Takemusu Glossary of Techniques


  • Agastsu   

    victory over self

  • Ai hanmi   

    both partners have the same foot forward to begin a technique

  • Aiki       

    uniting ki with partner/attacker

  • Aikido       

    the way of harmonizing life’s energy

  • Aikidoka

    person who practices aikido

  • Aiki jinja

    shrine dedicated to the Aiki spirit

  • Aiki jo

    short staff used as part of Ri-ai. The length is approximately 4 ft. 2 inches long

  • Aikikai

    organization for Aikido under the Ueshiba Family

  • Aiki ken

    wooden sword used in Aikido as part of Ri-ai

  • Aiki no michi

    alternate term for Aikido. (michi=do)

  • Aiki otoshi

    aiki drop; throw

  • Aiki taiso

    aikido related exercises/warm ups

  • Aite

    depending on kanji written…could be partner, but classically meant opponent

  • Ai uchi

    mutual strike; it is striking (kendo) without the fear of being hit

  • Ashi

    leg or foot

  • Atemi

    strike or feint to a weak point or area

  • Awase

    blended/harmonious movement (same character as Ai in Aikido)

  • Barai/harai

    parry or warding off

  • Bo

    6 foot long staff; used in karate/kobudo

  • Bokken

    wooden training sword – used for Aiki-ken. Also known as bokuto

  • Bukiwaza

    weapons training/techniques

  • Butsu karu

    colliding vs awaseru (harmonizing) with your attacker

  • Chikara


  • Choku


  • Choku tsuki

    direct thrust

  • Chudan

    middle position; compared to jodan-high position; gedan-low position

  • Dai

    great/important. ex.-Dai Ikkyo

  • Dame

    wrong; incorrect

  • Dan

    level, black belt rank

  • Deshi

    student; disciple

  • Do

    the way; can be read as michi

  • Dogi

    clothes used when training; also keikogi

  • Dojo

    training hall; lit. hall of the way

  • Dojo cho

    head of the training hall or dojo

  • Dori

    same as tori; to grab or hold or catch

  • Dosa

    kokyu dosa; sitting way: do=path or way; sa/za=sitting

  • Doshu

    leader of the way; head of the Aikikai

  • Embukai

    public demonstration of martial arts

  • Fudo myoo

    Buddhist guardian, patron saint of marital arts; also known as Acala

  • Fudo shin

    immovable mind

  • Fukushidoin

    assistant instructor; aikido 2 to 3 dan minimum

  • Funakogi

    undo-rowing exercise, as if pushing and pulling a Japanese oar. Ame noTorifune

  • Futari dori/
  • futari gake

    two persons holding/attacking

  • Gaeshi/kaeshi


  • Gasshuku

    training camp. Retreat or camp where everyone lives eats and trains together

  • Gedan

    low (position)

  • Gokyo

    fifth teaching

  • Goshin
  • Jitsu

    self defense techniques

  • Gyaku

    reverse, opposite

  • Gyaku hanmi

    partners have the opposite foot forward

  • Hajime

    begin; start

  • Hanmi

    means ‘half body’. Common usage refers to the triangular stance

  • Handachi

    Nage is sitting (shikko-style) and uke is standing and attacking

  • Happo

    eight directions

  • Harai/barai

    sweep or parry

  • Henka waza

    variation of a technique

  • Hidari

    left (vs. right)

  • Hiji


  • Ibaragi
  • Shibu dojo

    formerly known as the ‘Iwama’ dojo. Shibu means branch.

  • In

    Japanese term for yin in Chinese

  • Irimi

    ‘enter body’…the body enters into the attack

  • Iwama

    name of the town where Morihei Ueshiba lived and had his dojo. The Aiki Shrine is across the street from his home/dojo

  • Jiyu waza

    free style techniques/techniques done without being pre-set

  • Jo

    short staff about 4ft 2 inches in length and about 1 inch in diameter

  • Jodan

    high position

  • Jo dori

    jo taking or disarming attacker from empty hands

  • Ju

    ten (number)

  • Ju/jiu/jyu

    soft (vs ‘hard’)…different kanji than “ten”, but same sound

  • Jujigarami

    figure ‘ten’ entwining throw

  • Jujinage

    same technique as above. The meaning is: ‘figure ten throw’

  • Kaeshi/gaeshi


  • Kaeshi waza

    counter or reversal techniques

  • Kaiso

    founder (of Aikido…Morihei Ueshiba)

  • Kakari geiko

    attackers line up and come in one at a time

  • Kakudo


  • Kamae

    ‘en guard’ position

  • Kami

    divinity; gods/spirits of Shinto

  • Kamiza

    honorary place in the dojo; usually in the ‘front’. Compare to shomen

  • Kampai

    cheers; a toast

  • Kan


  • Kangeiko

    winter training on the coldest days of the year

  • Kanji

    Chinese ideograms for the Japanese language

  • Kansetsu

    joint (in body)

  • Kata

    form (movements)

  • Katachi


  • Katadori

    grabbing the do-gi at the shoulder

  • Katadori

    grip at the shoulder, then nage ‘calls out’ the uke in shomen uchi

  • Menuchi


  • Katame waza

    pinning techniques; controlling techniques

  • /Gatame waza
  • *** Should Katai be here (ie.. solid practice info?)
  • Katai

    aka Katai-Keiko or Kihon – attack starting from a static or solid position

  • Katana

    Japanese sword-also called ken, to, or tachi

  • Katate

    one handed

  • Katatedori

    uke holds the wrist with one hand in gyaku hanmi

  • Katsu Hayabi

    right now; this moment

  • Keiko

    training, bringing historic teachings forward

  • Keiko gi

    training uniform or outfit.

  • Ken

    sword; also called katana, to or tachi

  • Kesa giri

    cutting along the line of the lapel; diagonal cut

  • Ki

    energy; life energy

  • Kiai

    a piercing shout in martial arts

  • Kihon


  • Kihonwaza

    basic training or basic techniques, starting from a static position (not in motion)

  • Kime


  • Kimusubi

    unifying one’s ki with the attacker

  • Kimusubi
  • No Tachi

    sixth kumitachi; the bokken do not make contact during the form; also otonashi no ken (silent sword)

  • Ki-No- Nagare

    Japanese sword-also called ken, to, or tachi

  • Kogeki


  • Kokoro

    heart, mind, will; also shin

  • Kokyu


  • Kokyu ryoku

    spiral (breath) strength; breath power

  • Kokyu-ho

    breath training

  • Kokyu nage

    breath throw

  • Kosa

    cross over (gyakute, aihanmi, katatedori)

  • Koshi

    hip, back

  • Koshinage

    hip throw, nage and uke’s bodies form a cross at the hip

  • Kotegaeshi

    reversed wrist, throw

  • Kototama

    Sometimes ‘kotodama’. Sound mysticism/ cosmology. ‘Sound creates reality’

  • Ku

    nine (number);sometimes pronounced kyu

  • Kubi


  • Kubishime

    choking the neck

  • Kuden

    oral teaching/tradition, also Okuden

  • Kumi

    group or set

  • Kumi jo

    jo vs jo exercise (10)

  • Kumi tachi

    bokken vs bokken exercise (6)

  • Kuzushi

    breaking the balance (unbalancing direction)

  • Kyo

    for instance, Ikkyo; kyo means lesson or teaching or principle-ikkyo is first principle or teaching

  • Kyu

    grade or level before black belt or dan

  • Ma

    distance or space between attacker and receiver

  • Ma-ai

    harmonious space between training partners

  • Mae

    front, forward vs. ushiro

  • Mae ukemi

    front rolls or falls

  • Masakatsu

    true victory

  • Me


  • Men

    top of head

  • Michi

    the way, path or road; also do

  • Migi

    right (hidari, left

  • Misogi

    purification, cleansing

  • Mokuso


  • Moro


  • Moro-te dori

    grasping the forearm with two hands

  • Muna

    from the traditional name munamotodori or grasping the lapel of the kimono

  • Mune

    chest, same as above; used interchangeably

  • Munedori

    gripping the lapel at the chest level; same as munadori

  • Musubi

    binding together; for instance in ki musubi no tachi

  • Nagare


  • Nage

    throw; the thrower…the person doing the technique-tori

  • Nage waza

    throwing techniques

  • Nin


  • Ni nin dori

    two attackers holding

  • Ni nin gake

    two person attack

  • O

    big, great

  • Obi

    Japanese belt

  • Omote

    (in front) front, vs. ura

  • Osae

    press or pin down

  • O’Sensei

    in the Aikido world, it is Morihei Ueshiba

  • Otagai ni rei

    bow to each other

  • Otoshi

    drop; such as aiki otoshi, sumi otoshi or ganseki otoshi

  • Oyo waza

    application of the basics; often modified for efficiency

  • Randori

    multiple attackers; means ‘grabbing hold of chaos’ or controlling chaos

  • Rei


  • Reigi


  • Renshu

    training or practice. See-Keiko

  • Riai

    movement and principles are the same whether using bokuto, jo or body arts

  • Ritsurei

    standing bow

  • Ryo


  • Ryo-te dori

    uke holds both wrists with both hands

  • Sabaki

    management or control

  • Sankaku


  • Seiza

    sitting Japanese style on the knees

  • Sensei

    teacher-literally the one who has gone before

  • Shiboru

    to wring or squeeze (a towel)

  • Shidoin

    instructor as awarded by Aikikai hombu dojo. Minimum 4th or 5th dan plus has own dojo

  • Shihan

    master instructor. Minimum 6th dan

  • Shikko

    knee walking

  • Shite

    the one leading, defender in Aikido…also called tori or nage

  • Shomen

    front of the dojo; straight ahead

  • Shomen uchi

    straight overhead strike

  • Sode

    sleeve of do-gi

  • Sode dori

    grasping the sleeve. Some styles call it hiji dori

  • Sode guchi

    sleeve opening

  • Sode guchi

    grasping the cuff of the sleeve

  • Soto


  • Suburi

    basic movement of bokken and jo

  • Sumi


  • Sumikiri

    sharpness of mind and body

  • Suwari waza

    seated training

  • Tachi


  • Tachi


  • Tachi dori

    taking a sword (bokken) empty handed

  • Tachi waza

    standing techniques

  • Tai


  • Tai jutsu

    body techniques, empty handed techniques

  • Tai no henko

    body turn; the Founder always started practice with tai no henko

  • Tai sabaki

    evasive body movement; lit. body management

  • Taiso


  • Takemusu

    highest principle of Aikido, spontaneous techniques arise when attacked

  • Tanken

    see tanto

  • Tanren

    forging techniques

  • Tanto/tanken

    Japanese knife

  • Tanto/tanken

    empty handed knife takeaway

  • Te


  • Tegatana

    hand sword; basic hand position

  • Tekubi


  • Tenkan


  • To

    sword-compare to ken, katana, tachi

  • Tobu ukemi

    leaping break fall

  • Tori

    person who ‘takes’ or ‘grabs’ the attack. Compare to Nage, Shiite

  • Tori fune

    rowing exercise. Lit. ‘bird boat’ the heavenly boat that traversed the skies from

  • Tsubame Giri

    swallow (bird) cut-a continuous cut down then up diagonally; the famous cut by Sasaki Kojiro who fought Miyamoto Musashi

  • Tsuka

    sword hilt

  • Tsuki


  • Uchi


  • Uchi

    inside, also implies hidden or ‘house’ teachings

  • Uchi desshi

    student living in the dojo

  • Ude


  • Uke

    one receiving the technique; the attacker

  • Ukemi

    the one who takes falls and pins after the attack

  • Undo

    earth to heaven and back again. Also funakogi undo

  • Ura

    back or behind. Vs. omote

  • Ushiro

    behind. Vs. mae or in front

  • Ushiro ukemi

    backward falls

  • Waka Sensei

    young master; designated next Doshu

  • Waza


  • Yamabiko

    calling out the ‘ki’ of an attack or inviting (sasoi); Saito Sensei called it-Yamabiko no Michi

  • Yame


  • Yawarakai

    letting attacker gently attach to you, while in motion (vs

  • Yoko


  • Yokomen

    strike to side of the head

  • Yudansha

    black belt

  • Za


  • Zaho

    same as suwari

  • Zanshin

    continued concentration after the technique

  • Zengo

    turning one direction then another…front then back

Aikido Philosophy

Aikido is primarily a self-defense art. One of its philosophical pillars is the notion of being in Harmony with your attackers rather than being in conflict with them. The ideal of Aikido is not to think of overpowering, competing or defeating an opponent. Instead the focus is to harmonize with them both spiritually and physically. To apply no more of a response than is necessary to protect yourself or others. This gives you options so that you can deal with the conflict at hand, without causing undue harm.

During practice sessions, partners work in harmony with each other, learning when and how to yield, how to lead and guide another person’s movements and how to control an opponent through non-resistive techniques.

Most people find that because of this deeply held philosophy, they can apply the principles learned in the dojo, in their every day lives with profound results.

Movements and Techniques

Aikido techniques express elements of philosophy, psychology, and physics. As we practice the movements, we will, at the same time, train our minds, improve our health and develop self-confidence. Through the physical practice of the self-defense techniques, the Aikido student comes to appreciate and understand the mental and spiritual aspects of Aikido.

Aikido movements emphasize flexibility, balance, and circular motions. The aim of the Aikidoist is to have their mind and body unified and to maintain a calm, alert posture and spirit. Aikido movement originates at the hips and expresses itself through the arms and hands as a dance-like graceful, spherical flowing motion. The beauty of Aikido movements comes from the coordinated motion of the entire body–each part contributing to the integrated sequence of movement.The joint locking techniques, such as those applied to the wrist or elbow, flex the joints in the direction of natural bending. They result in no permanent damage to the joint or tissues even though the techniques are effective and can be painful.

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