanding of the principles of Aikido
techniques. Just as standard Aikido techniques
provide strategies for defending against physical
attacks, so does Ukemi practice provide strategies
for defending against falling (or even against the
application of an Aikido or Aikido-like technique!).
- To the rear.
"Rear." A class of Aikido techniques executed by
moving behind the attacker and turning. Sometimes
Ura techniques are called Tenkan (turning)
- Backwards or
behind, as in Ushiro Ukemi or falling backwards.
- Ushiro Kubi
- Rear choke.
- Ushiro Ryo
- Grabbing both
shoulders from the back.
- Ushiro Ryote
- Two hands holding
two hands from the back.
- Ushiro Tekubi
- Wrist grab from
- Technique(s) in
which one is attacked from behind.
Techniques. Although in Aikido we have to practice
Aikido as it might manifest itself in self-defense
may not resemble any particular,
standard Aikido technique. This is because Aikido
techniques encode strategies
and types of movement which are modified in
accordance with changing conditions.
- Taking away x,
e.g. Tanto-Tori (knife-taking).
- Strike or cut to
the side of the head or neck.
Side of the head.
- Yokomen Uchi
- Daigonal strike
to the side of the head.
Specifically, an empty hand strike to the side of
the head or neck with the blade of the hand.
- Yonkajo osae
- Fourth control.
- Fourth technique,
control of the opponent's center through his wrist,
elbow, and shoulder.
Fourth Technique (arm bar down).
- Those who have
achieved dan, or black belt, ranking in an art.
Black belt holder (any rank).
- Yukoku no shi
- Noble guarDains
of a nation, another term for samurai.
- The complete and
continuous awareness of one's surroundings.
Lit. "remaining mind/heart." Even after an Aikido
technique has been completed, one should remain in a
balanced and aware state. Zanshin thus connotes
"following through" in a technique, as well as
preservation of one's awareness so that one is
prepared to respond to additional attacks.
Completion of the technique in which awareness of
opponent and surroundings is maintained.
- A school or
division of Buddhism characterized by techniques
designed to produce enlightenment. In particular,
Zen emphasizes various sorts of meditative
practices, which are supposed to lead the
practitioner to a direct insight into the
fundamental character of reality (see Ku and Mokuso).
- Sandals worn off
the mat to help keep the mat clean!