Aikido terminology | Aikido principles | Aikido techniques

There is so much here for those who train in the art of Aikido. You can quickly learn the Aikido Japanese terminology, principles, philosophy and techniques of Aikido.  

Basic Pronunciation for the Japanese language

A = AArdvArk
I = pizza
U = blue
E = somewhere between Echo and table
O = bone

Never cluster the syllables when speaking.

For example; Aikido is pronounced “Eye-key-doh”


ai - harmony, unity, blending

aihanmi - A stance where both people have the same foot forward

aidori - Same sided wrist grab.  Attacker/Uke uses right hand to grab Nage's right wrist

aikido - A way to spend your life harmonizing energy.  Pronounced "Eye - key - doh"

aikidoka - An Aikido practitioner

Aikikai - The world headquarters of Aikido in Tokyo Japan.  More commonly know as Hombu dojo

aikiken - aikido sword practice

aikiotoshi - More commonly known as the aiki-drop technique

aikitaiso - Specific warm up exercise for Aikido practitioners

aite - an opponent, not to be confused with Uke.

arigato - Thanks

arigato gozaimasu or gozaimashita - Thank you 

ashi - Foot

atemi - A strike to no specific region of the body


Bo staff - longer than the jo

bokken or bokuto - Wooden training sword

bu - a state of war, battle, fight

budo - Japanese Martial arts

bugei - another term for martial arts or battle art

bushi - warrior

bushido - the way of the warrior


chikara - force/strength

choku - direct energy

chudan or chudan no kamae - In weapons, the hands are typically positioned in the middle of a person


Daito ryu aikijutsu - "One" of the parent arts of Aikido

dan - A black belt grade in the budo arts

deshi - Aikido student

do - The "Way or Path"

dogi - Uniform better known as a gi

dojo training hall or place of enlightenment

dojo cho - Chief instructor of a dojo

doka - poem about the way

domo arigato gozaimashita - Thank you very much.  The nicest way to say thank you

dori - take or grab

dosa - movement

doshu - The leader of the Aikikai or Aikido world headquarters

dozo - please


embukai - a public demonstration

empi - a strike with the elbow

eri - lapel or collar

eridori - lapel grab


fukushidoin - a qualified teaching instructor

funakogi - The rowing exercise in the Shin kokyu practice.  Sometimes referred as torifune


gaeshi -  A returning of the force

gamae/kamae - A martial stance or on-guard

gasshuku - Seminar 

gedan - A reference used in weapons where the hands and weapons are positioned low

geri - a kick.  Nonspecific

gi - Uniform

giri/kiri - a sword or knife cut

go - 5 

gokyo - The fifth principle teaching in Aikido

gomen nasai - I am sorry.  Apologetic.  

gyaku - the reverse or opposite.  Usually describing the feet in a stance.


hachi - 8 

hai - yes

hajime - to begin

hakama - traditional Japanese wide pants typically worn by yudansha

hanmi handachi - A starting position between 2 practitioners: 1 standing while the other is on his knees or where 1 person is half the stance of the other

happo - eight directions, compare shiho

hara - A place located a few inches below the navel.  The place where your ki is greatest.  

harai - Usually a foot sweep

henka waza - The ability to change techniques when engaged with an attacker

hidari - left 

hiji - elbow

hijidori - elbow grab

hiza - knee

Hombu dojo - headquarters for the Aikikai Aikido association in Tokyo


ichi - 1

ichiban - first or best

iie - no

ikkyo - The first principle of Aikido

irimi - to enter or move forward

iriminage - classic entering throw used in Aikido

Iwama - A place in Japan, where O'sensei had a dojo and a home


jiyu waza - free form sparring with 1 person

jo - the short staff

jodan no kamae- A position in weaponary where the high hands or weapons is high

jodan tsuki - a strike to the head

jodori - the taking of the short staff from an attacker

ju - 10 it also means soft as in ju jitsu

juji nage - a throw in Aikido where the forearm take on the character for 10 (+)


kaeshi - same as gaeshi returning, reverse

kaeshi waza - Reversals or counters to techniques

kai - school or club

kaiten nage - A rotary throw in Aikido

Kamae/gamae - A stance or guard position

kami - The Divine

kamiza - Usually depicting a spiritual place place in a dojo

kampai - cheers, toast

kanji -  Chinese characters or writing

kata - forms.  In Aikido, usually in weapons practice only.  

kata - the shoulder

kata dori - shoulder grab

kata dori menuchi - shoulder grab followed by a strike to the face

katame waza - pinning techniques like Ikkyo, Nikyo, Sankyo, etc...

katana - the Japanese sword, also known as a ken

katate dori - a wrist grab.  Right on left or vice versa

katate ryote dori - 2 wrists are grabbed by the Uke/attacker

keiko - training

ken -  Japanese sword

kendo - Japanese sport sword 

ki - spirit, life energy

kiai - A loud sound/shout that a martial artist makes to gather or create additional internal forces for power

kihon waza - basic techniques

kime - focusing

kimusubi - tying one's ki to that of the partner

ki no nagare- the flowing energy of Aikido

kiri - to cut

kiri kaeshi - a returning cut in kenjitsu

kohai - a junior practitioner 

kokoro - heart, will or mind.  Not to be confused with the organ.

kokyu - a coordination of the mind, body and breath of the cosmos

kokyu ho - a basic seated Aikido exercise to produce a throw

kokyunage - breath throw

koshi nage - hip throw

kote - wrist

kote gaeshi - a technique where the attackers wrist is reversed back into them.  

kotodama or kototama - spiritual sounds and or words used in Japanese mysticism.  

ku or kyu- 9

kubi - neck

kubishime - neck choke

kuzushi - a principle used in Aikido.  The off setting of one's balance that precedes technique.  

kyu - a non black belt grade


ma-ai - The understanding of space between 2 people

mae - front or forward

mae geri - front kick

maru - circle

mawashi geri - roundhouse kick

me - eye

men - the head

mingi - right 

misogi - the purification or cleansing process practiced in Aikido

mochi - to grip

mokuso - meditation

morote dori -  when attacker grabs an arm with both hands.  Much like that of holding a baseball bat.  

mushin - a very advanced place where the mind is empty of thought

mudansha - a non-black belt practitioner of Aikido.  Still in the kyu grade system.  

mune - middle area of the body.  Usually the abdomen

mune dori - same as eri dori

musubi - to bring together.  This can be used in many different contexts.


nage - the person receiving the attack in practice

nana - 7 also pronounced shichi

ni - 2 

Nihon - the Japanese language

nikyo - the second principle of Aikido.  A pinning technique

ninin dori - two attackers who grab

Nippon - Japan


o - big or great

obi - belt

ocha - tea

omote - the front 

onegai shimasu - a very polite way of requesting something.  Will you train with me?

o' sensei - Morihei Ueshiba known as the great teacher


randori - multiple attackers

rei - to bow

ritsurei - a standing bow

rokkyo - the sixth principle in Aikido.  An elbow pin

roku - 6 

ryo - both

ryote dori - gripping both wrists


sabaki - the moving or action of something

samurai - Japanese warrior class

san - 3 

sankakutai - a triangle shape stance not used in our dojo

sankyo - the third principle in Aikido.  A wrist joint lock technique

sannin dori - a 3 person attack where they initially grab

satori - enlightenment in zen

seiza - the kneeling seated position

sempai - a senior student

sensei - teacher

shi - 4 or yon

shichi - 7 or nana

shidoin - instructor, middle title for aikido teacher, 4-5 dan, compare fukushidoin and shihan

shihan - Master instructor

shiho nage - four directional throw technique

shikaku - a place where the attacker finds themselves without advantage

shiki - courage

shikko - knee walking

shime - choke

shin - heart, will or mind

shinai - a bamboo sword

shinken - a principle used in Aikido that pertains to the sharpness of the Japanese sword intended to elevate the mental alertness of the practioner.  

shinto - the way of the gods, Japanese religion

shisei - a principle practice that corrects posture both physically and energetically.  Without proper shisei, you cannot truly advance.   

shizentai - a natural body posture.  The starting place for Aikido training

shodan - first grade or dan in black belt ranking

shodo - calligraphy

shomen - front or head piece of the dojo

shomen ni rei - bow to head place of the dojo

shomenuchi - a vertical cut with a sword or blow to head

shu ha ri - The 3 stages of learning; Mimic, engrain and then let go or forget 

soto - outside or side

sumi - corner

sumimasen - excuse me

sutemiwaza - sacrifice throws where one will lose one's own balance to throw another

suwari waza - seated training


tachidori - Sword taking practice or technique

tachi waza - training standing up

tai - body

tai no henko - body changing and blending practice

tai sabaki - to move the body in aikido

taiso - exercises

takemusu aiki - improvised demonstration of technique.  Without premeditated thought, the creative spirit of aikido takes over.  

tameshi - test

tanden - same as hara

tanto - Japanese knife

tantodori - defense against knife

tao/dao - same as "Do" or path, way

tatami - practice mats originally made of bound straw

te - hand

tegatana - hand blade

tekubi - wrist

tenchinage - heaven & earth throw

tenkan - to turn, change or transform

tsuba - sword guard

tsuka - sword hilt

tsuki - to strike, with a weapon or empty hand.  This also means, "Openings" or vulnerability.


uchi - to hit

uchikomi - to hit repeatedly

uke - the attacker in aikido

ukemi - the art of falling

ura - the backside or rearward action

ushiro - behind or rear

ushiro geri - backward kick

ushiro ukemi - backward fall

ushiro waza - attacks from behind


wakizashi - short sword

waza - technique


yamei - stop

yari - spear

Yoko - side, sideways, horizontal

yoko geri - side kick

yoko giri - horizontal cut

yokomen uchi - strike to the side of the head with the hand blade

yonkyo - the fourth principle in Aikido.  A pressure point pinning technique

yudansha - Black belt status


za - seated, sit

zanshin - unbroken concentration 

zazen - sitting meditation, also called mokuso

zen - a form of Buddhism

zori - sandals

Numbers & Counting

1 ichi

2 ni

3 san

4 shi / yon

5 go

6 roku

7 shichi / nana

8 hachi

9 ku

10 ju, 11 ju ichi, 12 ju ni, 13 ju san

20 niju, 21 niju ichi, 22 niju ni, 23 niju san

30 san ju

40 yon ju

50 go ju

100 hyaku, 200 nihyaku, 300 sanbyaku, 400 yonhyaku, 500 gohyaku 

1000 sen, 2000 nisen, 3000 sanzen, 4000 yonsen, 5000 gosen