The David Brent Wolfe Dictionary of
Japanese Martial Art Terms
- A -
- Abara, , means the ribs.
- Abe Ryu was a martial art style of sword fighting, kenjutsu. In the seveneeth
century, it added kendo to its syllabus becoming the oldest continuing traditional kendo
- Abumi means the stirrups on a horse saddle.
- Achi means the arch of the foot. The arch is on the botton side of the foot.
- Agari means rising.
- Age, , means to lift or raise
up, to elevate. It comes from ageru.
- Age empi uchi,
rising elbow strike. It is a requirement for Koyamakan Hachikyu.
- Age kote is a kendo term used for when the kendo gloves, the kote, finish a strike
while remaining above the lower abdomen.
- Age oroshi means to move something up and down or to raise and lower something.
- Age tsuki means rising thrust.
- Age uchi means rising strike. It is used to mean an uppercut punch.
- Age uke,
, means rising block.
- Age zuki,
, means rising punch. It is a requirement for Koyamakan
- Ago, , means the jaw or chin.
- Ago oshi means to push an opponent's chin upward to destroy his balance or to put
his body out of alignment.
- Agura is an informal cross legged sitting position.
- Ai, , means to join, to fit
together, meeting or harmony.
- Aiguchi is a knife without a hand guard.
- Ai hanmi, , translates as same or matched stance. It
is used to mean that two individuals are both facing each other in right foot forward stances
or left foot forward stances.
- Aiki, , is a term translating as 'spirit meeting'. This means the
joining together or blending of two or more individuals. In a martial arts context, this
means going with or redirecting the energy of an attack rather than directly resisting the
, means harmonious energy martial way. It
was a term used by Ueshiba before settling on the term Aikido.
- Aikido, , means spirit meeting way. It is a
derivitative martial way from a jujutsu style called Daito-ryu. It was created by
Ueshiba Morihei, , during the 1930's and 1940's.Aiki jo, , translates as the short stick
- Aikidoka is an individual who practices aikido.
- Aiki jinja means the Aiki Shrine.
- Aiki jujutsu, , means
harmonious energy supple art. Used as a generic term for all of the styles descended from
- Aikikai Hombu Dojo is the name of the World Headquarters of the largest aikido
organization. It is the main training hall of the founder of Aikido, Uyeshiba.
- Aiki ken, , translates as harmonious energy or
- Aiki nage,
, means blending
- Aiki no kurai means the highest consciousness of harmonious energy.
- Aiki no sen, ,
means the initative of harmonious energy. It is used to mean benefiting strategically from an
- Aiki otoshi, , translates as spirit meeting drop.
It is a hip throw similar to Kodokan Judo's koshi nage,
, except that uke goes backward over the thrower's hip.
, means harmony
- Aikuchi means a dagger with out a guard, tsuba. They were typically worn by women.
- Ai noke means mutual preservation.
- Ainu are the aboriginal people who were the original people living in Japan before
the modern Japanese arrived. They are also called Ebisu or Ezo. They were pushed
North as the modern Japanese expanded their control of the Japanese islands.
- Ainuke means a relationship with another that prevents fighting due to both
individuals having similar mental attitudes.
- Aio Ryu was a martial art style of jujutsu.
- Aisu Kage Ryu was a martial art style of sword fighting, kenjutsu.
, means uniting hand or joining hand. It is
sometimes used to mean a training partner partner or opponent.
- Aite juji ukemi means uniting crossing falling. It is also translated as partner
figure ten arm lock falling.
- Ai tsuki is a term meaning simultaneous meeting thrusts by both fighters.
- Ai uchi is a term meaning simultaneous strikes by both fighters. No point
is awarded to either contestant. The referee brings his fists together in front of his chest.
It is sometimes used to mean the simultaneous death of both individuals. Knowing that the
opponent's killing technique leaves an opening, you kill him at the same instant.
- Aka means the color red.
- Aka ippon means red scores a point. It is used as a contest term. The referee raises
his arm at an oblique angle toward the contestant scoring the point.
- Aka no kachi means red wins the match! The referee raises his arm at an oblique
angle toward the winning contestant.
- Akinai means skill in trading.
- Akindo means a merchant.
- Akushu means a handshake.
- Ama is a Buddhist nun.
- Amado, , are rain shutters. The term is used
to mean the lymph glands around the lower neck in kyusho. These are considered vital
- Amazaki is a sweetened form of sake with a low level of alcohol. It is normally used
in religius festivals.
- Amma means a massage or a person giving a massage.
- Anado means both sides.
- Anatoshi means trapping.
- Ango sakuseiho is easiest understood as cryptography or sending something in code.
- Ani deshi is used to means older brother student. This is an individual who is
senior in status in the relationship.
- Anime means high powered.
- Anko is sweet bean paste. It is a common food.
- Ankoku toshin jutsu means techniques for seeing in the dark.
- Antei means stability or equilibrium.
- Anza is an informal sitting position with the legs crossed in front and the body
resting on the buttocks.
- Anzawa Ryu was a martial art style featuring the use of the naginata. It is supposed
to have been created in the seveneeth century.
- Araki Ryu was a martial art school featuring the use of kenjutsu and shuriken jutsu,
sword art and throwing knife art. Araki Mujin sai Mataemon Minamoto no Hidetsuna (1584-1638) is
credited as the founder of the style.
- Araki Ryu is a kusari jutsu ryu specializing in the use of the sickle as a weapon.
- Arashi, , means storm, wild,
or rough. A Kodokan Judo throwing technique is named yama arashi,
, meaning mountain storm.
- Arigato means an infomal thank you.
- Arigato gozaimashita means thank you for what you have done.
- Arigato gozaimasu means thank you for what you are doing.
- Arima Shinto Ryu was a martial art school of sword fighting, kenjutsu, created by
- Aruki gata means a form of walking.
- Aruku means to walk. It generally means a method of inclined walking resulting in a
controlled forward fall. This is a manner of walking to get from place to place quickly and
- Asade dake means it's only a flesh wound.
- Asagasumi means morning mist. In kyusho, vital points, it is used to mean the
region just under the chin.
- Asa geiko means morning training. It is also used to mean a summer camp held during
the hotest part of the summer.
- Asawati means to sit down on the knees.
- Asawati josketi means to sit down as ease.
- Asayama Ichiden Ryu was a martial art school of sword fighting. Asayama Ichidensai
Shigetatsu is credited as the founder in the period of 1573 to 1593 C.E. It is associated with
the land owning warrior families known as jizamurai.
- Ashi, , means foot or leg.
- Ashi means to step.
- Ashi barai, ,
means the foot sweeping action applied in throwing an opponent. It is the same word as ashi
- Ashi dome means to check the opponent's leg movement with your own foot or leg
- Ashi garami,
, means to wrap your leg around your opponent's leg.
- Ashigaru means fast legs, ie. infantry. They were originially peasant farmers.
Later, their status evolved from being the top of the peasant class, bonge, to the bottom level
of the samurai class, buke. Over time, they specialized into being pikemen, archers, and
arquebusiers, ie. gunmen.
- Ashi garuma ,
, means foot wheel. It is a Kodokan Judo
- Ashigaru taisho is the title of the samurai in charge of a group of foot soldiers,
- Ashi gata means the form or position of the feet.
- Ashi gatame,
, means leg lock. It is used as a generic term for
any type of immobilization or dislocation of any part of the leg.
- Ashi harai, ,
means the foot sweeping action applied in throwing an opponent.
- Ashi hishigi means foot crush. It is a joint locking technique.
- Ashi kake is a kendo contest term meaning the tripping or sweeping of an opponent
off of their feet. In kendo, it is a violation of the sport rules rating a penalty of
- Ashiko are climbing claws worn on the feet. The ninja are credited with
inventing them. They are similar in concept to the device invented by mountain
climbers to achieve the same climbing abilities.
- Ashi kubi, , means ankle, literally meaning
neck of the foot.
- Ashi kubi hishigi means ankle crushing. It is a joint locking technique.
- Ashi sabaki means foot shifting or footwork.
- Ashi ura means the sole of the foot.
- Ashi waza, ,
means foot technique. It is the broad category including all foot and leg techniques.
- Ashi yubi, ,
means foot fingers or more commonly, toes.
- Asoko, , means over there.
- Asuka is a city in Yamato province. It is located near the city of Nara, the former
location of the imperial court. It is also used as the name of a historical period, 592-710
C.E., when the imperial court relocated to the city of Asuka.
- Atama, , means head or crown of the head. It does
not geneally include the face or ears.
- Ate means strike.
- Atemi, , means striking the body. They are the
traditional striking technques aimed to a vital point on the opponent's body.
- Atemi waza, , means
body striking techniques.
- Atenai yoni is a karate contest term meaning a warning without penalty.
- Ate waza means striking techniques.
- Ato, , means move back.
- Ato de means afterwards.
- Ato no sen, , is the defensive action taken at the instant
the opponent starts to attack. It is the taking of the initiative by an individual who is
- Atoshi baraku is a contest term meaning that there is a little more time
- Atsu means press.
- Atsuta Jingu is a Shinto shrine that houses one of the three sacred treasures of
Japan, a sword called Kusanagi no Tsurugi, grass mowing sword.
- Attate iru is a karate contest term meaning that there was contact made to the
- Atto means to press down.
- Awabi means the sea food known as abalone.
- Awase means joining together. It was also used to describe the games and
amusements of the aristocracy. It comes from awaseru, , meaning to meet together.
- Awase toishi is a polishing stone used to sharpen knives and swords.
- Awase uke is an open handed augmented side block. It is a requirement for Koyamakan
- Awase waza means combination techniques. It is also used to mean a contest victory
achieved by combining two diffenent scoring techniques, neither of which was enough to win by
- Awase zuki is a U punch. It is also known as Morote zuki, .
- Ayumi means normal or natural.
- Ayumi ashi translates as natural foot, meaning normal or natural walking. The back
foot steps past the front foot while walking.
- Ayumi dachi is a natural walking stance with the weight over the center. It is
found in the Itosu-kai Shito-ryu style of karate.
- Azuchi is the Japanese historical period of 1573 to 1582. It was named for the
castle built for the war lord Oda Nobunaga.
- Azuchi is the name of a castle built in 1576 for Oda Nobunaga.