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Aikido Glossary List

Here is a comprehensive glossary of essential aikido terms, providing definitions and explanations to enhance your understanding of this dynamic martial art.

  • Atemi - strike - Techniques involving strikes to distract or unbalance an opponent. These are often used in conjunction with throws and joint locks.
  • Bokken - wooden sword - A wooden sword used in aikido practice to simulate a real sword. It helps practitioners understand the principles of swordsmanship and distance.
  • Chui - warning - A caution given to a practitioner during practice or competition for a minor infraction. It serves as a reminder to correct behavior or technique.
  • Dojo - training hall - The place where aikido practice occurs. It is considered a space for learning and self-improvement.
  • Gi - training uniform - The traditional white uniform worn by aikido practitioners during practice and competitions. It consists of a jacket, pants, and an obi (belt).
  • Hajime - begin - A command used to start a practice session, technique demonstration, or a bout in aikido. It signifies the beginning of action or movement.
  • Hakama - traditional trousers - Pleated, skirt-like trousers worn over the gi. Usually worn by advanced practitioners, symbolizing maturity and experience.
  • Hikkiwake - draw - Indicates a match result where neither participant has won or lost. It is declared when both opponents have performed equally well.
  • Ippon - one point - Awarded for a decisive and effective technique in competition, signifying a clear advantage or victory in that exchange.
  • Kata - a type of competitive aikido - Pre-arranged forms or patterns of movements in aikido, practiced to perfect techniques and principles. Kata competitions involve performing these forms accurately and skillfully.
  • Kiai - shout - A forceful shout used to focus energy and intention, often employed during the execution of a technique.
  • Kihon - basics - Fundamental techniques and movements that form the foundation of aikido practice. Mastery of kihon is essential for advanced practice.
  • Kokyu - breath power - The concept of using controlled breathing to enhance the power and fluidity of techniques. It is central to many aikido movements.
  • Ma-ai - proper distance - The ideal distance between practitioners during practice or combat. Maintaining correct ma-ai is crucial for effective technique execution and safety.
  • Nage - throw - The person executing the throwing technique. Nage's role is to effectively apply techniques while maintaining control and balance.
  • Ninin Dori - a type of competitive aikido - A form of aikido practice where one practitioner defends against two attackers simultaneously. It tests the defender’s ability to manage multiple opponents.
  • O Sensei - Great Teacher - A title of respect for Morihei Ueshiba, the founder of aikido. He is often referred to as O Sensei by aikido practitioners worldwide.
  • Randori Kyoghi - a type of competitive aikido - A form of competitive aikido that involves multiple attackers in a more free-form, dynamic setting. It focuses on fluid movement, control, and effective application of techniques under pressure.
  • Rei - bow - A formal bow used to show respect to the dojo, fellow practitioners, and instructors. It is an essential aspect of aikido etiquette.
  • Seiza - proper sitting - A traditional Japanese sitting posture where one sits on their knees. Practitioners often sit in seiza during instruction and meditation.
  • Shikko - knee walking - A method of moving on the knees, used in traditional aikido training. It helps develop lower body strength and proper posture.
  • Soremade - finish - A command to stop the activity, marking the end of a practice session, technique demonstration, or bout. It signifies the conclusion of the event.
  • Tanto ippon - one point for knife strike - Awarded in tanto (knife) practice when a practitioner successfully performs a decisive technique with the knife, earning one point.
  • Tanto Randori - a type of competitive aikido - A free-form practice where one practitioner defends against multiple attackers, some of whom are armed with tanto (knives). It emphasizes adaptability and real-time application of techniques.
  • Tori - defender - The person who executes the technique in response to an attack. Tori's role is to neutralize the attack using aikido principles.
  • Uke - receiver - The person who receives the technique from tori. Uke's role is to attack appropriately and then blend with and receive the technique safely.
  • Ukemi - falling techniques - Techniques for safely falling and rolling to prevent injury. Mastery of ukemi is essential for safely practicing aikido throws and techniques.
  • Waza-ari - half-point - A score given for a technique that is effective but not decisive enough to earn a full point (ippon). Two waza-ari can add up to one full point (ippon).
  • Waza-ari awasette ippon - second half point, making one full point - Indicates that a second waza-ari (half-point) has been awarded, converting the total score to one full point (ippon).
  • Yame - stop - A command used to halt the activity immediately. It can be used during practice, competitions, or demonstrations to stop the participants.
  • Zanshin - remaining mind - A state of heightened awareness and readiness, maintained before, during, and after executing a technique. It emphasizes mindfulness and continued vigilance.


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