Glossary of Terms Used at Shuyokan


Dojocho: Headmaster of a dojo.

Hanchi: The headmaster of a ryu, a master instructor, or an honorary title given at hachidan and above.

Kaicho: The head of an organization.

Kancho: The person in charge of the dojo.

Kohai: A student junior to yourself.

Kyosei: A student teacher equivalent to shodan in some ryu.

Kyoshi: A teacher. An honorary title in some ryu awarded at 7th dan.

Meijin: Expert in a ryu.

Renshi: A trainer. A certificate roughly equal to 4th - 5th dan. Honorary certificate given in addition to a yudansha grade usually at 5th dan level.

Sempai: A student senior to yourself.

Sensei: Literally one who is born before, teacher. A title of respect for someone who is usually your teacher. It denotes wisdom. One therefore does not usually use this term to refer to themselves.

Shibucho: The head of a branch group.

Shidosha: A leader; a teacher (also Shidoshi).

Shidoin: An instructor, 4th - 5th dan, in a ryu.

Shihan: A teacher, 6th dan in most ryu. The title Shihan is conferred upon a martial artist who has been promoted in a particular ryu with a teaching certification and is held in high esteem due to knowledge and support to the ryu.

Shodai: A title given to one who founds a ryu in the martial arts. The first generation.

Soke: Title given to one who founds or is the headmaster of a ryu. Hereditary headmaster of a ryu.

Yudan: Title for someone who has passed one or more dan grade examinations in a ryu (singular).

Yudansha: Two or more Yudan (the plural of Yudan).

Yudansha-Kai: An organization of Black Belts.


Arigato Sensei Aa-ree-gah-toe Sen-say Thank you Teacher
Dojo Doe-joe Training Hall
Dogi Doe-gee Training Uniform
Domo Arigato Gozaimashita   Doe-mo Arh-ee-gah-toe  
Thank you very much
Hajime Ha-ja-may Begin
Keiko Shu Ryo Key-yeah-ko Shoe Reeo Class is over
Kiritsu Kier-it-soo Stand/Standing
Kohai Koe-hi A student lower in rank than yourself
Moku So Mo-koo So Close your eyes and prepare yourself
mentally for class
Moku So Yame Mo-koo So Ya-may Open your eyes
Obi Oh-bee Training Belt
Omote Oh-moh-tay Attacker's front
Onegaishimas Oh-nah-gosh-shee-mas Please teach me
Rei Ray Bow
Seiza Say-za Kneel/Kneeling
Sempai Sem-pie A student higher in rank than yourself
Sensei Sen-say Teacher
Sensei Ne Rei Sen-say Knee Ray Bow to the Teacher
Shomen Show-men Front
Shomen Ni Rei Show-men Knee Ray Bow to the Front
Shuyokan Shoe-yo-kan Our Dojo Name
Tatami Ta-tah-me Training Mat
Ura Uurah Attacker's Rear


Ai-hanmi: both partners are in the same stance (ready position).

Ankoku toshinjutsu: techniques for seeing in the darkness

Ashi: leg; foot

Ashikubi: ankle

Ate: blow, strike

Atemi: a strike to setup a technique

Barai: from harau, to sweep

Battojutsu: sword-drawing techniques; art of drawing the sword

Benkai: Bikenjutsu

Bo: stick; (usually six-foot) staff, also Rokushaku bo

Bo jutsu: art of fighting with a staff

Bokken: wooden sword

Bu: martial

Budo: martial ways

Budoka: one who studies the martial ways

Bugei: martial arts

Bugeisha: martial artist

Bujin: warrior spirit

Bujutsu: martial arts, martial techniques

Bushi: Japanese warrior

Bushido: way of the bushi

Buyu: martial friends

Chudan: middle level

Dai: large, big, great

Daimon: kyusho (big gate), middle of shoulder joint

Daisho: pair of swords worn in the belt

Daito: large sword, worn blade facing up

Dakentaijutsu: striking (punching and kicking) methods of ninjutsu

Dan: literally 'step'; indicates level above black belt

Densho: transmission scrolls or manuscripts, see also makimono

Do itashimashite: Don't mention it. You're welcome.

Dogi: training uniform

Dojo: literally 'way place'; a training hall

Dojo Cho: leader or head of a dojo

Dokkotsu: kyusho (single bone), Adam's apple

Domo Arigato Gozaimashita: "Thank you very much." At the end of each class, it is proper to bow and thank the instructor and those with whom you've trained.

Dori: from toru, to seize, capture; also tori

Empi: elbow

Eri: lapel; collar

Fu: a) negation, b) wind

Fudo: immobility

Fudo ken: clenched fist

Fudoshin: immovable spirit

Gaeshi: from kaesu, to turn over, roll, throw, counter-attack; also kaeshi

Gassho no kamae: greeting stance

Geri: from keru, to kick; see keri

Gomen nasai: excuse me, I'm sorry

Go no sen: seizing the initiative at the moment the opponent attacks

Gyaku-hanmi: both partners are in opposite stance (ready position)

Hai: yes

Haibu yori: from behind

Hajime: begin, start

Hajutsu: escaping techniques

Hakama: formal divided skirt; wide legged pants

Han: half

Hanbo: Literally half-staff; stick (usually 3 feet)

Hanbo jutsu: tick fighting techniques

Hane: a) from haneru, to leap, spring up; b) wing

Hane age: jump up, spring up

Hane goshi: in judo, spring hip throw

Hane maki komi: in judo, winding hip throw

Hanmi Handachi: any technique that begins with shite sitting and uke standing

Happa ken: open-handed strike

Harai: from harau, to sweep; also barai

Harai goshi: sweeping hip throw

Hasso: to attack

Heiho: martial principles, military strategy

Henka: variation

Hicho no kamae: crane defensive stance

Hidari Hanmi: left (triangular) stance

Hiji: elbow, also empi

Hiji ate: elbow strike, also shuki ken

Hiji ori: elbow break

Iaido: the way of drawing the sword

Iaijutsu: sword-drawing techniques

Inashi gata: form of skillfully avoiding and upsetting opponent's attack

Iri: from hairu: to enter

Irimi: to enter, move in/towards an opponent

Itami: pain

Itami jime: painful choke

Jo: a) medium length stick (usually 4 feet); b) top

Jodan: upper level

Jowan: upper arm

Jutsu: techniques; art

Kaeshi: from kaesu, turn over, throw, counter-attack; also gaeshi

Kaeshi waza: countering techniques

Kaiten: rolling

Kamae: stance, posture

Kamae Naotte: return to stance (kamae)

Kansetsu: joints; used with techniques to describe dislocating

Kansetsu geri: in karate, knee-joint kick

Katana: sword

Katate: one hand

Keiko Shu Ryo: Class is over

Ken: fist or sword

Ken no michi: the way of the sword

Kenshi: expert swordsman

Keppan: blood oath made when entering a ryu

Keri: from keru, to kick; see geri

Ki: a) rise; b) spirit, mind, heart, soul

Ki ken: spirit fist

Kiai: a focused shout to disrupt the opponent

Kiaijutsu: techniques of kiai

Kihon: basic, fundamental

Kime: focus, both physical and mental

Kiretsu: stand up

Kiten ken: sword hand strike, also shuto ken

Kobudo: ancient martial ways

Kodachi: short sword

Koho: rear, back

Koho geri: back kick

Kokoro: spirit, heart, mind; also shin

Koku: empty space

Kokyu: breath, breathing

Kongo ken: hammer fist

Koshi: hip, loin

Koshijutsu: organ and muscle strikes

Kote: wrist

Kote gaeshi: outside wrist turn, also omote gyaku

Kubi: neck

Kubi ura jime: rear neck choke

Kubisuji: nape of neck

Kuden: oral teachings

Kumiuchi: grappling, close fighting

Kumitachi: sword practice with a partner

Kumon: chest

Kuzushi: from kuzusu: to break; in Budo: to break the balance of an opponent

Kyokotsu: the sternum, breastbone

Kyu: student grade below black belt

Kyusho: vital or pressure points, weak points

Ma ai: combative engagement distance between two opponents

Mae: front

Mae geri: front kick

Mae no sen: taking the initiative, attacking the instant the opponent thinks about attacking

Makimono: scrolls, ancient manuscripts; also, see densho

Mata: inner part of the thigh

Matte: from matsu, wait

Maw ashi geri: round kick

Me: eye

Meijin: master

Men: the face

Menbu: kyusho, the face or forehead area

Men uchi: a strike to the head

Menkyo: license, teacher's certificate

Menkyo kaiden: full proficiency certificate

Mi: body, person; also tai

Michi: path or way, also do

Migi hanmi: right (triangular) stance (ready position)

Mimi: ear

Mizu no kokoro: a mind like water; a perfectly calm mind sensitive to all impressions

Moku so: close your eyes and prepare yourself mentally for class

Moku so yame: open your eyes

Mukai atte; Kamae: face each other; basic stance

Mune: chest

Munen muso: no desires, no thoughts; a state of "no mind" or mushin

Murasame: kyusho (village rain), notch between clavicles

Musha: warrior

Mushin: Literally no mind; original mind, a mind not fixed on anything and open to everything

Muto dori: unarmed defense against a sword

Nage: from nageru, to throw

Nagashi: flow

Naginata: halbard, long pole with curved blade on the end

No: possessive particle; of

O: large; big; great

Obi: belt

Omote: outside; attacker's front; obvious

Omote sokugyaku geri: inside-edge foot kick

Onajku: same technique, other side

Onegai shimasu: "I welcome you to train with me," or literally, "I make a request." This is said to one's partner when initiating practice.

Osae: from osaeru: to press down; immobilize

Osae waza: pinning or immobilization techniques

O'sensei: great teacher, honorific; the founder of Aikido

Osoto gari: major outer reaping throw

Osoto guruma: major outer wheel throw

Otagaini Rei: bow to each other

Randori: free response training; sparring

Rei: bow, salute

Rokushaku bo: six foot staff

Ryote: two (both) hands

Ryomune dori: two-handed chest grab

Ryoude jime: two-arm choke or constriction

Ryu: a) dragon; b) school, tradition

Ryuha: used synonymously with ryu

Ryufu: kyusho (willow wind), windpipe

Ryuka: kyusho (dragon under), the calves; also yaku

Ryumon: kyusho (dragon gate), hollow point in bones of shoulder

Sai: kyusho (crush), inner thigh

Sakki: intuition of an attack, perception of an aggressive thought or intent

Saya: sword scabbard

Satori: enlightenment

Seiretsu: be seated; line up

Seiza: formal sitting posture

Sen: initiative; also 1000

Sen no sen: seizing the initiative as soon as the opponent begins his attack

Sensei ne rei: Bow to the Teacher

Shi: a) finger; b) four; also yon

Shikko: a method of walking on the knees

Shime: from shimeru, to tighten, constrict; also jime

Shin: heart, mind, spirit

Shinai: split bamboo practice sword

Shinchu: kyusho (center of the heart), middle of the chest

Shitei uke kotai: Shite & Uke change roles (note: kotai by itself can mean the same thing)

Shizen no kamae: natural receiving stance

Shomen: the front

Shomen ni rei: bow to the front

Shoto: short sword

Shu: hand; arm

Shugyo: severe training

Shuki ken: elbow strike; also, hiji ate

Shuto ken: sword hand strike, also kiten ken

Shuyokan: our dojo name; derived from Shugyo and Kan

Sode: sleeve

Sokkei: groin

Sokki ken: knee strike

Sokkotsu: instep

Sokuho kaiten: sideways roll

Sokuho geri: sideways kick

Sokuho tobi: sideways leap

Sokuyaku geri: Literally dancing foot kick; basic heel kick

Sokuyaku suitei geri: horizontal heel kick

Sokugyaku geri: toe kick

Sokuto geri: sword foot; a kick using the edge of the foot

Soto: outside

Suihei: horizontal

Suki: an opening (weakness) in your opponent's attack

Sutemi: sacrifice, self-abandonment

Suwari waza: seated (kneeling) techniques

Suwatte: sit down

Tabi: traditional split toe footwear

Tachi: a) sword; b) standing; also dachi

Tachi waza: standing techniques

Tai: a) large, big, great; b) the body

Taijutsu: the art of moving the body; the basis of all fighting arts

Taisabaki: natural body movement techniques; body evasion

Take: bamboo

Tanden: abdomen, two fingers below navel; also hara

Tanto: knife

Taoshi: from taosu, to throw down

Tatami: a straw mat

Te: hand

Teisoku: the sole of the foot

Ten: from tenjiro: to revolve, rotate; also: heaven, sky; top

Tessen: iron fan

Tomoe nage: throwing in a big circle

Tori: a) from toru: to seize, catch; also dori; b) the one who executes techniques in training

Tsuba: hand guard on the sword

Tsuki: from tsuku: to thrust

Uchi: a) inside; b) from utsu: to attack, defeat, destroy, conquer; a strike

Uchi gake: take down using the legs

Uchi mata: attack the inside of the thigh

Ude: arm

Uke: a) from ukeru: to receive; b) attacker (receiver of the technique); c) block, as in jodan uke

Uke nagashi: parrying

Ukemi: Literally receiving with the body; rolling or falling so as to avoid injury

Ura: a) inside, reverse; b) attacker's rear

Ura kimon: kyusho (inner demon gate), ribs under pectoral muscle (between ribs 4 and 5)

Ura uchi: backfist strike

Ushiro: rear, back

Wakarimasu: I understand

Waza: technique

Waki: the side or lateral

Wakizashi: short sword

Waza: techniques

Yamabushi: mountain warrior priest

Yamae: stop, or finish

Yari: spear

Yoi: ready

Yoko: side, horizontal

Yoko geri: side kick

Yokomen: the side of the head

Yoshin: raising spirit, raising heart

Yubi: finger

Yugasumi: kyusho (evening mist), hollow point behind ear

Zanshin: Literally: remaining spirit; a relaxed awareness after completing a technique

Zarei: traditional seated (kneeling) bow

Zenpo: forward direction

Zenpo kaiten: forward roll



1: Ichi

2: Ni

3: San

4: Shi

5: Go

 6: Roku

 7: Shichi

 8: Hachi

 9: Ku

10: Ju


1st degree: Shodan, student; Sen: initiative; Traditionally this rank indicates about two to three years or more of training and is the first time a student is considered an official member of the ryu.

2nd degree: Nidan, disciple; Go No Sen: recapturing the initiative with a counterstrike

3rd degree: Sandan, accepted disciple

4th degree: Yondan, expert; Sen No Sen: seizing the initiative just as the opponent attacks

5th degree: Godan, expert; Kokoro: spirit or heart


6th degree: Rokudan, expert; Kokoro: spirit or heart

7th degree: Shichidan, expert; Iko-kokoro: spiritual consciousness

8th degree: Hachidan, expert; Iko-kokoro: spiritual consciousness. Honorary rank awarded by a ryu.

9th degree: Kudan, master; Iko-kokoro: spiritual consciousness. Honorary rank awarded by a ryu.

10th degree: Judan, master; Iko-kokoro: spiritual consciousness. Highest rank awarded by a ryu.

Shuyokan Sayings

"The road to failure is actually the path of least persistence. --- Ziggy (Tom Wilson)"