Glossary of Dojo Terms

A long but by no means exhaustive list, compiled from many sources. Any errors are my own. Please feel free to contact me with comments or corrections. In time I will add or amend definitions as required.


Deshi – Student;disciple

Domo Arigato Gozaimashita – Thank you very much for that which you have done

Gomen Nasai: I’m sorry

Kohai – Junior

Konban Wa: Good evening

Onegaishimasu – Please assist me

Rei – Bow, salute

Sayonara – Goodbye

Seiza – Seated posture, correct sitting

Sempai – Senior

Sensei – Teacher, literally “one who has gone before”

Shidoshi – licensed teacher in the Bujinkan system

Shidoshi-ho – teacher serving under the guidance of a full shidoshi

Shikin haramitsu dai ko myo – “In every instance there is the possibility for enlightenment” This is one very short translation of these words – there are many others.

Soke – “head of family”

Yame – Stop


ichi – one

ni – two

san – three

shi / yon – four

go – five

roku – six

shichi / nana – seven

hachi – eight

ku / kyu – nine

ju – ten


Ashiko – Foot Claws

Bokken – Wooden sword used for training

Daisho – The set of katana and kodachi

Daito – Longer Japanese sword

Hanbo – 3 foot wooden staff

Jo – 4 foot wooden staff

Jutte – A metal truncheon

Katana – Sword

Kodachi – Short sword

Kogatana – Small utility knife mounted in a kozuka, located in a side pocket of the saya

Kunai – Leaf shaped digging tool

Kusari Fundo – A 100 cm chain with weighted ends

Kusari Gama – Traditional Chain and sickle weapon

Metsubushi – Eye blinding powder, smoke, pepper, etc.

Naginata – Halberd

Rokushakabo – Six foot staff

Saya – Japanese sword scabbard

Shinai – bamboo training sword

Shuko: Hand claws

Shuriken – Small throwing weapons, either senban shuriken which are flat with sharp edges or bo shuriken which are spikes.

Suburi Bokken – Heavy wooden sword used for solo drills

Tachi – Long sword; a longer version of the katana. worn hanging from the belt edge down

Tanto – Knife

Tessen – Iron fan

Tsuba – Sword guard (hilt)

Shoto – Short sword

Wakazashi: Short sword

Yari – Spear

Yoroi – A suit of armor

A to Z


Ashi – Leg

Ashi Ori – Break the leg

Ashigaru – A foot soldier of the mid to late Muromachi period and later. A fighting man below samurai rank.

Atemi – Strike; striking the vital points

Atsu – Press


Bajutsu – Horsemanship

Batto – The flowing motion of sword drawing and cutting. The “art of drawing the long sword”.

Bojutsu – Art of using six foot staff fighting methods

Boshi – The tempered part of the blade above the yokote around the kissaki (tip)

Boshi ken – Thumb drive fist

Budo- Martial ways

Budo taijutsu- Unarmed combat methods of the Bujinkan

Budoka- One who studies the martial way

Bugei – Martial skill.

Bugei-sha – A master strategist, one who studies the Art of War.

Bujin – Warrior spirit

Bujinden – Hatsumi Sensei’s hombu dojo

Bujinkan – Divine warrior training hall

Bujutsu – Martial arts; martial techniques

Buki – Weapon

Bushi – Japanese warrior

Butsumetsu – Kyusho; side of the torso, floating ribs


Chi – Earth

Chi no Kata – Earth form

Chi-No-Ri – Understanding, in heiho the art of using the terrain.

Chi Ryaku – Earth principle

Choku-so – A straight spear blade.

Chu Middle

Chu-Sosei – In sojutsu the understanding the significance of basic posture in seeking an opening for a successful attack.

Chudan – Middle level


Dai – Large, big, great

Daikomyosai – Three day event celebrating Hatsumi Sensei’s birthday

Daisho – The set of katana and kodachi

Daito – Longer Japanese sword

Dakentaijutsu – Striking, punching, kicking body methods

Dan – Level or degree of black belt

Densho – Traditional scrolls

Do – Path, road, way; motion; change

Dojo – Training hall, place of the way

Doko – Angry tiger

Dori – To seize, catch


Fu – Wind

Fudo – Immobility

Fudo ken – Clenched fist

Fudoza – Immovable seat

Furi – To spin or twirl


Ganseki – Rock

Ganseki nage – To drop a big rock

Gata – One; also means style, pattern, form

Ge – Low

Gedan – Lower level

Gedan uke – Downward receiving flow

Geri – Kick

Geta – Wooden clogs

Gi – Training uniform (also dogi or keikogi)

Gikan – Regard for justice

Gogyo – The five elements: Chi Sui, Ka, fu, Ku.

Goroshi – To kill

Gyaku – Reverse; joint manipulation


Ha – The Edge(s) of a blade

Hajime – Begin

Hakama – Pleated divided skirt

Han: Half

Happo – Eight ways (all directional)

Hara – Belly; center of one’s body

Heiho – Strategy; martial principles; warfare tactics, the art of generalship in medieval times

Henka – Change; variation

Hicho – Flying bird

Hidari – Left

Hiji – Elbow

Hira – Flat, even, level

Hodoki – Free, loosen, unbind, get untied

Hojo – Binding and securing

Hojojutsu – Binding techniques using a rope or cord to restrain prisoners

Hoko – Encircling tiger

Hombu – Main dojo

Horimono – Engraved designs of many kinds cut into the surface of a blade


Iai – Motion of drawing a sword and cutting

Ichimonji – Straight line (posture)

In – To hide

Inyo – Japanese name for Yin-Yang

Itami – Pain


Jime: – To constrict, tighten, choke

Jin – Human being, person

Jodan – Upper level

Jodan uke – Upper receiving flow

Jojutsu – Techniques of using a jo

Jujutsu – Techniques of flexibility; art of flexibility

Jumonji – Figure ten posture, Crossed arm position

Junan taiso – Body conditioning and flexibility

Jutaijutsu – Grappling methods, throws, locks, holds, soft body method

Jutsu – Techniques; art or method


Ka –Fire

Kaeshi – To turn over, throw

Kaiten – Rolling; overturn

Kamae – Attitude, posture, stance

Kanji – Chinese pictographic characters used in written Japanese

Kata – Shoulder; arranged forms; single, one; style, type, pattern

Keiko – Training; practice

Ken – Fist; heavy straight-blade sword; weapon

Keri – To kick also geri

Kesa giri: Diagonal cut

Ki – Internal energy, spirit, mind, heart, soul

Kiai – Spirit shout; a focused, directed yell

Kihon – Foundation, basic, fundamental

Kihon happo – Fundamentals; eight ways

Kimono – Traditional dress of the Japanese

Kiri – To cut; also a mist, fog

Kobudo – Classical martial ways

Kogoroshi – Killing the child (little finger)

Koho – Rear, back

Kokoro – Spirit, heart, or mind

Koppojutsu: Bone striking method

Koshi – Hip area; loins

Koshijutsu – Organ and muscle strikes

Kote – Wrist

Ku – Air, sky; emptiness, void; also the number 9

Kudaki – Crush, break, smash; shatter

Kuden – Oral teachings

Kukan – Space

Kunoichi – female ninja

Kusarifundo: Short chain with weighted ends

Kusarigama: Sickle and chain

Kyojitsu: Play of truth and deception; a feint

Kyojutsu tenkan ho: interchange of falsehood and reality

Kyoketsu shoge: Hooked blade weapon with weighted cord

Kyu – Step, grade; rank of green belt

Kyudo – Archery; way of the bow

Kyusho – Vital points, pressure points, weak points


Ma ai – Distancing; correct distance

Mae – Front

Mae geri – Front kick

Matte – Stop

Men – Head; all parts of the head, the face

Migi – Right

Mune – Chest

Musha – Warrior

Muto – No sword

Muto dori – Unarmed against a sword


Nagare – Flowing

Nagashi – Receiving flow; parry; deflect

Nage – To throw

Naname – Diagonal



Obi – Belt or sash

Omote – Outside, front; apparent, concepts easily understood

Oni – Devil, demon

Ori – To break

Otoshi – To drop

Oyagoroshi – Killing the parent (the thumb)


Randori – Freestyle rotational practice

Ryote – Two-handed

Ryu – Dragon; flowing; school, tradition; family; a style

Ryuha – Branch of original style or school


Sabaki: Evasion, footwork

Sanshin no kata: Three hearts movement methods

Seishin-Tanren – To “polish one’s spirit” through hard training.

Seiza – Seated posture, correct sitting

Sempai: Any student senior to another

Sensei: Teacher or instructor, “one who has gone before”

Shako ken: Claw and palm strike

Shaku – Old unit of measure. One shaku equals 11.93 inches.

Shi – Four; finger

Shichi – Seven

Shimenawa – A twisted rope made of rice straw and hung with paper streamers which is used to denote a sacred or purified building or area. The shimenawa is normally replaced every year.

Shin – Heart, mind, spirit

Shinai – Practice sword made of split bamboo

Shinken gata – Real fighting form or feeling

Shidoshi – Teacher, godan or higher

Shidoshi-ho – Assistant teacher

Shihan – Honorary title of master teacher

Shikan ken – Extended knuckle fist

Shikomi zue – A walking stick with hidden weapon

Shime – To choke, constrict, tighten

Shinobi – Another name for the ninja

Shinodake – Hollow bamboo cane used to breathe underwater

Shishin ken – Finger needle strike

Shitan ken – Thumb pressure strike

Shizen – Natural

Shomen – The front

Shomen uchi – Forehead strike

Shoten no jutsu – Tree climbing (climbing to the heavens)

Shoto – Short sword

Shuko: Hand claws

Shuriken – Throwing blades, throwing stars

Shuto, Shuto ken – Knife hand or open sword hand

Sodegarami – A “sleeve entangler”, a barbed polearm used to restrain armed felons.

Sojutsu – Art of fighting with a spear

Soke – Head of family; grandmaster

Sokugyaku – Ball of foot kick

Sokuho kaiten – Sideways roll

Sokuho tobi – Sideways leap

Sokuyaku – Foot strike

Sokugyaku – Toe strike

Sui – Water

Suiren – Water training


Tabi – Traditional footwear of the Japanese

Tai – Large, big, great; also refers to the body

Tai sabaki – Body evasion; natural movements for evading attacks

Taihenjutsu – Body changing arts: rolling, leaping, silent movement, tumbling, breakfalls

Taijutsu – Body techniques, unarmed combat methods

Taiso – Flexibility exercise; stretches

Takagi – Tall tree, large tree

Take – Bamboo

Tanto – Knife; dagger; dirk

Tatami – Straw mat

Te – Hand; arm

Ten – Heaven, sky; top

Tessen – Iron fan

To – And; head; sword

Tobi – Leaping and jumping skills

Tobi keri – Leaping kick

Tori – To seize, catch; the one applying the technique

Tsuki: Thrust, punch


Uchi – Inside; to attack, defeat, destroy, conquer, strike

Ude – Arm

Uke – Receive; one who receives the technique

Uke nagashi – Receiving the attack; receiving flow

Ukemi – The act of taking a controlled fall when thrown; receiving techniques in kata; breakfalls

Ura – Inside, back, hidden; concepts that are not obvious

Ushiro – Rear, back


Waza – Technique; ability, skill


Yamabushi – Mountain warrior priests

Yoko – Side; sideways

Yoko aruki – Sideways walking

Yokomen – Side of the head

Yoshin – Raising spirit, raising heart

Yumi – Archery bow


Zenpo – Forward, front direction

Zenpo geri – Forward stamp kick

Zenpo kaiten – Forward roll