Martial Arts – Japanese Terminology

 

Even for experienced martial artist, learning and remembering Japanese terminology can be very confusing. It can also be very difficult to find out the meaning/definition of many words if you don’t know where to look.

 

It is also important to note that the meaning of words can have slight variations between martial arts styles. This page focuses upon terminology and meaning that is relevant to the arts studied by members of Bujutsu Martial Arts and Fitness Centre.

 

So why do we do it? Why don’t we just use English terms?

 

There are two main reasons why it is important to learn the Japanese terminology of the art you are training;

1. You are are not just studying techniques, you are studying an art, its history and way of life. The japanese terminology is a big part of that.

2. I regularly train overseas, in countries all around the world. It doesn’t matter what country I go to, whether it be Japan, an English speaking country or a country that speaks some other language, because I know Japanese terminology I am able to train where ever I go.

 

 

I have put this list of words together that will assist to make your martial journey even easier.

 

 

 

 

 

A

 

AGE

Rising

AGE HIJIATE

Rising elbow strike

AGE UKE

Rising block

​AGO

Chin

 

AIUCHI

Both competitors scored at the same time

AKAOBI

Red belt

 

AKA NO KACHI

Red side winner

ARIGATOU GOZAIMASU

Thank you very much

ASHI

Foot or leg

ATAMA

Head

 

 

B

 

BARAI

A wide swing or sweep

 

BUDO

Martial Arts

 

BUJUTSU

Martial arts for real world or battlefield situations

BUNKAI

Meaning of the technique

BUSHIDO

The way of the warrior

 

C

 

CHI ISHI

Stone weighted training tools for upper body conditioning

 

CHOKU ZUKI

Straight punch

 

CHOTTO

A little

 

CHUDAN

Mid section

CHUDAN SOTO UKE

Middle Outside Block

CHUDAN UCHI UKE

Middle Inside Block

 

 

CHUDAN ZUKI

Middle punch

 

 

D

 

DACHI

Stance

DAN

Black belt rank

DO GI

Uniform

DOJO

Training Hall

 

E

 

EMBU

Demonstration

 

EMBUSEN

Returning to starting position – 1 step allowance

EMPEI

Elbow

 

F

 

 

G

 

GANBATTE

Do your best

 

GEDAN

Lower part of body, groin and below

GEDAN BARAI

Lower block

 

GEDAN KAKIWAKE

Low Wedge Block

​​

GERI

Kick

 

​GO

Number 5

 

GODAN
5th Degree Black Belt

 

GOHON KUMITE

5 step sparring

 

GOSHINGI

Self Defence training

 

 

GYAKU KAITEN

When the hips rotate in the opposite direction to the technique

 

​GYAKU ZUKI

Reverse punch

 

 

H

 

HACHI

Number 8

​​

HACHI DAN

8th Degree Black Belt

 

HAI

Yes

​​

HAITO

Ridge hand

 

HAIWAN

Square Block

 

HAJIME

Start

 

HANMI

Hips are at 45%​

 

​HANSHI

Grand Master – this title can be awarded to the rank of 8th Dan and above

 

HANSOKU

Disqualification

 

HANSOKU CHUI

Warning

 

HANTAI

Change sides

 

HANTEI

Decision

​​

HIEKO DACHI

Feet shoulder width apart

HEISOKU DACHI

Feet together from heels to toes

HIDARI

Left

HIJI

Elbow

 

HIKIWAKE

Draw

 

HITAI

Forehead

HIZA

Knee

 

HIZA GERI

Knee strike

HONBU

Headquarters

 

 

I

 

ICHI

Number 1

IDOU KIHON

Moving Basics

 

IPPON

One point

 

ISHI

A large rock that you can carry around to build strength

 

ISHI SASHI

Stone or concrete hand weights

 

​J

JARI BAKO

Bucket filled with sand to condition fingers and hands

 

JODAN

Facial area

JODAN ZUKI

Punch to face

 

JOGAI CHUI

Out of bounds warning

JYU

Number 10

 

JYU DAN

10th Degree Black Belt

 

JUN KAITEN

When hips rotate in the same direction as the technique

 

JUNZUKI

Lunge punch

 

K

 

KAICHO

The President of an organisation

KAKATO

Heel

KAKIWAKE

Wedge Block

 

KAKATO GERI

Axe kick, back of heel down the face

KAKE UKE

Open hand semi-circular deflecting block

​KAMAE

Guard position

KANCHO

Owner of school

KARATE DO

Empty hand way

KATA

Formal pattern

KATA

Neck

 

KEIKOKU

Caution

 

KEKOMI GERI

Thrust kick

 

KEN
Fist

 

KENTSUI

Hammer fist

KEOTSUKI

Come to attention

KIAI

A sharp sounding yell projecting inner strength

KIBA DACHI

Horse riding stance – feet at 90 degrees

 

KIHON

Basics

KIHON IDO

Moving basics

KIHON IPPON KUMITE

1 step sparring

 

KIKEN

Withdrawal from event

 

KIME

Power and focus

KIN GERI

Groin kick

 

​KOHKOTSU DACHI

Back stance

​​

KOSHI

Hips

 

KUBI

Neck

 

KUMITE

Sparring

KUROBI

Black belt

​​

KYOSHI

Expert teacher 6th and 7th Dan ranks

 

KYU

Number 9

KYU DAN

9th Degree Black Belt

 

M

 

MAAI

Distance

MAE

Front

MAE GERI

Front kick

 

MAKIWARA

A wooden striking post for condition hands and legs

MASSUGU

Forward

 

MAWASHI

Round

MAWASHI GERI

Roundhouse kick

 

​MAWASHI UKE

Circular block

MAWATE

Turn around

ME

Eyes

 

MIGI

Right

MOICHIDO

One more time

MOKUSO

Close your eyes for meditation

MOROTE ZUKI

Double fist punch

MOTTO

More

 

MUBOUBI CHUI

Not defending warning

 

MUNE

Chest

 

N

 

NAGASHI UKE

Deflecting Block

 

NAGE WAZA

Throwing technique

NANA

Number 7

NAORE

Return to attention

NEKO ASHI DACHI

Cat stance

NI

Number 2

NIDAN

2nd Degree Black Belt

 

NIGIRI GAME

Gripping jars used to develop hand strength

 

NUKITE

Spear Hand

 

O

 

OBI

Belt

OI ZUKI

Lunging punch, same as junzuki

OSU

A formal acknowledgement

 

OTAGI NI

Bowing to each other​

 

 

R

 

REI

Bow, show respect

RENGERI

Chudan Maegeri then Jodan Maegeri

 

 

RENSHI

A polished teacher, polished expert or polished master

 

RENZOKU WAZA

Consecutive techniques

 

ROKU

Number 6

ROKU DAN

6th Degree Black Belt

RYU

School or style

 

S

 

SAGI MAKIWARA

Hanging version of Makiwara

 

SAI SHIAI

Rematch

 

SAI SAI SHIAI

Second rematch

 

SAN

Number 3

SANBON

Three of a kind such as 3 punches

 

​SANDAN

3rd Degree Black Belt

 

​​SANGATE

To the rear

​​

SEIKEN

Front two knuckles of fist

 

SEIRETSU

Line up

​​

SEIZA

Sit in kneeling position

​SENPAI

Senior student or assistant instructor

SENSEI

Teacher

 

SENTEI KATA

Intermediate Kata

 

SHIRO NO KACHI

White side winner

 

SHODAN

1st Degree Black Belt

 

SHI

Number 4

SHICHI

Number 7

 

​SHICHIDAN

7th Degree Black Belt

 

SHIHAN

Master teacher, 5th dan rank and above​

 

SHIKKAKU

Absolute disqualification from tournament

 

SHIKO DACHI

Horse riding stance, feet at 45 degrees

 

SHITEI KATA
Basic Kata

 

SHIZEN TAI

Natural Stance

 

​SHOMEN

Forward direction

SHUTO

Knife hand

 

SHUTO UCHI

Knife hand strike

SHUTO UKE

Knife hand block

 

SIERETSU

Line Up

SO

Okay

 

SOHONBU

International Head Quarters

 

SOKUMEN

Side

 

SOKUTO

Outside edge of foot

 

SOTO UKE

Outside Block

 

SUBURITO

a heavy wooden practice sword or bo that is used for building strength

 

SUNDOME

The moment when the attack reaches it’s target but stopping a few mm’s before the target

 

​T

TAI-SABAKI

Moving your body out of the way of an attack in such away that you can counter attack

 

TAKETABA

A bundle of bamboo used for finger strikes

 

TATE

Vertical

 

TE

Hand

 

TEISHO

Palm Heel

TODE

Chinese hand, Karate was originally called Tode

 

TOKUI KATA
Favourite Kata​

 

​TSUKI

Punch

 

 

U

 

UCHI

Strike

UCHIDESHI

Apprentice instructor

UCHI UKE

Inside Block

UDE

Forearm

 

UKE

To receive, block

UNSOKU

Feet movements

URAKEN

Back fist

 

USHIRO

To the rear

 

USHIRO URAKEN

Back fist to the rear

 

 

W

 

WAZA

Technique

 

WAZA ARI

Half a point

 

Y

 

YAKUSOKU KUMITE

Pre-arranged sparring

YAME

Stop

YOl

Get ready​

YOKO

Side

YOKO GERI

Side kick

YOKO GERI KEAGE

Side snap kick

 

YOKO GERI KEKOMI

Side thrust kick

 

 

YOKO URAKENUCHI (yoh koh, oo rah oo chee)

Back fist to the side

YON

Number 4, also Shi

YONDAN

4th Degree Black Belt

 

YORI ASHI

2 feet simultaneously sliding

 

YUBI

Finger

 

YUDANSHA

A black belt

YUKURI

Slowly

 

Z

 

ZANSHIN

Alert, aware, focus

ZENKUTSU DACHI

Forward Stance

 

ZENWAN

Forearm​

 

Zen Ken Ren Iaido Terminology

 

These terms have been taken directly from the Zen Nippon Kendo Renmei 2009 Iai Manual.

 

ASHI SABAKI

Footwork or movement of the feet

 

AYUMI ASHI

Ordinary walking footwork, where both feet move naturally.

 

BOKKEN

A wooden shaped sword usually made from Japanese Oak.

 

BUDO

Term given to generally mean all types of Japanese fighting arts.

 

CHAKUZA

Sitting down from a standing posture.