Glossary of Aikido Terms



  • ai-hanmi - mutal stance; both partners have the same foot forward
  • agatsu - victory over self; O-Sensei's second principle of aikido
  • atemi - strike; defensive blow used to neutralize the ki of your partner, i.e., put him/her off balance so a technique can be effectively applied. It is not meant to inflict injury.
  • bokken - wooden sword with two edges, or generically, any sword.
  • bukuto - wooden sword with one edge.
  • bu - martial ardor; in Aikido, Bu signifies valor and indomitable spirit, not contention and strife. Aikido is the ultimate expression of Bu, which originally meant to prevent two weapons from coming together.
  • budo - martial ways; ways originating in the martial arts.
  • budoka - martial arts practitioner
  • dan - level, black belt rank
  • deshi - student or disciple
  • do-gi - training uniform
  • dojo - training hall; Buddhist temples and any training hall where a Way is practiced.
  • Doshu - grand master; following traditional Japanese custom, the position of Doshu has been hereditary.

E-J Top

  • gokyo - number five pinning technique
  • gyaku-hanmi - reverse stance; opposite feet advanced; mirror image
  • hai - yes
  • hakama - a dividied, skirt-like pant. In most USAF dojos, it is black or dark blue and is worn by men of yudansha rank and women of all ranks.
  • henkawaza - switching from one technique to another.
  • hanmi - half open body; the basic triangular stance of aikido.
  • hanmi-handachi - techniques done when nage is kneeling (seiza) and uke attacks from a standing position
  • hantai - opposite or reverse
  • hara - center or "one point" in the lower abdomen. This is also, reputedly, the physical center of the body.
  • hidari - left
  • hiji - elbow
  • hiza - knee
  • Hombu dojo - Headquarter training hall; the headquarters of both the Japanese and International Aikido Federatios. It is located in Tokyo.
  • ikkyo - number one pinning technique
  • irimi - to enter; entering
  • jo - wooden staff about shoulder high in length
  • jo-tori - jo take away; techniques for disarming an opponent armed with a jo.
  • juji-nage - crossed arms throw; throw executed when uke's arms are crossed at right angles.
  • jyuwaza - free style throwing

K-N Top

  • kaeshi-waza - counter techniques. Uke applies the initial technique to nage.
  • kaiten - open and turn; to revolve or turn.
  • kakari-geiko - hard practice; repetition of the same technique with many uke.
  • kanji - Japanese or Chinese written characters
  • kata - fixed form; predetermined sequences of movements used as a learning techniquein martial arts. Also, shoulder.
  • Katsu haya hi - victory faster than light; O'Sensei's third principle of Aikido.
  • keiko - practice session or training
  • kiai - full of ki; on the physical plane, kiai is manifest as a piercing shout emanating from the depths of one's being. On the spiritual plane, it is manifest as a steady outpouring of vital energy.
  • kohai - junior student
  • kokyu - animating breath; when one's kokyu is full and deep, one is in tune with the workings of the universe
  • kokyu dosa - an exercise to develop your ki/breathing without using strength.
  • kokyu-ho - breath-meditation; special set of meditation and development techniques aimed at calming the spirit and establishing true kokyu.
  • koshi-nage - hip throw; techniques throwing uke over your hips.
  • kubi - neck
  • ma-ai - distance; the proper space between two partners; varies with the height of the partners and whether or not they are holding weapons.
  • masa-katsu - correct style of victory; O'Sensei's first principle of aikido.
  • men - face or head
  • migi - right
  • misogi - purification; rites of breathing or water used to purify body and mind; to remove various impurities and restore our true image. O-Sensei considered all aikido techniques to be forms of misogi.
  • mune - chest
  • nage - throw or the person who throws

O-Z Top

  • omote - forward; techniques done moving forward or in front of uke.
  • onegai shimasu - "I make a request; please do me this favor."
  • O-Sensei - great teacher; common way of referring to the founder, Ueshiba Morihei.
  • rei - respect; the formal gesture of respect and gratitude used by aikido practitioners.
  • reigi - etiquette or courtesy
  • ryo - both
  • seiza - correct or calm sitting; most formal and classic sitting style in Japan; sitting on knees with feet flat; back straight.
  • sempai - senior student
  • sensei - teacher; title used for instructor
  • shihan - teacher of teachers; honorary title awarded to some of the highest ranking teachers
  • shiho - four directions
  • shikaku - dead corner
  • shikko - knee walking
  • shisei - position, posture, attitude; both physical and mental
  • shomen - front or top of head; also the front of a dojo
  • soto - out/outside; movement outside of uke's arm
  • yudansha - person holding black belt rank
  • zanshin - unbroken concentration; the "follow through" of a technique. One is connected to uke even after the throw in an unbroken flow of ki, simultaneously ready to receive any new attack. A moment of settling and stillnes at the completion of a technique

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Page last updated: 08/22/01