This is a list of terms that you will hear used in the dojo. By studying these definitions you will discover many facets of Aikido philosophy. The pronunciation of Japanese words tends to be straightforward, in that any word in the language is made up of one or more short syllable sounds called “the fifty sounds” or Go Ju No On.”  The consonants of Japanese are usually pronounced as those of English.

Vowels are pronounced as follows:

A “ah” as the a in father
E “eh”as the e in met
I “ee” as the i in marine
O “oh”as the o in oboe 
U “oo”as the u in rule


Aikido terms

Term Kanji Definition
Ai Harmony, coming together, unification
Ai hanmi 合半身 Mutual stance with partners facing each other with the same foot forward.
Aiki 合気 Universal life energy, the creative principle of life. Literally, Blending of energy (ki).
Aikido 合気道 The way of blending with universal energy; the art founded by Morihei Ueshiba.
Ai-uchi 相打 Simultaneous striking, mutual kill.
天の浮き橋 “Floating bridge of heaven", symbolizing the connection between earthy and heavenly realms of existence.
Amaterasu omikam 天照大御神T The goddess of the sun.
Arigato gozaimashita 有り難うございました Thank you.
Atemi 当身 Strikes, a blow directed toward an anatomical weak point, used defensively in Aikido.
Ato geiko 後稽古 Literally, “After-training training”, where higher belts throw lower belts to give more ukemi practice after regular class.
Bo Long staff.
Bokken 木剣 Wooden sword.
Bu Often translated as “martial”, this character has deep meaning in Aikido. It can mean “harmony,” “mutual understanding,” and “peace” as well as “martial”. The character is made up of two parts, one for “stop,”(止) and one for “thrusting spear.”(戈)
Bujutsu 武術 Fighting Techniques.
Budo 武道 "Martial Way" modern Japanese martial disciplines: literally, to stop the thrusting spear
Bushin 武神 Highest level of spiritual communion
Bushido 武士道 Warrior’s code; The way of the warrior.
Chinkon kishin 鎮魂帰神 “Calm the spirit and return to the source” a mediation technique rooted in Shinto spiritual practice.
Dan Black belt rank in Aikido.
Do A way of life direction; a path of physical and spiritual refinement.
Dojo 道場 Training hall. The place where the way is revealed. A place for the strengthening and refinement of spirit, mind and body.
Dori/tori 取り Grab.
Funakogi undo 船漕運動 Rowing practice.
Furi–tama 振霊 “Shaking down the spirit”, cleanse and polish the soul itself.
Gi 稽古着 Training uniform. Also called “keiko-gi”.
Gyaku hanmi 逆半身 Reverse stance in which partners have the opposite foot forward.
Hakama Pleated pants. At Two Cranes, hakama are worn by holders of dan rank (yudansha).
Hanmi 半身 The relaxed triangular stance of Aikido. It is stable, yet flexible enough to move quickly in any direction.
Hanmi Handachi 半身半立 Practice in which one person is kneeling and the other attacks from a standing position. 
Hara 腹  The lower abdomen. The center of life energy, physically and spiritually.
Irimi 入身 Entering physical and energetically into the center of the oppositional force in order to neutralize it.
Jiyu-–waza 自由技 Free-style techniques.
Jo Short staff
Kaeshiwaza 返技  Reversal techniques
Kaiten 廻転 “Open and turn,” one of the fundamental pillars of Aikido practice.
Kamae 構え A posture or stance of rediness.
Kami Fire and water; deity; natural gods and goddesses; spirit of the Universe; the divine.
Kannagara no michi 神ながらの道 The path that flows from the gods and binds the universe together.
Kata “Fixed form”; a set of prearranged series of movements.
Katate 片手 One hand (left or right).
Katsuhayabi 勝速日 “Victory right here, right now”; “speed which transcends time and space”; spiritual tenet of Aikido.
Katsu jin ken 活人剣 The saving of your enemy’s life. c.f. Satsu jin ken.
Keiko 稽古 Training, practice or study. The deeper meaning is to return to the origin, study the old.
Ki Spirit; vital force or energy; universal energy. Pronounced “chi” in Chinese.
Kiai 気合 The release of spiritual and physical power in the form of a piercing shout originating in the hara. 
Kihon 基本 Basic form of a technique.
Kokyu 言霊 Breath or breath power.
Kotodama 言霊 The spiritual function of sound; every one-syllable sound has its own unique vibration. The esoteric science of sacred sound.
Kumano 熊野 Ancient district in Wakamaya Prefecture; O Sensei’s birthplace.
Kumi–tachi 組太刀 Paired sword practices with the sword.
Kyu Rank below black belt.
Ma-ai 間合い Distance between uke and nage. The distance of time and space between two forces. Ma -space; ai harmony. The balanced and proper use of space.
Mae In front. Opposite of Ushiro.
Mandala 曼陀羅 Sacred diagram; cosmic map.
Masakatsu Agatsu 正勝吾勝 “True victory is self victory”, one of the principal tenets of Aikido.
Men–uchi 面打 Strike to the head.
Michi 道  Way.
Misogi Purification of mind, body, and spirit. Practices for the purpose of purification. Sweating is misogi; cleaning is misogi; keiko is misogi.
Mokuso 黙想 Meditation with eyes closed.
Mu Void, nothingness.
Musubi 霊び Harmonious connection; opposites are but different images of the same reality; the movement of the spiral; the process of unification.
Nage A throw; one who throws.
Onegai Shimasu お願いします “Please [train with me].” Japanese phrase used between students to initiate training.
O Sensei 大先生 Great teacher- the title used for the Founder of Aikido.
Randori 乱取 Multiple attack.
Rei Multiple attack.
Ryote 両手 Both hands.
Samaurai One who serves and protects.
Satsu jin ken  殺人剣 The destruction of killing of one’s enemy. c.f. Katsu jin ken
Seiza 正座 Formal sitting position.
Sensei 先生 Teacher, one who gives guidance. Literally-born before.
Senshin 洗心 A purified heart and spirit; enlightened attitude.
Shiho 四方 Four directions.
Shin ken 真剣 Live blade. Unified attention.
Shin kokyu 深呼吸 Divine or spirit breath. lit. Deep breathing exercise.
Shinto  神道 Way of the Gods; indigenous religion of Japan.
Shomen 正面 The shrine which houses the picture of the founder and the spirit of Aikido. lit. the “front” of the dojo.
Shomen uchi 正面打 Strike or cut to the top of the head.
Shugyo 修業 Intensive training (Spiritual, mental, physical ascetic).
Soto Outside. Opposite of uchi.
Suki 空き Opening gap; vulnerability; moment of inattention.
Suburi 素振り Repetitions of a motion done for the purpose of perfecting performance.
Swari waza 坐技 Techniques practiced on the knees.
Tachi  太刀 Japanese long sword.
Tachi dori  太刀取 Techniques of sword taking.
Tachi waza 立技 Techniques from standing. c.f. Suwari waza
Tai no henko 体の変更 The basic blending practice. Tenkan exercise.
Take musu aiki 武産合気 Enlightened Aikido. Courageous and creative living. Birth of martial valor.
Tanto 短刀 Knife.
Tanto dori 短刀取 Techniques of knife taking.
Te 手  Hand.
Tegatana  手刀 Hand blade; Sword edge of the hand. Also pronounced “shuto."
Ten–chi 天地 Heaven and earth; the complete universe.
Tenkan 転換 Turning, a turning technique (ura waza).
Tsuki 突き Thrust; punch to a body part.
Uchi 打ち Strike.
Uchi Inside. Opposite of soto.
Ueshiba Morihei 植芝盛平 The founder of Aikido.
Uke Literally means “receiver”. Generally refers to the person who provides the attack and takes the fall. c.f. Nage.
Ukemi 受身 Techniques of falling. The art of protecting oneself from injury. The first and most important step to developing strong Aikido technique is developing good ukemi.
Ura  Moving behind. Opposite of omote.
Ushiro 後ろ From behind; back; rear. Opposite of mae.
Waza 技  Techniques.
Yudansha 有段者 One who has achieved the rank of black belt in an art.
Zanshin 残心 Continuity; complete awareness of one’s surroundings; unbroken concentration. 


Names of Aikido Attacks

Attack Description
Ai dori Cross hand grab
Kata dori Shoulder grab
Katate dori Single wrist grab
Morote dori Partner attacks by grabbing one wrist with both hands
Mune tsuki Chest or stomach strike
Ryote dori Partner attacks by grabbing both wrists
Shomen uchi Top of the head strike
Tsuki Thrusting strike
Ushiro dori Rear "bear hug"
Ushiro katatedori Rear choke with one wrist hold
Ushiro ryo kata dori Both shoulders grabbed from the rear
Yokomen uchi Strike to the side of the head
Ushiro ryo tekubi dori Both wrists grabbed from the rear


Names of Aikido Techniques

Name Description
Ikkyo First teaching
Nikkyo Second teaching, using wrist pressure
Sankyo Third teaching, using wrist pressure
Yonkyo Fourth teaching using nerve pressure
Gokyo Fifth teaching appropriate for knife attacks
Irimi nage Entering throw
Juji nagi Crossed arm throw
Kaiten nage Rotary throw
Kokyu ho Seated technique using ki extension
Kokyu nage "Breath throw" using timing of body and spirit without applying pressure to partner's joints.
Koshi nage Hip throw
Kote gaeshi Technique using wrist reversal
Shiho nage Four direction throw
Sumi otoshi Corner drop throw
Tenchi nage Heaven and earth throw