Helpful Aikido Terms and pronuciations

Along with all of the techniques you will be learning, you will also learn the names for these techniques. Below is a list of helpful Aikido terms for common defenses, attacks, and Japanese terms and their meanings. Contact us to schedule your first class!

Aikido Defenses

Name Pronunciation Meaning
Kote gaeshi koh-tay-guy-shee throw accomplished by twisting the partner’s wrist.
Nikkyo Nee-kyo Bends partners wrist in two angles and cuts through the center of the body making him/her drop to the ground. *2nd wrist technique / control.
Sankyo Saan-kyo *3rd wrist technique / control.
Shiho nage She-hoh nah-gay Four direction throw.
Sumi otoshi Soo-mee oh-toe-she Corner Drop.
Tai no henko koh-tay-guy-shee Tenkan blending technique.
Tenchi nage koh-tay-guy-shee “Heaven” and “Earth” throwing technique. One hand points to the heaven and the other to the ground to throw.
Yonkyo koh-tay-guy-shee Control / Throw using pressure point near partner’s wrist. *4th wrist technique / control.

Aikido Attacks

Name Pronunciation Meaning
Gyaku te tori gyah-koo-tay-toh-ree cross-hand grab, e.g. left to left
Hiji dori hee-jee-doh-ree elbow grab
Kata dori kah-tah-doh-ree shoulder grab
Kata menuchi kah-tah-men-oo-chee shoulder grab and strike to the head
Katate dori kah-tah-tay-doh-ree same side wrist grab, e.g. right to left
Katate dori han tai kah-tah-tay-doh-ree hahn-tie same as gyaku te tori
Men uchi men-oo-chee strike to the head
Morote dori moh-roh-tay-doh-ree both hands grab partner’s wrist
Mune dori moo-neh-doh-ree lapel grab
Mune tsuki moo-neh-tskee first strike to chest or stomach
Ryote dori ree-oh-tay-doh-ree two hands grab both of partner’s wrists
Shomen uchi shoh-men-oo-chee straight strike to the top of the head
Ushiro eri dori oo-shee-roh eh-reedoh-ree collar grab from behind
Ushiro hiji dori oo-shee-roh hee-jeedoh-ree elbow grab from behind
Ushiro kata dori oo-shee-roh kah-tahdoh-ree shoulder grab from behind

Common Japanese Aikido terms

Name Pronunciation Meaning
Aikido eye-key-doe Ai = harmony, Ki = spirit, Do = The Way or Path
Aikidoka eye-key-doe-kah A person who practices Aikido.
Aiki taiso eye-key-tie-so Aikido exercises
Atemi waza ah-tay-me wah-zah Striking techniques
Bokken bow-ken Wooden sword used in practice.
Bushido boo-she-do Warrior’s Code. The way of the warrior.
Dan dawn Aikido grade holder, black belt rank.
Deshi day-she Student, pupil, disciple.
Dojo doe-joe Training hall (formally a term used by Buddhist priests in reference to their place of worship).
Doshi doe-she Comrade, friend (used among fellow Aikidoka)
Gaeshi guy-eh-she To reverse
G ghee Training uniform.
Hakama haw-kah-ma A divided, pant-like skirt.
Hanmi hawn-me A posture in which one foot is advanced one step and the body weight is distributed equally on both feet. Triangular stance.
Hanmi handachi hawn-me hawn-dahchee
Nage nah-gay (thrower) is kneeling and partner (the attacker), approaches from a standing position.
Hantai iawn-tie In reverse order.
Hara har-ah The center of existence. Lower abdomen, physical and spiritual center.
Hidari he-dah-ree Left (direction).
Hiji he-gee Elbow.
Irime ee-ree-mee To enter; entering.
Jiyu gee-you Free style.
Jiyu waza gee-you wah-zah Free style techniques/practice.
Jo joe Wooden staff, usually about 4 feet by 15/16″ and commonly made of white oak.
Kaiten kie-ten To revolve or rotate.
Kata kah-tah Shoulder. Also means ‘form’ practice of prearranged exercises(s).
Katate kah-tah-tay One hand (left or right).
Keiko kay-ko Practice session; training.
Ken ken Japanese sword.
Ki key Spirit…the vital force of the body; Universal Energy; a stream or flow of positive energy.
Kiai key-eye A piercing scream or cry with practical and psychological value meaning – “Meeting of the Spirits”.
Kokyu coke-you Breath power…the coordination of ki flow with breathing.
Kokyu dosa coke-you doe-sah A method of off-balancing and pinning your partner with your ‘ki’ instead of with your physical power.
Koshi ko-shee Hips, waist (also spelled Goshi).
Kubi coo-bee Neck.
Kyu cue Aikido rank, class. A mudansha or undergraduate.
Maai mah-eye Distance between uke and nage, meaning “harmony of space.”
Men men Face, head
Migi mee-ghee Right (direction).
Nage nah-gay Throw…the person who throws.
Obi oh-bee Belt.
O’Sensei Oh-sen-say The great teacher. (Morehei Ueshiba)
Randori ran-door-ri Multiple attack.
Rei ray Salutation, bow.
Ryote ree-oh-tay Both hands.
Samurai sa-mu-rye Military retainer (feudal period).
Sempai sem-pie Senior student.
Sensei sen-say Teacher, instructor.
Seiza say-zah Formal sitting posture.
Shiho she-ho Four directions.
Shimi she-me To choke.
Shodan show-dawn Holder of the first grade black belt.
Shomen show-men Front or top of the head.
Shugyo shoe-gyoo Hardship.
Suburi sue-boo-ree A single movement using the ken or jo, done as a solo practice.
Sutemi sue-tay-me A hard fall…literally meaning to throw or sacrifice the body.
Suwari waza sue-wah-ree wah-zah Sitting techniques.
Tachi tah-chee Japanese sword.
Tachi-dori tah-chee doe-ree Techniques of taking an opponents’ sword.
Taijutsu tie-jut-sue Body arts. The techniques of Aikido done without weapons.
Tai no henko tie-no-henko Basic blending practice.
Tanto tahn-toe Wooden knife.
Te tay Hand.
Tegatana tay-gah-tah-nah Hand blade. Sword edge of the hand.
Te kubi tay-koo-be Wrist.
Tenchi ten-chee Ten=heaven, chi=earth. A position of the hand, one high (up) and one low (down).
Tsuki tski Thrust.
Uchi ooh-chee To strike.
Uke ooh-kay A person who receives an attack. Generally speaking.
Ukemi ooh-kem-me Breakfall. The art of falling away from harm.
Ushiro ooh-she-row Back, behind, rear.
Waza wah-zah Techniques.
Yokomen yoh-ko-men Side of the head.
Yudansha you-dawn-sha Black belt grade holder(s).

Aikido Federation Links

Japanese Aikido Federation
South Korean Aikido Federation