Aikido Terms / Glossary

Below are the most common terms you will come across in an Aikido class.

Strikes & Grabs

Hiji-dori Elbow grab
Kata-dori Shoulder grab. One hand grab to the shoulder. Your opponent attacks by seizing your shoulder.
Katate-dori One hand grab to wrist. Your opponent attacks by seizing one of your arms.
Morote-dori Attack holding one wrist/forearm with both hands
Ryote-dori Both hands grabbed by both hands
Ushiro Eri-dori Collar grab from behind
Ushiro Hiji-dori Elbows grabbed from the rear
Ushiro Kube-shime Choking with one hand around the neck from the rear, usually while holding one wrist with the free hand
Ushiro Ryo-kata-dori Both shoulders grabbed from behind
Ushiro Ryote-dori Both wrists grabbed from behind
Ushiro-dori Bear hug from behind
Shomen-uchi Strike to the top front of the head
Tsuki Thrust, punch
Yokomen-uchi Strike to the side of the head


Ikkyo First hold. Wrist and elbow control
Nikkyo Second hold. Bend wrist
Sankyo Third hold. Twist wrist
Yonkyo Fourth hold. Sword grip on wrist
Gokyo Fifth hold. Reverse grip on wrist
Rokyo (Hijishime) Sixth hold. Elbow lock against the joint.


Irimi-nage Entering throw. A throw involving entering through an attack to get behind your partner and take his balance.
Juji-nage Throwing your partner by using leverage on his cross arms
Kaiten-nage Rotary throw. A technique in which you force your partner to revolve his body once before you down him.
Kokyu-nage Breath throw. Any sort of throw that relies essentially on blending and flowing with your partner\’s movement and upsetting his balance, rather than any specific movement. Often used for throws that have no specific name.
Koshi-nage Hip throw. Throwing your partner by rotating his body over the back of your hips
Kote-gaeshi Wrist turn out throw. A throw accomplished by twisting your partner\’s wrist.
Shiho-nage Four directions throw
Tenchi nage Heaven and earth throw. A pose in a throw; one of your hands raised as if you were pointing to the sky, the other down as if you were pressing on the earth.


Ai Harmony
Ai Hanmi Equal stance. You and your partner stand facing each other in the same position. Opposite of Gyaku Hanmi.
Aiki Taiso Aikido exercises
Aiki-ken Swordsmanship; according to the principles of Aikido
Aikidoka Aikido practitioner
Atemi Defensive strike. Punches and other sorts of strikes to your partner\’s unguarded areas, designed to distract and to weaken the defenses and/or balance.
Boken Wooden sword used in practice
Bushido Warrior\’s code
Chudan Middle area/position
Dan Black Belt Grade
Dojo Training hall
Dori Grab
Dosa An exercise
Fune kogi A rowing motion
Gaeshi To reverse
Gedan Low area
Gi Training uniform
Gyaku Hanmi Opposite stance. Though facing each other, you and your partner are in reverse postures; that is, you are in the right hanmi, and he is in the left hanmi.
Hajime Begin
Hakama A divided pant-like skirt typically worn by black belts
Hanmi Posture wherein one foot is advanced one step, body weight distributed evenly on both feet and in a triangular stance. It is very easy to move from this position.
Hanmi Handachi Nage (thrower) is kneeling and opponent (attacker) approaches from a standing position
Hidhari Left
Iaido Japanese Art of Drawing a Sword
Irimi To enter; entering. Without changing your direction you apply your technique on an opponent who is moving straight toward you; you must be careful to lead and to avoid a direct collision with his strength.
Jo Wooden staff
Jodan Upper area; high position
Jyu Free style
Jyu Waza Free style technique/practice
Katana Long sword
Ki The vital force of the body; Universal Energy; a stream or flow of positive energy
Kihon Basic form of a technique
Kokyu Breath power; the coordination of Ki flow with breathing
Kokyu Dosa A method of off-balancing and pinning your partner with your \”Ki\” instead of your physical power
Kyu Below black belt rank
Migi Right
Nage Technique initiator
Obi Belt
Omote Moving in front (Forward). Moving to or across the front of an opponent
Seiza Formal Sitting (kneeling) posture
Sensei Teacher
Shodan Holder of the first grade black belt
Soto Outer
Suwari Waza or Shikko Sitting technique
Tai No Henko The basic blending practice. Tenkan exercise
Tai Sabaki Body movements
Tanto Wooden knife
Tegatana Hand blade. Sword edge of the hand
Tenkan You turn your body from your opponent\’s line of attack, cause his strength to flow off wasted , move your body to a place where his strength is inactive and lead him.
Uchi Inner
Uke Technique initator\’s partner. The person who gives the attack and receives the technique. Generally speaking, \”uke\” refers to the person being thrown.
Ukemi The art of receiving the technique and falling away from harm. Includes rolling and break falls (high falls).
Ura Moving behind. Turning to the outside of uke (opposite of omote)
Ushiro Back, behind, rear
Waza Technique
Yamae Stop
Yudansha Black belt grade holder(s)

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