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  • achira: that side/that direction (cf. kochira).
  • ai: uniting; harmony.
  • ai hanmi: corresponding posture – both partners mirror each other with same stance, e.g. both with left foot forward
  • ai hanmi katate dori: a one-handed wrist grab, cross-handed (also called kosa dori)
  • aikido: ‘the way of harmony of the spirit’
  • anza: sitting cross-legged (don’t get it mixed up with hanza)
  • atemi: a strike or thrust to distract opponent, usually secondary
  • ayumi ash’: stylised walking steps


  • BAB: British Aikido Board
  • bo: a long wooden practice staff
  • bokken: a wooden practice sword


  • chu dan: middle level (above belt)


  • do: path; way.
  • dojo: place where a martial art is practiced; training hall; also used to signify an aikido club as a whole
  • dojo rei: a command meaning that everyone in the dojo should bow. See also shomen-ni reiO-tagai ni rei and O Sensei rei.
  • domo arigato: than you very much.
  • domo arigato gozaimashita: said at the end of a class, it is a very formal way of saying ‘thank you very much’.
  • doshu: hereditary head.
  • douzo: please.


  • furitama: ‘shaking the ball exercise’, meditation exercise following torifune


  • gamae: see kamae
  • ge dan: lower level (below the belt)
  • gi: clothes worn in martial arts; look like white pyjamas. In full, a keikogi.
  • gokyo: ’5th teaching principle’; a possible defence against some knife attacks.
  • gokyu: 5th kyu grade
  • gyaku hanmi: opposite posture – both partners have differing postures, one hidari, one migi


  • hai!: Yes! Call it out with enthusiasm if called to the front as uke.
  • haishin undo: a back-stretch exercise
  • hajime: begin! (yelled by a sensei)
  • hanmi: half-body stance, so hidari hanmi (or gamae) and migi hanmi (or gamae)
  • hanmi handachi: techniques where tori is in seiza and uke is standing
  • hanza: ‘half-sitting’; a waiting position, where you are sat on the heel of one leg (as in kiza) but the knee of the other leg is upright, hands resting on knees. Sit like this when waiting to join a group, or while sensei is talking (if you are at the front as uke).
  • hidari: left
  • hidari hanmi / hidari gamae: left posture.
  • hiji dori: holding at the elbow (ryo hiji dori would be both elbows grabbed)
  • hiraku: opening.
  • hirogatte: a command meaning spread out


  • ie: no (pronounce ‘ee-eh’).
  • ikkyo: ’1st teaching principle’; a defence, for example against a shomen uchi
  • ikkyu: 1st kyu grade
  • irimi: entering movement; steppign forwards (‘irimi ashi‘)
  • iriminage: ‘entering body throw’; a technique involving stepping through and cutting an opponent down by reaching up


  • jiyu-waza: flowing or free-practice; freeform unrehearsed techniques
  • jo: a wooden practice staff
  • jo dan: upper level (throat or face)
  • jo-dori: jo-taking techniques
  • junbi taiso: warming-up exercises


  • kaeshi wazaa counter attack, or back-up technique when the primary one starts to fail.
  • kaiten: rotation or turning.
  • kaiten nage: ‘rotary throw’.
  • kamae: posture, sometimes gamae
  • kamiza:
  • kansetsu-waza: joint techniques: sankyo etc.
  • kata dori: holding at the shoulder with one hand, usually from gyaku hanmi: see also ryo kata dori
  • katate dori: holding a wrist with one hand, usually from gyaku hanmi
  • keiko: practive; literally ‘repeating the old’
  • keikogi: practice clothes; usually shortened to ‘gi‘.
  • keri: a kick.
  • ki: spirit; vital energy.
  • kiai: expulsion of air; spirit-shout
  • kiza: sitting, but up on your toes
  • kochira: this side/this direction (cf. achira).
  • kohai: a junior in the class. Compare to sempai.
  • kokyu ho: breath power exercises, done as tachi waza or suwari waza; usually from sitting, and called (in full) suwari waza ryote dori kokyu ho  – see image below.
  • kokyu rokyu: breath power.
  • konbawa: good evening (greeting).
  • konnichiwa: good afternoon (greeting).
  • koshi nage: hip throw.
  • kosa dori: a one-handed wrist grab, cross-handed (also called ai hanmi katate dori)
  • kotai: change (stance or direction)
  • kote gaeshi: wrist outer turning.


  • ma ai: space; the (ideal) distance between partners
  • mae: forwards
  • mae chokto ukemi: direct breakfall to the front.
  • mae geri: straight forwards kick.
  • mae kaiten ukemi: forwards rolling breakfall
  • mae ukemi: forwards breakfall
  • migi: right
  • migi hanmi / migi gamae: right posture.
  • misogiaustere purification rituals, often involving water and intense training of various kinds. Although Misogi was a part of O Sensei’s daily life, many UK dojos do misogi together on specific occasions, just a few times a year – Kagami Biraki being one of them.
  • morote dori: one wrist held with both hands, usually from gyaku hanmi
  • mune dori: holding at the lapel.


  • nage: see tori
  • nage waza: throwing techniques
  • nidan: 2nd dan
  • nikyo: ’2nd teaching principle’; a defence involving a wrist lock in the ura form.
  • nikyu: 2nd kyu grade


  • obi: belt.
  • ogenki desu-ka?: How are you / are you well? [Answers: ‘Hai, okagesamade‘ ‘Yes, thank you’.]
  • ohayou: good morning (greeting).
  • ohayou gozaimasu: good morning (very polite form of greeting).
  • okuriashi: ‘front foot irimi‘ – shuffling steps (both feet closer together than in other steps). Some confusion between this term and tsugiashi – okuriashi is the preferred term for the front foot moving first in ‘Best Aikido’ by Moriteru Ueshiba.
  • omote: forwards; to the live side/to uke‘s front
  • O Sensei: ‘Great teacher’; Morihei Ueshiba, the founder of aikido
  • O Sensei rei: bow towards the picture of O Sensei. Note – this is not a religious bow, just a mark of respect. See alsoshomen-ni reiO-tagai ni rei and dojo rei.
  • O-tagai ni rei: ‘bow to each other’, a command used at the end of a class; see also shomen-ni reiO Sensei rei anddojo rei.
  • oyasuminasai: good night.


  • rei: a bow – see image below, and this page here. Can also be a command to bow.
  • retsu rei: standing bow.
  • rokyu: 6st kyu grade (the first grade you do – work back to 1st kyu, then do shodan)
  • ryo kata dori: holding both shoulders; see also kata dori
  • ryote dori / ryote mochi: holding both wrists with both hands.


  • sandan: 3rd dan
  • sankyo: ’3rd teaching principle’; a defence involving an outer wrist-twist.
  • sankyu: 3rd kyu grade
  • sayounara: goodbye.
  • seiza: sitting down with flat toes / kneeling. Can be a command to sit as well.
  • sempai: a senior in the dojo. Compare to kohai.
  • sensei: teacher / instructor; the one taking the class
  • shihonage: ‘four directions throw’; an aikido technique involving cutting uke down – see image below.
  • shikko: knee-walking
  • shinai: a type of bamboo sword.
  • shomen-ni rei: ‘bow to the front’, a command meaning that everyone should bow towards the dojo shomen, or ‘spiritual focus’ – usually the picture of O Sensei. See also O-tagai ni reiO Sensei rei and dojo rei.
  • shodan: 1st dan
  • shomen uchi: an overhead strike at the front/top of someone’s head
  • shto uchi: striking with the edge/side of the hand.
  • sode dori: holding at the sleeve.
  • sokumen: to the side; a sidewards action
  • sonkyo: sitting on yours heels with knees wide apart, and only the balls of the feet and toes on the ground.
  • sotai dosa: partnered exercises, usually from gyaku hanmi
  • soto kaiten nage: ‘outer rotary throw’.
  • sumi masein: I’m sorry.
  • sumi otoshi: ‘corner drop’ technique.
  • suwari waza: sitting techniques
  • suwatte: ‘sit down!’; a command meaning kneel, in seiza


  • tachi-dori: sword-taking techniques
  • tachi waza: standing techniques
  • tai sabaki: body movement exercises, done without a partner
  • tanto: a wooden practice dagger
  • tanto-dori: knife-taking techniques
  • tatami: mat/mats; assembled 2 mats one way, 2 the other
  • tatte: command – ‘stand up!’
  • te katana: ‘hand blade’; sometimes referred to as the shto.
  • ten chi nage: ‘heaven and earth throw’.
  • tenkai: ‘open body turning’; swivel round on balls of the feet and ending in a different hanmi
  • tenkan: ‘turning’; pivoting to the rear; sweeping spin turn around, hands ai hanmi to chu dan, so you end up in the original hanmi but facing in the opposite direction
  • tenshin: side-step
  • tori: (sometimes called nage) the person doing the technique on uke
  • torifune: boat-rowing exercise; see also furitama
  • ts’ki: (‘tsuki‘) straight punch, so chu dan ts’ki = stomach punch
  • tsugiashi: ‘front foot irimi‘ – shuffling steps (both feet closer together than in other steps). Some confusion between this term and okuriashi – okuriashi is the preferred term for the front foot moving first in ‘Best Aikido’ by Moriteru Ueshiba.


  • uchi kaiten nage: ‘inner rotary throw’.
  • ude garame nage: ‘arm-entangling throw’.
  • uke: the person receiving the technique from tori
  • ukemi: ‘receiving with the body’; breakfalls; expelling the breath before the fall is important
  • ura: backwards; to the dead side/to uke‘s rear
  • ushiro: to the rear/behind
  • ushiro hanten ukemi: breakfall to the rear and coming up forwards.
  • ushiro kaiten ukemi: rearwards rolling breakfall
  • ushiro katate dori kubishime: holding a person from behind, with one arm around their neck, and the other hand holding a wrist.
  • ushiro ryo kata dori: holding both a person’s shoulders from behind.
  • ushiro ryote dori: holding both a person’s wrists from behind.
  • ushiro ukemi: backwards breakfall
  • ushiro waza: techniques where tori is attacked from the rear


  • wakarimashitaka?: Do you understand? [Answers: ‘Hai, wakarimashitaka‘ ‘Yes, I understand’; or ‘Ie, wakarimasen‘ ‘No, I don’t understand’.]
  • waza: techniques; for examples see tachi wazasuwari wazaushiro waza


  • yame: stop! (yelled by a sensei)
  • yoko: to the side
  • yokomen uchi: a strike at the side of someone’s head
  • yoko ukemi: side breakfall
  • yonkyo: ’4th teaching principle’; a defence involving a bokken-like cut using uke’s forearm.
  • yonkyu: 4th kyu grade
  • yudansha: dan-grade seniors


  • zanshin: continuing kamae after a technique; awareness (of opponents, dangers and so on); shown by always being prepared and ready to defend)
  • zenpo tenkan-ash’irimi + tenkai and exact reverse; in suwari waza, end at a slight angle
  • zori: Japanese dojo sandals


1 is ICHI
2 is NI
3 is SAN
4 is SHI (or YON)
5 is GO
6 is ROKU
7 is SHICHI (or NANA)
8 is HACHI
9 is KU (or KYUU)
10 is JUU
11 is 10+1 JUU ICHI
12 is 10+2 JUU NI
13 is 10+3 JUU SAN
14 is 10+4 JUU YON (JUU SHI is possible by JUU YON is used more)
15 is 10+5 JUU GO
16 is 10+6 JUU ROKU
17 is 10+7 JUU SHICHI (or JUU NANA)
18 is 10+8 JUU HACHI
19 is 10+9 JUU KU (or JUU KYUU)
20 is 2+10 NI JUU [note that it is the opposite of 12 (JUU NI)]
21 is 2+10+1 NI JUU ICHI
22 is 2+10+2 NI JUU NI
30 is 3+10 SAN JUU
40 is 4+10 YON JUU (rarely SHI JUU)
50 is 5+10 GO JUU
60 is 6+10 ROKU JUU
70 is 7+10 NANA JUU (rarely SHICHI JUU)
80 is 8+10 HACHI JUU
90 is 9+10 KYUU JUU (not KU JUU)
100 is HYAKU – the first special word
105 is 100+5 HYAKU GO
158 is 100+50+8 HYAKU GO JUU HACHI
200 is 2+100 NI HYAKU
799 is 7+100+90+9 NANA HYAKU KYUU JUU KYUU