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

"Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great ones make you feel that you too, can become great. --- Mark Twain"