The consonants of Japanese are usually pronounced as those of English. The vowels are pronounced as follows:


"ah" as the a in father.


"ee" as the e in feet.


"oo" as the u in rule.


"a" as the a in may.


"o" as the o in no.

Aikido: AI= Harmony; KI= Spirit; DO= Way or Path

Ai-hanmi: Mutual stance. Partners stand facing one another with the same foot forward, i.e. right/right.

Aiki Jinja/ Aiki Shrine: The shrine O'Sensei built in Iwama, Japan, honoring the spirit and deities of Aikido.

Atemi: a strike. striking techniques.

Bokken: Wooden sword.

Budo: Warrior way. The group of disciplines that simultaneously teach martial technique and guide mental and spiritual development.

Cohai: Junior student.

Dan: Black belt rank.

Deshi: Student, pupil, or disciple.

Dojo: Training hall.

Dohai: Someone of equal rank.

Domo arigato gozaimashita: Thank you very much.

Dosa: An exercise.

Gaeshi: To reverse.

Gi: Training uniform.

Gyaku-hanmi: Opposite stance. Partners stand with opposite foot forward, i.e. right/left.

Hakama: divided, pant-like skirt.

Hanmi: Triangular stance. Literally means "half body".

Hanmi Handachi: Nage (thrower) is kneeling and uke (attacher) approaches from standing.

Hara: Lower abdomen; physical and spiritual center.

Hidari: left.

Jo: Wooden staff.

Kaiten: To revolve or rotate.

Kamae: Stance.

Kata: 1. Shoulder. 2. Pre-arranged exercise that teaches basic forms and principles.

Keiko: Training session.

Ken: Japanese sword.

Ki: Spirit; the vital force of the body; Universal Energy.

Kiai: A piercing scream or cry that unifies all parts of the body and spirit.

Kihon: Basic form of a technique.

Ki-no-nagare: Fluid form of a technique.

Kokyu: Breath-energy/ki flow and the motions of the body unified by control of the breath.

Kokyu-Ryoku: The power harnessed through practice of kokyu.

Kumi-tachi: Advanced sword practices done with a partner.

Kumi-jo: Advanced jo practices done with a partner.

Kyu: Ranks below "dan"(black belt) ranks.

Ma-ai: The appropriate distance between uke and nage. Means "harmony of space"or "distance of union".

Men: Face; head.

Migi: right.

Musubi: uniting; bonding.

Nage: Throw; the one who throws.

Onegai Shimasu: please.

Randori: Multiple person attack.

Rei: Salutation, bow.

Reigi: Etiquette.

Riai: Common, unified principles of sword , staff and body techniques.

Samurai: Military retainer(feudal period).

Sempai: Senior student.

Seiza: Formal sitting posture.

Shiho: Four directions.

Shomen: Front of the dojo. Often there is a photo of the Founder there. Also means front or top of the head.

Suburi: A single movement using the ken or jo, often done as a solo practice.

Suware Waza: Techniques done from a seated position.

Tachi-dori: Techniques of taking an aggressor's sword.

Tai-jutsu: Body arts. The techniques of Aikido done without weapons.

Take-musu-aiki: Term used by the Founder describing the advanced levels of Aikido. The creation of Aiki techniques from a thorough understanding of Aiki principles.

Tanken Dori: Knife taking techniques.

Tanto: Knife.

Tao: Chinese for "Do", path, discipline.

Te: Hand.

Tegatana: Hand blade. Sword edge of the hand, located between the little finger and the wrist.

Tsuki: Thrust, punch.

Uchi: To strike. Also, inside or house.

Ueshiba, Kisshomaru: Son of the Founder---present master or "Doshu" of Aikido.

Ueshiba, Morihei: Founder of Aikido. O'Sensei.

Ueshiba, Moriteru: Grandson of the Founder. Present chief instructor of Aikido World Headquarters Dojo--- in Tokyo, Japan.

Uke: "To recieve". A person who receives a technique in taijutsu or an attack in Aiki sword and staff practices. Generally, "uke" refers to the person being thrown.

Ukemi: The art of falling. "To recieve through the body". Most Aikido learning or "receiving"  is accomplished during one’s time as uke.

Ushiro: Back, behind, rear.

Waza: Technique.

Yokomen: Side of the head.

Yudansha: Person holding black belt rank.

Zanshin: Unbroken spirit. The concentrated connection that remains with one's partner even after the throw has been completed.


Eri-dori: Collar grab.

Gyakute-dori: Cross hand grab, i.e. right to right.

Hiji-dori: Elbow grab.

Kata-dori: Shoulder grab.

Katate-dori: Wrist grab (same side).

Men-uchi: Strike to the head.

Morote-dori: Wrist held with both hands.

Mune-dori: Lapel grab.

Mune-tsuki: Chest or stomach strike.

Ryote-dori: Both wrists are held.

Shomen-uchi: Strike to the head.

Ushiro-eri-dori: Collar grab from behind.

Ushiro-hiji-dori: Elbows grabbed from behind.

Ushiro ryo-kata-dori: Both shoulders grabbed from behind.

Ushiro ryote-dori: Both wrists grabbed from behind.

Ushiro-kubishime: Choking with one hand while grabbing other side wrist---from behind.

Yokomen-uchi: Side head strike.


Gokkyo: Fifth pinning technique.

Ikkyo: First pinning technique.

Irimi-nage: Entering technique.

Juji-garami: Crossed-arm throw.

Kaiten-nage: Rotary throw.

Kokyu-dosa: Seated kokyu exercise.

Kokyu-nage: Breath throw.

Koshi-nage: Hip throw.

Kote-gaeshi: Wrist twisting technique.

Nikkyo: Second pinning technique.

Sankyo: Third pinning technique.

Shiho-nage: Four direction throw.

Yonkyo: Fourth pinning technique.


Omote-waza: Techniques that go forward or to uke's front.

Ura-waza: Techniques that go around or behind uke.

Irimi: Entering (same as omote-waza).

Tenkan: Turning (same as ura-waza).


The whole name of a technique is formed by the word for the attack, then the technique, then the direction, e.g.:











Rank Minimum Days Trained Belt


6th 20 white

5th 20 after 6th "

4th 60 after 5th "

3rd 80 after 4th "

2nd 120 after 3rd "

1st 150 after 2nd "


1st 200 after 1st kyu black

2nd 360 & 2 years after 1st dan "

3rd 540 & 3 years after 2nd dan "

*4th dan promotion is only by recommendation and at the discretion of the Dan Exam Committee members ranked 6th dan and above. In the case of 5th dan, the World Headquarters Dojo will make the decision.


  This page was last updated on 01/02/10 07:21:37 PM