Aikido Terminology for Kids

This page is intended for a beginning student of Aikido-Yoga who wants to gain a quick overview of some of the more important Aikido concepts and terms.

There is no need to try and learn every Japanese word in the dictionary – you will learn all the Japanese words you need naturally as a result of regular class attendance. The way to learn quickly is to have fun, listen carefully, watch carefully, and train enthusiastically with as little talk as possible.

Selected terminology related to fundamental Aikido concepts:

Agatsu: Focus on improving yourself. Learn from your mistakes, and enjoy every moment of your life.

Masakatsu: It is more important to beat your personal best effort than simply beat someone else.

Masakatsu Agatsu: Better to share your ice-cream with a friend than eat the whole lot yourself and get “brain-freeze”!

Ai: When two people are turning a rope for someone else to play a skipping game – the timing or harmony between all of them has to be just right, or else the rope gets tangled in the skipper’s feet!

Ki: Just think of, say, electricity, or magnetism or gravity. Just because you cannot see energy, it does not mean that it isn’t there, or that you can’t feel it

Do: In the movie The Wisard of Oz, a girl named Dorothy “followed the yellow brick road”. In one scene of the movie, Dorothy came to a fork in the road and a rabbit asked her where she wanted to go. Dorathy replied “I don’t know”, to which the rabbit replied “then any road will do…”.

Aikido: The name of a Japanese Martial art developed by a man called Morihei Ueshiba (1883 – 1969).

Aiki: Kind of like when you feel when you are playing a game or doing some sport and you feel great, and do everything just right!

Kiai: Remember a time when you burnt your hand, or hit your finger with a hammer, or got jabbed by a sharp needle – at that moment – didn’t you feel like yelling at the top of you lungs! (even if you held it in.) This screaming or yelling actually enabled you to bare the pain just a little bit better… no?

Takemusu Aiki: When you fall off your bike, you naturally act because you don’t have time to think about it. The same goes for martial-arts.

Katsu Hayabi: The next time you are at the beach or swimmming pool – try to have a fight with the water… See what happens when you punch it? Does it fight back? Can you win?

Kyoku: Experiment with different ways of using your breath when you are trying to push something along. Do you have more power when you breathe in before you push? Do you have more power if you breathe out before you push? Do you have more power if you breathe out as you are pushing? or do you have more power if you take a good deep breath – start to push without strain or stress – and then release your breath with a tremendous feeling of joy just after the object you are pushing starts to move away from you? Have fun and play safe

Kokyu Ryoku: Draw a picture of how you feel after each Kokyu breathing experiment above.

Kokyu Ho: Look closely at the pictures you drew from the Kokyu Ryoku exercise above, and see how you moved your body during each Kokyu breathing experiment.

Hara: A special spot located about three fingers width below the “belly button” – the center of gravity of the human body.

Misogi: On a hot day, get a bucket of cold water – hold it above your head – and pour the water slowly over your back, head and chest… See how you feel afterwards!

Mushin: Run, jump and play on the beach or somewhere outdoors where you feel happy, then think about how little you really had to actually think about having a great time while you were actually having a great time!

Zanshin: Immediately after the really great play on the beach – stop for a second and see how you feel exactly at that moment in time.

Go no sen: Try to catch a tennis ball just AFTER a friend throws it gently for you to catch. See how you react.

Sen no sen: Move your hands up and begin the action of trying to catch a tennis ball AS SOON AS a friend starts his or her action to throw it gently for you to catch. See how you react.

Sensen no sen: Take a deep breath. Keep looking just above your friends head (not into his or her eyes) – relax – and try to guess when your friend is about to throw a tennis ball gently for you to catch. See if you can move your hands to catch the ball a fraction of a second before your friend actually throws it to you! See how you react, and see how they react!

Shoshin: Never think that you know everything about anything. Keep learning more and more about everything you can. Never stop learning. Stay open-minded, enthusiastic, passionate, curious, imaginative and creative. Keep having fun with everything you do. Refer to article: “Aikido-Yoga & Beginner’s Mind”.

Yamabiko no michi: When you are in the mountains, and there is a good area for echoes – have lots of fun making as many sounds as you can – and listen carefully to how the sounds come back to you. Then try to think up fun ways to pretend to be an echo! Have fun, use your imagination and move your body as if YOU were an echo!

 

Selected terminology related to Aikido training:

Tai Jutsu: Practice of unarmed combat.

Tai Sabaki: Practice of specific body movements that focus on the Aikido pgysical and mental principles required in order to develop mind-body unity.

Suki: A weakness, gap or opening that makes one vulnerable to attack or counter-attack.

Nage / Tori: Person who receives the attacker(s) and practices executing techniques in the training atmosphere of a dojo.

Uke: Person who offers the attack and experiences the execution of nage’s defence in the training atmosphere of a dojo. However do not accept a simplistic definition of this term, because the topic of ukeship in Aikido-Yoga training is both wide and deep, requiring in-depth study. Understanding can only be attained thru correct training under the guidance of an enlightened teacher.

Ukemi: The art of taking a fall safely while remaining centered and aware.

Maai: Simplistically, ma-ai implies correct tactical distance between nage and his/her uke(s). This involves an intuitive sense of the uke’s size and athletic capabilities, the surrounding environment, whether or not weapons are involved, and which type of weapons etc. Maai constantly changes, so what is important is being able to maintain a spiritual connection and awareness of all variables in order to accommodate the ever-changing and dynamic nature of this complex and highly esoteric concept called maai.

Irimi: Principle of direct entry – both physically and mentally. This is a vast and broad topic, however can be simplistically described as a sliding movement by nage that is diagonally forward and off the line-of-attack – placing nage in an advantageous position alongside or behind the oncoming uke.

Omote: Term used to indicate the movement of nage in relation to uke during the initial engagement phase of a technique. Nage moves forward across the front of the uke, off the line-of-attack.

Ura: Term used to indicate the movement of nage in relation to uke during the initial engagement phase of a technique. Nage moves behind the uke in a circular fashion once off the line-of-attack.

Tenkan: Turning or pivoting movement of the body (ie. 180 degrees).

Tenshin: Term used to indicate the movement of nage in relation to uke during the initial engagement phase of a technique. Nage retreats in a linear fashion at a 45 degree angle away from the uke, and off the line-of-attack.

Soto: Term used to indicate that a technique is executed ‘outside’ or around the opponent’s arm as opposed to moving your body inside or under the opponent’s arm prior to turning/executing a technique.

Uchi: Term used to indicate that a technique is executed ‘inside’ or under the opponent’s arm as opposed to moving your body outside or around the opponent’s arm prior to turning/executing a technique.

Hanmi: Stance / posture based on Japanese swordmanship where the feet are positioned with one foot in front of the other and the body is positioned at a 45 degree angle to the opponent.

Ai-Hanmi: Is where both the defender and the attacker begin with the same foot forward (ie both with the left or right foot forward.)

Gyaku-Hanmi: Is where the defender and the attacker begin with the opposite foot forward (ie if the attacker has the left foot forward and the defender has the right foot forward, or visa versa.)

Tegatana: Aikido’s footwork, engagement strategy and movements are largely derived from Japanese swordsmanship. As a natural consequence of this, when performing empty-handed Aikido techniques, the movement and application of the portion of the arms from the knife-edge of the hands all the way up the edge-side of the forearms parallels that of the sword.

Atemi: The art of applying effective strikes to vital parts of the body. However do not accept a simplistic definition of this term, because the topic of atemi in Aikido-Yoga training is both wide and deep, requiring in-depth study. Understanding can only be attained thru correct training under the guidance of an enlightened teacher.

Seiza: Japanese style of sitting on the floor in a posture that is both stable and facilitates agile movement in any direction. It is also one of the seated positions from which a variety of breathing and meditation exercises are performed.

Tachi: Can mean either a sword (as in tachi-dori) or techniques performed from a standing position (as in Tachi-Waza).

Tachi-Waza: Both uke and nage begin execution of a technique from a standing position.

Suwari Waza: Both uke and nage begin execution of a technique from kneeling position.

Hanmi Handachi: attacker standing and defender kneeling.

Selected terminology related to Aikido weapons training:

Bokken: Wooden Japanese sword.

Jo: Wooden staff.

Tanto: Dagger.

Suburi: Solo practise of specific weapons (ie. bokken & Jo) forms.

Kumitachi: Paired partner practice of set sword forms.

Kumijo: Paired partner practice of set jo forms.

Tachi Dori: Empty-hand defence against sword. Resulting in taking the sword away from the attacker.

Jo Dori: Empty-hand defence against wooden staff. Resulting in taking the staff away from the attacker.

Tanto Dori: Empty-hand defence against dagger. Resulting in taking the knife away from the attacker.

 

 

Aikido-Yoga Kids Grading / Belt Colour System:

Beginner to Black Belt:

  • Beginner: White Belt
  • 10th Kyu: Yellow belt
  • 9th Kyu: Yellow belt with orange stripe
  • 8th Kyu: Orange belt
  • 7th Kyu: Orange belt with green stripe
  • 6th Kyu: Green belt
  • 5th Kyu: Green belt with blue stripe
  • 4th Kyu: Blue belt
  • 3rd Kyu: Blue belt with brown stripe
  • 2nd Kyu: Brown belt
  • 1st Kyu: Brown belt with black stripe
  • Shodan: Black belt

Aikido-Julius-Irimi-LARGE-FORMAT

THIS SECTION CONTENTS:

1.0 Correct Japanese Pronunciation

2.0 Counting in Japanese

3.0 Japanese Phrases

4.0 Basic Aikido Movements

5.0 Basic Aikido Techniques

6.0 Basic Aikido Attacks

1.0 JAPANESE PRONUNCIATION

The following will help you get a feel for the proper pronunciation of some Japanese words used in Aikido. Japanese vowels are pronounced as follows:

A
E
I
O
U
“ah”
“eh”
“ee”
“oh”
“oo”
[ as the A in after ]
[ as the E in met ]
[ as the I in marine ]
[ as the O in oh! ]
[ as the U in rude ]
2.0 COUNTING
1. ichi
2. ni
3. san
4. shi
5. go
(ee-chee)
(nee)
(sahn)
(shee) or (yoh)
(goh)
[ one ]
[ two ]
[ three ]
[ four ]
[ five ]
6. roku
7. shichi
8. hachi
9. ku
10. ju
(low-koo)
(shee-chee) or (nana)
(hah-chee)
(koo)
(joo)
[ six ]
[ seven ]
[ eight ]
[ nine ]
[ ten ]
3.0 JAPANESE PHRASES
arigato gozaimasu (Ah-lee-gah-toh Goh-zah-ee-mahss) Thank you
arigato gozaimashita (Ah-Lee-Gah-Tow  Goh-zah-ee-mah-shee-tah) Thank you very much for what you have done.
onegai shimasu (Oh-nay-guy-ee  Shee-mahss) I request your favor.  Spoken when one wishes to practice with another student. for example: Would you please practice with me?
abunai (Ah-boo-nah-ee) Be careful
hajime (Hah-jee-may) Start
yame (Yah-may) Stop
Rei (R-a-y) Bow. Gesture of respect / gratitude.

4.0 BASIC AIKIDO MOVEMENT / DIRECTION

Although there are, in fact, an unlimited number of ways / variations in which one can move, the following represent the fundamental, basic movements for training purposes:

irimi (Ee-lee-mee) entering movement (used in Omote Waza)
tenkan (Ten-kahn) Turning movement (used in Ura Waza)
omote waza (Oh-moh-tay Wah-zah) a technique that goes in front of uke.
ura waza (Oo-rah  Wah-zah) a technique that goes behind uke.

5.0 BASIC AIKIDO TECHNIQUES

Although there are, in fact, an unlimited number of ways / variations in which one can defend oneself, the following represent some of the more frequently used techniques for basic training purposes:

gokyo (Goh-kyoh) “5th foundation technique”
[ Ude Nobashi – Arm Stretch ]
ikkyo (Eek-kyoh) “1st foundation technique”
[ Ude Osae – Arm Pin ]
irimi nage (Ee-lee-mee  Nah-gay) Entering throw.
juji-gatami nage (Joo-jee  Gah-lah-mee) Throw by tying opponents arms in knot.
kaiten nage (Kah-ee-ten  Nah-gay) “Windmill” throw.
kokyu dosa (Koh-kyou  Doh-sah) Kneeling practice used to develop proper energy and coordination.
kokyu nage (Koh-kyou Nah-gay) “Breath” throw (using minimum muscle power.)
koshi nage (Koh-she Nah-gay) Hip throw
kotegaeshi (Koh-tay-Gah-ee-shee) Wrist throw
nikyo (Nee-kyoh) “2nd foundation technique”
[ Kote Mawashi – Wrist Turn ]
sankyo (Sahn-kyoh) “3rd foundation technique”
[ Kote Hineri – Wrist Twist ]
shiho-nage (Shee-hoh Nah-gay) “Four direction” throw.
tai no henko (Tie Noh Hen-koh) Basic body novement / turning / blending exercise. Very easy to learn – very hard to master!
tenchi nage (Ten-chee Nah-gay) “Heaven and Earth” throw.
yonkyo (Yoh-n-kyoh) “4th foundation technique”
[ Kote Osae – Wrist Pin ]

 

 

6.0 BASIC TRAINING ATTACKS

Although there are, in fact, an unlimited number of ways / variations in which one can attack or grapple, the following represent some of the more frequently used attacks for basic training purposes:

ai-hanmi

giyaku-hanmi

(Ah-ee Hahn-mee)

(Guk-yu Hahn-mee)

Matching stance (ie. mirror image)

Opposite feet stance (ie. both start with left or right foot forward)

daki-jime (Dah-key Jee-may) Bear hug (front or back)
ganmen tsuki (Gahn-men Skee) Straight punch to face (men tsuki)
hiji tori (Hee-jee  Tow-lee) Elbow grip
kata tori (Kah-tah Tow-lee) Shoulder grip
katate tori (Kah-tah-tay Tow-lee) Single wrist grip
kosa tori (Koh-sah Tow-lee) Opposing hand wrist grip (ie. right hand grasping left wrist or visa versa)
men tsuki (Men Skee) Straight punch or thrust to the head
men uchi (Men Oo-Chee) Any strike to the head
morote tori (Moh-low-tay Tow-lee) Wrists gripped with both hands
mune tsuki (Moo-neh Tsue-key) Straight punch or thrust to abdomen. (also simply refered to as “tsuki”)
muna dori (Moon-ah  Doh-lee) Lapel grip
ryohiji tori (Lee-yoh-hee-jee Tow-lee) Both elbows gripped
ryote tori (Lee-yoh-tay Tow-lee) Both hands gripped
shomen uchi (Sho-men Oo-chee) Strike to top of the head
ushiro-eri dori (Oo-shee-low Eh-leeDoh-lee) Collar grip from the rear
ushiro hiji tori (Oo-shee-low Hee-jee Tow-lee) Elbow grip from the rear
ushiro kubi-shime (Oo-shee-low Koo-bee She-may) Rear choke hold
ushiro ryokata tori (Oo-shee-lowLee-yoh-kah-tahTow-lee) Both shoulders gripped from the rear
ushiro ryote tori (Oo-shee-lowLee-yoh-tay Tow-lee) Both wrists gripped from the rear
ushiro tori (Oo-shee-low  Tow-Lee) gripping from the rear
yokomen-uchi (Yoh-koh-men Oo-Chee) Oblique strike to the side of the head

 

The Secret Science of Combat Strategy

The Secret Science of Combat Strategy book cover, written by Julius Aib

The Secret Science of Combat Strategy presents an invaluable resource for anyone interested in martial arts hoping to improve their knowledge and skills.

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