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The Harvard Aikikai Glossary
 
 

Basic Terminology

 Here are some basic terms that you will hear in the course of practice.  Besides the names of the techniques and attacks, these are the terms you should be most familiar with. 

Dogi

道着

A uniform made of thick woven cotton, used in Aikido, Judo, and other martial arts

Dojo

道場

Practice hall; the place where a martial art is taught and practiced

Ki

A central concept in East Asian systems of thought and medicine, as well as many other martial arts aside from Aikido. A kind of “life force” that governs the way living beings move and operate.

Nage (or Tori)

投げ or 取り

The partner executing a technique in paired or multiple partner practice

O-sensei

大先生

Reference of respect to Morihei Ueshiba (1883-1969), the founder of Aikido, whose picture adorns the front of the dojo

Rei

A bow

Sensei

先生

Teacher

Uke

受け

Receiver of a Technique, that is, the “attacker” who is then thrown or pinned

 Body Parts

 Below is a basic list of body parts in Japanese that are commonly mentioned or manipulated in Aikido. 

ashi

foot/leg

atama

head

hiji

elbow

hiza

knee

kata

shoulder

koshi

hip

kote

小手

forearm

kubi

neck

mune

chest

te

hand

tekubi

手首

wrist

ude

arm

 Dojo Phrases and Commands

While not all dojo use these terms, they are some common ones that you will here either in this club or at other dojo or at seminars. 

Arigato gozaimashita

有難うございました

Thank you

Hajime

始め

“Begin” or “Start”

Matte

待って

“Wait” or “Stop”

Onegai shimasu

お願いします

A standard Japanese phrase used when asking for a favor or request.  In Aikido, one says this while bowing to the sensei at the beginning of class and to one’s partner before practicing a technique.

Shomen ni rei!

正面に礼

Bow to the front!  Command used to signal formal seated bow by students at end of practice

 Postures, Movements, and Exercises 

Ai-hanmi

相半身

Stance where the Nage and Uke are both standing with either both right feet or both left feet forward.

Atemi

当て身

Strikes to the body at vulnerable points.  Used in techniques to distract or unbalance the attacker and thereby increase the effectiveness of a technique

Gyaku-hanmi

逆半身

A mirror hanmi stance where the Uke and Nage have different feet forward (Uke has left foot forward and Nage has the right foot forward or visa versa)

Hanmi

半身

A triangular stance where one foot is in front and pointing forward and the rear foot is placed perpendicular to the front foot.

Hanmi-handachi

半身半立

The Nage is seated in seiza and the Uke is standing.

Hidari-hanmi

左半身

Hanmi stance with left (hidari) foot forward

Hito-e-mi or Hitoe-irimi

一重身 or 一重入り身

An entering move in which Nage slides forward on the front foot and then pivots reversal (see below), so that Nage is standing at Uke’s back in the same hanmi stance (right or left) as Uke is.

Jiyu-waza

自由

“Free-style” techniques performed usually with one Uke and usually with a pre-decided attack.

Jo-nage

杖投げ

Throws done when the Nage holds the jo and the uke tries to take it from him.

Jo-dori

杖取り

Defenses by the Nage when attacked by the Uke with a jo

Kaiten

回転

Forward Step-Pivot

Kokyu-dosa

呼吸動作

A breathing exercise

Kokyu-ho

呼吸

Breathing exercise usually done at the end of a practice session either seated or standing.

Ma-ai

間合い

Space between the Nage and the Uke

Mae Ukemi (or Zenpo Kaiten)

前受身 (or 前方回転)

The forward roll.

Migi-hanmi

右半身

Hanmi stance with right (migi) foot forward

Omote

Front or in front of, used to describe techniques executed by moving across Uke’s front

Randori

乱取り

Free-style exercise where two or more Uke attack the Nage using any attack of their choice.

Seiza

正座

Formal Japanese way of sitting on the floor with one sitting with knees pointed forward and rear end on one’s feet and ankles.  For men, the knees should be one to two fist lengths apart with one big toe resting on top of the other.  For women, knees are one fist apart with one foot resting on top of the other.

Shikko

膝行

Walking on one’s knees.

Suri-nuke

すり抜け

An entry where one takes a step forward and then executes a pivot.

Suwari-waza (or Zagi)

坐り or 座技

Techniques where both Nage and Uke are seated in seiza

Tachi-dori

太刀取り

Defenses to a sword attack, sword takeaways

Tachi-waza

立ち技

Techniques done while standing

Tai-sabaki

体捌き

The general term for body movements used in Aikido to avoid an attack and unbalance the attacker in the process

Tanto-dori

短刀取り

Defenses to a knife attack, knife takeaways

Tenkan (or Tai-no-henko)

転換 or 体の変向

A turn in which the back leg of the hanmi stance is pulled back 180 degrees to reverse one’s direction.  The front foot of the stance is used as the pivot point.  Unlike a pivot, one’s stance is the same as before the move, but one is facing the opposite direction.

Tenshin

転身

Movement where one steps back and off-line of the incoming attack.

Ukemi

受け身

Tumbling or breakfalls.

Ura

Rear or in back of, used to describe techniques executed by moving around behind the Uke

Ushiro Ukemi (or Koho kaiten)

後ろ受身 (後方回転)

The backwards roll.

Ushiro-waza

後技

Defenses to attacks from the rear

Waza

A technique

 Attacks 

As all forms in Aikido consist of an attack and a defense (or a combination of defenses and attacks), you should become familiar with the various kinds of attacks common to Aikido.  While this is not a comprehensive list, this covers all of the most common (and a few uncommon) attacks used in Aikido. 

Shomen-uchi

正面打ち

Strike to the front of the face with the te-gatana

Yokomen-uchi

横面打ち

Strike to the temple with the te-gatana

Mune-zuki

胸突き

Punch to the abdomen

Katate-dori

片手取り

Single-handed grip to the wrist (Uke grabs Nage’s right wrist with his left hand)

Gyaku katate-dori or Ai-dori or Ai-hanmi katate-dori

逆片手取り or 相取りor 相半身片手取り)

Cross-handed grip to the wrist (Uke grabs Nage’s right wrist with his right hand)

Morote-dori (or Katate-ryote-dori)

諸手取り (or 片手諸手取り)

Uke uses two hands to grab one of the Nage’s wrist.

Ryote-dori

両手取り

Uke uses both hands to grab both of the Nage’s wrists

Mune-dori

胸取り

Uke grabs Nage by the lapel of dogi

Kata-dori

肩取り

Uke grabs one of the Nage’s shoulder with one hand

Ryokata-dori

両肩取り

Uke grabs both of the Nage’s shoulders

Kata-dori shomen-uchi

肩取り正面打ち

Uke grabs one of the Nage’s shoulder with one hand and strikes at the Nage with the other hand

Ushiro ryote-dori

後両手取り

Uke grabs both Nage’s wrists from behind.

Ushiro ryokata-dori

後両肩取り

Uke grabs both Nage’s shoulders from behind.

Ushiro eri-dori

後襟取り

Uke grabs the back of Nage’s collar from behind

Ushiro kubi-jime

後首締め

Uke reaches around with one arm, grabs the Nage’s lapel to strangle the Nage and holds on to one of Nage’s wrists with the other hand

Ushiro-kakae

後抱え

Uke embraces Nage’s torso from behind, so that Nage’s arms are trapped

 Basic Techniques 

The first step in mastering a technique is knowing its name.  To that end, we provide you with a list of the basic techniques or kihon waza.  There are many more techniques (some with names, and some without), however these are the ones most common in practice.  We realize that a simple list of techniques doesn’t give anyone much of a clue of what each technique looks like, however, without regular practice, the association of movement with name cannot be achieved. 

Shiho-nage

四方投げ

Four Direction Throw

Irimi-nage

入り身投げ

Entering Throw

Kote-gaeshi

小手返し

Throw from outward wrist twist

Tenchi-nage

天地投げ

Heaven and Earth Throw

Kaiten-nage

回転投げ

Rotation Throw

Kokyu-nage

呼吸投げ

Breath Throw

Koshi-nage

腰投げ

Hip Throw

Juji-garami (sometimes juji-nage)

十字がらみ (十字投げ)

Cross-shaped Entanglement

Sumi-otoshi

隅落とし

Corner Drop

Aiki-otoshi

合気落とし

Aiki Drop

Ikkyo (ude osae)

一教 (腕押さえ)

Arm Pin

Nikkyo (kote-mawashi)

二教 (小手回し)

Wrist In-Turn to arm pin

Sankyo (kote-hineri)

三教 (小手ひねり)

Wrist Twist to arm pin

Yonkyo (tekubi-osae)

四教 (手首押さえ)

Wrist Pin

Gokyo (ude-nobashi)

五教 (腕伸ばし)

Arm Stretch

Ude-hishigi (or Hiji-gatame or sometimes Rokkyo)

腕ひしぎ or 肘固め (六教)

Arm Smash; an technique executed by hyper-extending the elbow

  The original glossary was compiled in 2002 as part of the Harvard Aikikai's website by Jeffery Bayliss and Daryl Muranaka to reflect general Aikido terms and some terms particular to their respective training histories. Harvard Aikikai is proud to share this expanded version of the glossary with the MIT Aikido Club so that it may be posted on both websites.

 
     
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