All classroom instruction, training and testing is conducted in English.
The Japanese terms below are included for traditional and historical purposes.

Dojo Titles and Positions


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.

Police Taiho Jutsu - Shudokan Ryu

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: Same as above, but plural.

Yudansha-Kai: An organization of Black Belts.


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Words for Everyday Use in the Dojo


Ai-hanmi - both partners are in the same stance.

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 - inside of shinbone

Bikenjutsu - art of the sword, swordsmanship

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

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.

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 - stick 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 - Shite sitting with 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 - way of sword-drawing

Iaijutsu - sword-drawing techniques

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

Iri - from hairu, to enter

Irimi - entering, moving in

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 - counter 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 it

Makimono - scrolls, ancient manuscripts, see also 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

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, an 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, or 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

Shudokan - our dojo name

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; kick with edge of the foot

Soto - outside

Suihei - horizontal

Suki - opening in your opponent

Sutemi - sacrifice, self-abandonment

Suwari waza - seated 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 - bambo

Tanden - abdomen, two fingers below navel; also hara

Tanto - knife

Taoshi - from taosu, to throw down

Tatami - a straw mat

Te - hand

Teisoku - sole of the foot

Ten - from tenjiro, to revolve, rotate

Ten - 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 in training (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 4+5 ribs)

Ura uchi - backfist strike

Ushiro - rear, back

Wakarimasu - I understand

Waza - technique

Waki - the side or lateral

Wakizashi - short sword

Waza - techniques

Yaku - kyusho (press), the calves; also ryuka

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; relaxed awareness after completing a technique

Zarei - traditional seated bow

Zenpo - forward direction

Zenpo kaiten - forward roll


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Counting in Japanese


1 - Ichi 
2 - Ni   
3 - San
4 - Shi 
5 - Go 
    6 - Roku
  7 - Shichi
  8 - Hachi
  9 - Ku
10 - Ju


Dan Descriptions and Meanings


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

2nd degree: Nidan, Disciple (Go No Sen: recapturing initiative with counter strike)

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.