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Dojo Dictionary

More so than in English, words in Japanese can have more than one meaning and often there are several words with the same or very similar meanings. Sometimes the meaning of a word can only be determined by it’s context within a sentence or even how it is used during the course of a conversation. The words or phrases here relate to common use in the Japanese martial arts dojo.

(Pronunciations in native Japanese courtesy of Google Translate) 


Dojo (Martial Arts) Japanese

ai: (eye): harmony, love
  the way of harmony of lifeforce
aikidoka: (eye-key-doh-kah) one who practices Aikido
arigato:  Thank you
arigato gozaimasu:  Thank You (more polite version)
         domo arigato:  Thanks a lot
         domo arigatou gozaimasu:  Thank you very much
         domo: Thanks

arigatou gozaimashita: This is a past tense version of ありがとうございます Arigatou gozaimasu. This expression is used when you thank for something that has been done to you, for example, you can say it to your teacher at the end of a lesson, or to your host when you leave a house party.

ashi : (ashh-hee) Foot, feet or legs
atemi: (ah-teh-me)  strike 
atemi waza: (ah-teh-me-waz-ah) striking techniques
aka: (a-ka) Red

bokken: (木剣): wooden sword. In Japan the term bokutō (木刀) is preffered. A suburitō (素振り刀) is a heavier wooden sword for cutting/swinging practice.

chudan: (chew-dan) Middle

dachi: (da-chee) Stance

dai ichi: (die-eech) The first
dai ni: (die-knee) The second
dai san: (die-san) The third
dai yon: (die-yawn) The fourth
dai go: (die-go) The fifth
dai roku
: (die-row-coo) The sixth

do:  (doh) Way or path.
dogi : (doh-gee) Also called “gi” . The uniform worn during the practice of a martial art. 
dojo: (doh-joe) Training hall. Literally – “The place of the way”.

gō-no-sen: (go-no-cen) 後の先 To respond to an attack after it is initiated.
: (gay-dan) Low or lower.

hai:  Yes.
hajime :  Begin.
hakama: (hack-ama):divided skirt worn over the gi
hidari: (hee-dah-ree) left
hiza: (he-za) Knee.
hiji-tori: grab the elbow or elbows.

irimi: (er-e-me): move forward

jodan : (joe-dan) Upper. 

kata: (kah-tah) Form or formal exercise. 
kiai: (kee-ah-ee) A sharp sound made at the moment of kime to aid in the tensing of body muscles and focusing of the mind for a more effective technique.
kime: (KEE-meh) Focus. The pinpoint concentration of mind and body to achieve maximum effectiveness.
kihon: (KEE-hon) Basic or standard.
kihon-no-keiko: (KEE-hon-noh-keh-ee-koh) Practice in basic techniques.
kiza: (Key-zaa)  this is an alternative sitting position identical to seiza except that the toes are tucked in underneath you when you sit. 
kiotsuke: (kee-oht-soo-kay) Come to attention.
kogeki: (koh-geh-kee) To attack.
kohai: (KOH-hah-ee): A junior member of the dojo.
koho-ukemi:  roll backward; backward fall.
kiotsuke: (kee-oh-skay) stand up straight!
kiritsu: (keer-itzu) 起立  stand up (always raising the right leg first)

kokyu: (koh-queue): breath; breathing; timing.
Koryū: (koh-roo) 古流,  old style and
kobudō: (koo-boo-doh) 古武道, ancient martial arts of Japan.
kubi: (coo-bee): neck
katate-kosa-tori:  cross hand grab
katate-tori:  same hand grab

maai: (mah-ah-ee) Distancing. The correct distance between two opponents.
mae ni: (mah-eh-nee) Move forward.
mae-geri:  front kick
mawashi-geri:  turning kick, roundhouse kick
matte: (maat-tay) Stop or wait
mawatte: (mah-waht-teh) Turn around, turn 180
menjo: (men-joe): Certificate
migi: (mee-gee) right
mochi:  grab; hold    (dogi-mochi: grabing training uniform)
mokuso:  quiet meditation

nage: (na-gay):thrower

obi: (oh-bee) Belt.
onegai shimasu: (oh-na-guy-shim-mass) お願いします please (teach me)
otagai ni: (oh-tah-gah-ee nee) toward each other
otagai ni rei:  お互いに礼 bow toward each other (teacher and students)

rei:  Bow. The three bows performed at the beginning and end of each class are:
      Shomen ni rei:  Bow to the front
      Sensei ni rei: Bow to the teacher
      Otagai ni rei : Bow to each other
ryote-mochi:  (re-otay-mo-chee) grab with two hands.
ryote-tori: (re-otay-toree) grab both hands.

seiretsu: (Say-reht-soo) Lineup in an orderly fashion.
seiza: (Say-zaa) The Japanese formal method of sitting on the floor with the knees bent and the legs under the body.
sen-no-sen: (cen-no-cen) 先の先 To anticipate an attack and to take the initiative. (See go-no-sen and sen-sen-no-sen).
sen-sen-no-sen(cen-cen-no-cen) 先先の先 To anticipate and take the initiative against sen-no-sen. (See sen-no-sen and go-no-sen).

senpai:  (Sem-pai) A senior person in a school or organization. Can also be a formal title given to a senior student (1st Dan to 3rd Dan).   (which is the correct English spelling / pronunciation -  Senpai or Sempai?)
sensei: (cen-say) Teacher. The term may be applied to anyone who guides or instructs another, such as a doctor or lawyer. Literally, sensei means “one who has gone before”. Sensei is also a formal title given generally to 3rd Dan and above black belts.
sensei ni rei: (cen-say-nee-ray) 先生に礼 – bow to your sensei (teacher), saying:
onegaishimasu – お願いします – please, at the start; and
arigato gozaimasu – ありがとうございます – thank you very much, at the end

shiai: (she-eye) competitive match
(she-hoe) four directions
shikko: (she-kow) knee walking
(she-row): White
shihan: (she-han) an instructor with 7th degree black belt rank or higher.
shinsa: (shin-za) examination.
shomen:  the front wall where pictures of the founders are hung.
shomen ni rei: bow to the front (of the hall)
shomen ni taishi: (show-men nee ta(i)-sh(e)) face the front
shomen-uchi: (show-men-oo-chee) strike to the top of head or forehead.
soto:(so-toe) Outside or exterior
sumimasen: (sue-me-mass-cen): Excuse me, or very polite Thank you
suwaru: (sue-war-ooh) sit down
suwari-waza: (sue-war-ee) Sitting techniques

tai sabaki: (tie-sue-bach-ee) Body movement/shifting/avoiding.
taiso: (toy-sew): exercise.
tantō: (短刀) short knife.
tatami: (畳): training mat , or traditional straw matting.
tenkan: (ten-can) turn; step backward.
toitsu: (toe-ite-sue) coordination; unification.
tsuki: (ski) strike forward
te: (tay): hand
tekubi: (tay-coo-be): wrist
tori Attacker.

tekubi-tori (tay-coo-be-tore-re) attack/grab the wrist or wrists.
tachi-rei: (taa-chee reh-ee) Standing bow.
tsuyoku: (t’soo-yoh-koo) Execute strong, fast techniques.

uchi: (ooh-che): strike 
ukemi:  safe ways of falling
undo: (un-doeexercise; motion.
ushiro: (oo-shee-roh): back
ushiro ni: (00-shee-roh-nee) Move backward.

waza: (wah-zah): 'way', 'method', 'technique', or 'skill'.  In budo or sumo, an action / movement with a fixed form initiated with a partner.
wakarimasen: (wah-car-ee-mah-sin) I do not understand
wakarimasu: (wah-car-ee-mas) I understand
wakarimasu ka ?: (wah-car-ee-mas kah) do you understand ?

yame:  Stop.
yasume: (yah-soo-meh) Relax.
yoi:  Be ready.
yukkuri: (yoo-koo-ree) Slowly, or “at ease”.

zanshin:  (zan-shen) “The remaining mind”. Maintaining complete awareness and alertness at all times.
zenpo-ukemi : (zen-poe-00h-chem-ee) roll forward; forward fall.


Counting in Japanese 

rei: (ray) zero
ichi:(eech) one
ni: (nee) two
san: (san) three
shi / yon:(she / yawn) four
go: (go) five
roku: (roke) six
shichi / nana : (seech /nanna) seven
hachi: (hach) eight
ku: (koo) nine
ju: (jew) ten

ju ichi: (joo eech) eleven

ni ju: (nee-jew) twenty
san ju: (san joo) thirty
shi ju: (she joo) forty
go ju: (go joo) fifty

Kihon - (基本, きほん)

Basics - Fundamentals

Senpai or Sempai?

Which is correct?

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