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Dictionary

Here is a list of the common terms you might encounter in Karate. you can also download a pdf version or go to a more comprehensive diciotnary here

Abaniko

Arnis striking technique using a stick and resembling a fan motion

Age uke

Rising block. Also known as a high or upper block

Ai

Translated as "harmony," this term is most commonly associated with aikido, where one combines their energy with that of their opponents

Aiki

"Harmony meeting." When one combines an opponents' energy with their own for control

Aikido

A martial art developed by Uyeshiba Morihei in the 1930's. Based on aikijutsu, aikido is considered a non-agressive art, using the opponents' energy against them

Aikijutsu

"Technique of harmonious spirit." A branch of ancient jujutsu from which aikido was developed

Aite

"Opponent" or "partner." An adversary in a contest

Aiuchi

"Mutual striking down or simultaneous point." A simultaneous score by both competitors in the sport aspects of Japanese martial arts

Antei

"Balance," "stability," or "equilibrium."

Anyo

"Form." Dance-like techniques practiced in the Filipino art of arnis

Ap Chagi

"Front kick." Also known as apcha busigi (front snap kick.)

Ap

Front

Arbir

An indonesian halberd weapon of pentjak-silat approximately five feet in length that features a shallow groove in the plane of the blade running the length of the shaft

Arit

A sickle with pronounced crescent-blade patterns and a short handle, used in pentjak-silat

Arnis

"Harness of the hand." A Filpino martial art, also known as eskrima and kali, centering around stick, blade and empty hand combat

Ashi

Leg or foot

Ashi barai

Leg sweep Also known as ashi harai

Ashi gatami

Leg lock

Ashi ate

"Foot strikes" or "leg strikes."

Ashi no ura

Sole of the foot

Ashi sabaki

"Foot work" or "foot movement."

Ashi waza

Foot techniques

Atama

Head, or more specifically, top of the head

Ate

Striking. To strike

Atemi

Body striking

Au

To encounter an opponent in any Japanese martial arts contest.

Badik

A Malayan dagger shaped like a butterfly whose straight blade bears one sharp edge

Bajutsu

Japanese art of horsemanship Also known as jobajutsu

Bal

Foot

Balisong

A knife produced in the Phillipines. Also known as a "butterfly knife."

Bandesh

An ancient form of Indian fighting who principle tenant is to defeat an armed enemy without killing him

Bando

A Burmese method of armed and unarmed combat composed of karate-like striking a kicking, judo-like throws, stick fighting, swordplay, and knife and spear fighting

Banjang

A West Javanese style of gulat

Banshay

A Burmese martial art, influenced by both Chinese and Indian sources, which embrases the use of such weapons as the sword, staff and spear

Basho

Grand sumo tournaments scheduled six times each year in Japan

Baston

A wooden or rattan stick or cane of varying lengths used in the Filipino martial arts

Bastonero

Students and practitioners of anis de mano

Beladau

A Sumatran curved dagger with a convex cutting edge

Bersilat

A Malaysian martial art embracing both empty-hand and weapons techniques

Binot

An ancient Indian form of weaponless fighting the employed wrestling techniques against both armed and unarmed assailants

Bisento

A spear-like weapon with a blade resembling a scimitar affixed to its end. This weapon is extremely heavy, and was used to cut through armor and/or to cut down a horse in combat. The bisento was primarily used by the ninja of feudal Japan

Bo

A wooden staff approximately six feet long. It is one of the five weapons systematized by the early Okinawan developers of te (hand), and originated with the poles used by farm people to balance heavy loads across the shoulders

Bogu

Protective equipment of nonmetallic materials used in several styles of Japanese karate, primarily for competitive sparring

Bojutsu

An armed defense system centering around the use of the bo. It was developed from Japanese lance and spear techniques

Bokken

A wooden sword used by the Japanese feudal warrior as a practice weapon. The bokken went on to become an effective battlefield weapon

Bong

See "bo."

Bu

"Military" or "warrior." A concept denoting the entire military dimension of feudal Japan

Buddhism

A religious doctrine, one branch of which - the Chan school, or Zen - is closely connected to the practice of the martial arts

Budo

"Military way" or "way of fighting." A generic term encompassing all of the Japanese martial arts, which are largely 20th century offspring stemming from concepts that can first be positively identified about the mid-18th century

Budoka

Any follower of the budo doctrine belonging to such arts as aikido, judo, kendo and karate

Bugei

A generic term encompassing older Japanese martial arts which applies specifically to those principles used by the samurai, or bushi, whose occupation was called bugei

Bujin

A name for the martial arts expert. Translated as "military person" or "warrior person."

Bujutsu

"Military arts." A collective term for all the Japanese arts practiced by the samurai

Buke

Samurai. Translated as "person or military class."

Bunkai

"Analysis." The detailed study of martial arts techniques

Bushi

"Military person," "warrior," or "samurai." A term for the Japanese warrior which was changed to samurai in the 15th century

Bushido

A strict code of ethical behavior followed by the samurai. Bushido was formulated during the Tokugawa Era (1603 - 1868) of Japan. The premise of the code was to advise a samurai how to conduct himself in battle and how to find a meaningful place in a peacetime society.

Capoeira

A Brazilian form of combat adapted by African slaves to fight oppression. Capoeira is dance-like, and many believe it was developed this way to be disguised as a dance to the slave owners

Cha chuan

A northern Chinese form of kung fu developed from 14th to 17th century by Muslims of Sinkiang, Chinghai, and Kansu, in the west and south of China. In this system, practitioners fight from long range using high, long leaps to close the gap

Chashi

A Chinese exercise tool once made of iron and more recently of cement. These block-like objects, with handles, are used in one- and two-hand exercises to strengthen the the wrists and arms

Chi

"Spirit," "air," "breath," or "spirit energy." A biophysical energy generated through breathing techniques studied in kung fu. Ideally, chi can infuse a person with tremendous vitality and make him or or her extremely powerful in action, much moreso than power developed through the muscular system alone

Chiang

"Spear." One of the major Chinese weapons practiced in wushu

Chiburi

"Removing blood from the sword." In iaido (way of the sword), a sharp downward stroke of the sword done in such a way as to shake off the blood accumulated from previous cutting actions

Chien

A double-edged sword used in many styles of kung fu. Also known as the "gim" or "jyan."

Chikara

"Strength" or "power."

Chi Kung

A breathing exercise that cultivates chi and transmits it to all the bodily organs. Known in ancient China as "the method to repel illness and prolong life."

Chikuto

See "shinai."

Chimpan

The referee of a match. Also known as "shimban," "sinban," or "shimpan."

Ching lo

Accupuncture's twelve meridians of the body on which they key points of treatment lie and which are associated with the vital organs

Ching Shien

Spirit of vivacity in the Chinese martial arts

Chi sao

"Sticking hands." An exercise used in Wing Chun kung fu that develops sensitivity to the hands and arms

Chong bong

See "bo."

Choong dan

"Middle" or "center." Region of the body from the neck to the waist, used to explain target areas

Choong sim

Center of gravity

Cho wa

In the Japanese martial arts, the harmonious mental and physical reaction while at practice

Choy li fut

One of the most popular southern Chinese kung fu systems. Choy li fut is essentially a long-range form of Chinese boxing that relies heavily on strong horse stances and graceful yet dynamic long-handed techniques

Chuan

A general term used loosely to refer to a system of boxing, although it does not apply to any specific style

Chuan fa

The major Chinese precursor of karate. Most forms of 20th century chuan fa are said to be descendents of Ch'ueh Yuan's "170 hand and foot positions."

Chudan

See "choong dan."

Chui

"Warning." Admonition by a referee in a match, short of actual penalty

Chuken

The middle of the five players on a kendo team

Chung do kwan

"Blue wave school." A Korean form of empty hand fighting founded by Won Kook Lee in 1945

Chung ga

"Augment."

Chunin

"Middle person." The second of three ninja military ranks designating the leader of a group of ninja on assignment. Those led by chunin were the genin; those who obtained the assignment were the jonin

Chwa

Left or the left side.

Corno Breton

Also known as Cornish wrestling, this form of grappling is very similar to Japanese judo. The most significant difference is that a wrestler is not permitted to go to the ground with an opponent, but must make the throw while standing.

Daab

A Thai sword used in Krabi Krabong

Dachi

Stance

Dai Kissaki

Enlarged point on a Japanese sword, a style more commonly found on swords from the 1700's

Daisan

The completed drawing phase of kyudo

Daisho

"Big and small." Two swords, one long and the other short, worn by the samurai class in feudal Japan

Daito

A long sword, whose cutting edge, was over 24 inches in length, as contrasted with such shorter swords as the wakizashi (18 inches.)

Dan

A term used in the Japanese martial arts for anyone who has achieved the rank of at least first-degree black belt

Danjun

Part of the body just below the navel which is believed to be the source of ki

Dayang

The female black belt ranks in the Filipino art arnis de mano

Deru pon

A term used to denote the winning of a judo contest in the opening seconds before a contestant has had time to adjust him or herself, or even grasped the opponent's jacket

Deshi

"Disciple" or "student."

Djuroes

Dancelike fighting movements used in the Indonesian martial arts, similar to karate katas

Do

"Way" or "path." When this term is used as a suffix to a particular style of the Japanese martial arts, it is indicitive of more than just a means of combat. Do indicates a discipline and philosophy with moral and spiritual connotations, with the ultimate aim being enlightenment

Dobak

Korean term for a martial arts uniform

Dogi

Japanese term for a martial arts uniform

Dogu

Tools, equipment, or instruments used in martial arts practice

Dohyo

A circular ring, fifteen feet in diameter, in which sumo contests are conducted

Dohyo iri

The ceremonial entry of the sumo champions into the arena

Dojang

"Training hall" or "gymnasium." Any facility in which the Korean martial arts are practiced

Dojo

"The place of the way." A training hall or gymnasium where Japanese martial arts are practiced

Doshu

"Master" or "master of the way."

Dozukiri

The second stage of kyudo in which the archer sets his body into a firm stance

Dumog

An early form of wrestling practiced by Filipino natives.

Eishin ryu

The original style of iaijutsu that embraces numerous kata and is combat oriented

Eku

"Oar." A weapon developed by Okinawan farmers. Today it is a training weapon common to Okinawan karate

Embujo

A place of exhibition or athletic performances where martial arts events are often staged

Encho

"Continuation" or "extension." The overtime period of a match

Enteki

The art of long-distance archery

Eri

Lapel

Eri katsu

The lapel method of resuscitation used in judo

Esquiva

A Spanish word meaning escape, defend, repel, get away, move out of the way, etc. It is also used in Spanish poetry, literature and prose, to indicate a demeanor of shyness or elusiveness

Estocador

A practitioner of eskrima.

Fari Gatka

An Indian form of fencing centered around shields (fari) and swords (gatka). The gatka is a three foot, leather-covered stick. The fari, nine inches in diameter, is also leather bound. To score points the stick must simply touch the vital points designated on the opponent's body

Fou Tou Ou

A sword used in kung fu, known as the "hook and crescent" sword

Fu

The battle axe

Fu antei

A judo term denoted instability or lack of balance

Fuchi

The metal sleeve located at the base of the handle next to the guard of a samurai sword

Fukai

To hold strongly

Fukiya

Pins and poison darts shot through a blowgun

Fukubu

A target area in sport karate that includes the diaphragm, abdomen and side chest area

Fu jya

A style of kung fu that employs both hard and soft techniques.

Gake

Hooking action used in some ankle and sacrifice throws

Gakko

School

Ganmen

A target area referred to in sport karate. It includes all of the head and face area

Gatame

Locking or holding

Gedan

A term often used in karate to pinpoint an area to be attacked. Usually refers to the lower trunk area

Gekken

A name often used in place of Kendo during the Meiji era (1868 - 1912), especially by the military

Genin

Ninja of the lowest rank who were often responsible for carrying out dangerous assignments

Genseiryu

A style of karate characterized by tumbling and somersaults

Geri

Kick

Gi

A Japanese term for a martial arts uniform

Goshi

Hip

Gosoku

A modern system of karate founded by Tak Kubota of Los Angeles, California

Go ti

An ancient form of Chinese wrestling

Gunbai

A rigid iron or wooden fan carried by generals in battle and used today by sumo referees as a symbol of authority

Gung fu

The Cantonese pronunciation of kung fu

gup

"Grade" or "class." A Korean grade designating a level of achievement below black belt

Gyaku

"Reverse" or "opposite."

Gyoji

The referee of a sumo match.

Hachimaki

"Head wrapping." A light cotton towel, also known as a tengui, wrapped around the forehead to restrict perspiration from running into the eyes and face

Hajime

"Begin." Referee's command used to start a Japanese martial arts match

Hakama

"Divided skirt." The skirtlike trousers or cullotes primarily worn in kendo, aikido, iaido, and sometimes the upper ranks of judo

Hakko ryu

A form of jujutsu in which atemi (striking) techniques are emphasized

Halberd

A shafted weapon with an axelike cutting blade, sometimes used to describe the Chinese quando

Hanbo

A three foot wooden staff

Han mu kwan

"Military arts school." A style of Korean karate

Hanshi

"Master." A respected master, of Japanese martial disciplines, who is of eigth- to tenth-degree black belt rank, although not all masters receive this title

Hansoku gachi

"Winner by violation." The decision awarded in a match when an opponent has violated the rules

Hansokumake

"Loser by violation." A verdict against the loser when there has been a violation of the rules in a match

Hantei

"Judgement" or "decision." A command by the referee to the judges to choose the winner of a match when neither contestant has scored or if the score is tied

Hapkido

"way of coordinating power." A Korean martial art characterized by kicking without retraction and composed of three primary skills; nonresistance when meeting force, circular motion to countering and attacking, and the water principle - total penetration of an enemy's defenses

Hara

"Abdomen." Gravity and mass in the human body, traditionally considered in Eastern thought to be the seat of the soul and center of ki

Haragei

The art of concentrating ki in the abdomen; disciplines focusing on developing the tanden

Harai

"Sweep" or "sweeping."

Hara Kiri

Ritual Japanese suicide with a knife, practiced by the samurai warrior. This phrase is the informal word for seppuku

Hata

"Flag." The flags used by referees or line persons to indicate scores, decisions, or jogai

Hauri

Hip

Hidari

Left or left side

Hiji

Elbow, Also known as empi

Hikiwake

"Draw" or "tie." Referee's term denoting a draw in a match

Himm

"Force" or "power."

Hirate

Foreknuckle

Hiza

Knee or lap

Ho goo

Protective equipment worn by tae kwon do competitors to minimize injury while sparring

Hohup

"Breathing."

Hojo jutsu

The art of tying. Techniques used to tie and immobilize a victim by means of a cord

Hojutsu

The art of firearms or gunnery

Hombu

"Headquarters." This term can be used to define any headquarters for a martial arts school

Hop gar

A style of Chinese kung fu, also known as Lama, which is composed of twelve short-hand and twelve long-hand maneuvers

Hosin sul

Self-defense techniques

Hsing i

"Form of mind." An internal system of kung fu emphasizing linear movement

Hwa chuan

"Flowery hand system." A northern Chinese style of kung fu

Hung gar

A major style of southern Chinese kung fu characterized by very hard, strong techniques and stable horse stances

Hwarang

A band of Korean warriors who, much like the Japanese samurai, adhered to strict philosophical and moral codes

Hwarang do

"Way of the flower of manhood." A native Korean philosophical code similar to Japanese bushido and possessing a structured series of physical techniques that were advocated by warriors known as the hwarang

Hyung

"Pattern," "form," or "mold." A series of prearranged offensive and defensive movements executed against imaginary attacking opponents. Also known as katas or poomse.

I

"Will," "mind," or "intent."

Iai

"Swordplay." A sword exercise employing a series of thrusting and cutting techniques while drawing and returning the blade

Iaido

"Way of the sword." The modern art of drawing the samurai sword from its scabbard

Ibuki

"Breath control." Isotonic breathing exercises based on dynamic tension principles practiced in conjunction with, and also separate to, the execution of karate techniques

In ibuki

"Passive" or "internal breathing." A soft-but-firm type of breathing that stems from deep in the abdomen. It is common to many different martial arts

Isshin ryu

"One-heart method." A hybrid form of unarmed combat based on several Okinawan karate systems, founded by Tatsuo Shimabuku in 1954.

Jeet Kune Do

"Way of the intercepting fist." A collection of basic mental and physical concepts, observations of combat maneuvers, and philosophies of attitude gathered and developed by the late Bruce Lee

Jeja

Student

Jikan

"Time." A term used by the timekeepers at the beginning and end of a Japanese style match

Jip joong

Concentration "Power gathering." The act of breathing while meeting an opponent's attack in order to unify one's internal and external forces

Jirugi

Punch

Jiyu

Freedom (of movement, et al)

Jo

"Staff." A four foot long wooden staff

Jodan

"Upward" or "upper level." A compound word affixed to the name of techniques in Japanese karate

jodo

"Way of the stick." The Japanese method of stick fighting using a jo Also known as jojutsu

jogai

"Out of bounds." A term used by a referee to denote that either or both contestants are out of bounds

Jojutsu

See "jodo."

Jonin

A ninja leader

Joomuk

Fist

Joseki

In a traditional Japanese dojo, the area where instructors often times line up and face the students at the beginning and end of each practice session

Jofu fa

An ancient form of Chinese combat that emphasized close-range grappling techniques

Judo

"Gentle way." A Japanese art of self-defense and a sport with Olympic recognition. Judo is a method of turning an opponent's strength and overcoming by skill rather than sheer strength

Jujutsu

"Art of gentleness." Literally, the technique or the art of suppleness, gentleness. All of these terms, however, represent a single principle, a general method of applying a technique using the human body as a weapon in unarmed combat. Also known as jiu jitsu

Judoka

A practitioner of judo.

Junbi sogi

Ready stance

Jushin

Center of gravity

Jutsu

"Art." A term linking a fighting method with the bugei, or martial disciplines of war, rather than with the sporting or aesthetic practices of modern Japan

Jutte

A forked iron truncheon that can parry an attack by a sword.

Jutte jutsu

Art of the jutte.

Kabuto

The helmet worn by the Japanese samurai. It was made of iron or laquered leather, and was secured to the head by a series of silk cords.

Kachi

"Win" or "victory."

Kachinuki shiai

A type of contest in which a contestant takes on each opponent in succession without rest between matches until he or she is defeated. Each win counts as one, and a draw counts as one-half but eliminates both contestants.

Kagi yari

"Key spear." A hooked spear used for parrying and hooking an opponent's weapon. Like the jutte, it was useful to the police in making arrests.

Kaiken

"Short knife." A six-inch knife used by women of the samurai class.

Kajukenbo

A hybrid method of combat founded in Hawaii in 1947 by five experts Walter Choo, Joseph Holke, Frank Ordonez, Adriano Emperado, and Clarence Chang.

Kakato

Heel of the foot.

Kakup

Rank.

Kalari Payat

An ancient form of Indian combat embracing hand-to-hand techniques and weapons such as the staff and daggers.

Kama

A farming sickle that farmers in Okinawa converted to a weapon to combat the oppressing Japanese military.

Kamae

"Attitude" or "posture." The stances; a general term found in all of the Japanese disciplines.

Kama yari

A spear to which a single-edged, sickle-shaped blade is attached.

Kamiza

"Divine seat" or "upper seat." The area at the front of the dojo where the instructors and honored guests sit.

Kang fa

"Hard method." A ancient art of Chinese boxing that concentrated on kicking and thrusting techniques.

Kan shu

"Penetration hand." A Chinese training method in which a practitioner thrusts his or her hands into powder, then rice, sand, beans, and finally pebbles, to condition the limbs for striking.

Kanzashi

"Hairpin." An ornamental hairpin used for self-protection by the women of feudal Japan.

Karate

"Empty hand" or "China hand." An unarmed method of combat in which all parts of the anatomy are used to punch, strike, kick or block.

Karateka

A karate practitioner.

Kashira

"Pommel cap" or "ferrule." A metal cap covering the tip of the hilt of Japanese swords, daggers and so forth.

Kata

A series of prearranged maneuvers practiced in many of the Oriental martial arts in order for one to become proficient in techniques.

Katana

"Sword." A Japanese sword, with a curved, single-edged blade twenty-four to thirty-six inches long.

Keibo

A wooden club used by the Japanese police.

Kendo

"The way of the sword." The modern art and sport of Japanese fencing. The object of a kendo contest is to deliver scoring cuts to an opponent's predetermined target areas.

Kenjutsu

"Art of the sword." An aggressive method of swordsmanship practiced by the Japanese feudal warriors in which the combatants pitted naked blade against naked blade.

Kenkyaku

"Fencer." One of many words used to describe those who lived by the sword, especially in literary usage.

Kenpo

"Fist method." A modern term describing one of the more innovative martial arts practiced in Hawaii and the Americas, developed by Ed Parker.

Keri

Kick.

Ki

"Spirit." Ideally, the mental and spiritual power summoned through concentration and breathing that can be applied to accomplish physical feats. This centralized energy, possessed by every person, can be manifested through the practice of just about any martial discipline.

Kiai

"Spirit meeting." A loud shout or yell of self-assertion most common to the Japanese and Okinawan martial disciplines.

Kihap

See "ki."

Kihon

"Basics" or "basic training." In karate, the repitition of the fundamental techiques.

Kiritsuki

"Cut and thrust." The cutting action of the sword.

Kito ryu

One of the early jujutsu schools which especially influenced Jigoro Kano's formulation of Kodokan Judo.

Kobudo

"Weapons way." A generic term coined in the 20th century, which can be used to describe collectively all Okinawan combatives. However, it is more accurate to specify "Okinawan kobudo" in order to distinguish them from "Japanese kobudo."

Kodachi

"Small sword." A forerunner of the wakizashi, that boasts a blade between twelve and eighteen inches.

Kodansha

A high-ranking Judo black belt of fifth degree and above.

Kogusoku

An ancient method of unarmed combat mentioned in connection with kumiuchi and sumo in the oldest records of the Japanese martial arts.

Kohai

A junior in a school or organization.

Kojiri

The chape or end cap of the scabbard of a samurai sword.

Kokyu

"Breathing" or "ki."

Koshi

Ball of the foot, or the hip(s).

Kote

Wrist.

Kuen

See "kata."

Kuan tao

A method of Chinese boxing practiced in Indonesia, Malaysia and the Phillipines.

Kuji kiri

"Energy channeling." A hypnotic movement of the fingers used by the ninja to confuse their opponents. Known as mudras in Sanskrit.

Kumite

Sparring.

Kumiuchi

"Grappling." Wrestling techniques originally used by the samurai on the battlefield and which gave birth to jujutsu.

Kuneh

Bowing.

Kung fu

A generic term for a majority of the Chinese martial arts. Kung fu has two major divisions. The southern styles display a clear preference for techniques of strength and power, whereas the northern styles employ soft, open movement.

Kup

The grade levels below black belt in the Korean martial arts.

Kupso

The vital points of the body.

Kusari fundo

A small chain with weighted ends.

Kusarigama

A chain-sickle weapon, noted for its efficiency in neutralizing the sword at long range.

Kwonbop

A Chinese method of unarmed combat that spread to and was popularized in Korea between A.D. 1147 - 1170.

Kwoon

A facility in which the Chinese martial arts are practiced.

Kyubo

Chest area.

Kyokpa

Breaking.

Kyoshi

A Japanese martial arts teacher who is sixth- or seventh-degree black belt rank.

Kyu

A rank designation signifying a level of achievement below black belt or dan rank in the Japanese martial arts.

Kyudo

"Way of the bow." The modern Japanese practice of archery as a discipline of coordinated integration. Kyudo's basis is the clarity of execution, the poise, and the control over the bow.

Lakan

The male black belt rank in the Filipino art of arnis

Lathi

"Staff." An Indian fighting art centered around a cane or bamboo staff about five feet in length

Lima Lama

"Hand of wisdom." An American martial art of Polynesian descent, which is composed of a combination of movements stemming from thirteen various Polynesian martial arts

Liu gar

A basic southern style of Chinese kung fu centered around close-range fighting

Lua

"Bone breaking." The native martial art of Hawaii, now extinct, which was similar to Japanese jujutsu.

Ma ai

The distance between two opponents

Mae

"Front" or "forward."

Mairi

Tapping with the hand to signify submission

Makeru

To lose or be defeated

Makiwara

A karate training post designed for toughening various striking points

Marki

Block

Master

A title bestowed on a martial artist who has attained advanced rank after long years of study

Mate

"Wait" or "stop."

Meijin

"Expert." One who has mastered an art far beyond the boundaries of physical prowess

Mekugi

A bamboo pin used to secure the handle of a samurai sword to the blade

Men

The head protector used in kendo

Menkyo kaiden

A certificate of full proficiency in a Japanese martial art, usually awarded to an advanced student deemed more suited to carry on the translation of the art

Menuki

Hilt ornaments of a samurai sword

Mi

The blade of a knife or sword

Migi

"Right" or "right side."

Mi tsung i

"Labyrinth art." A highly deceptive method of kung fu featuring rapid, baffling turns and attacks

Mizugumo

"Water spider." A water-crossing device used by the ninja and composed of four carved pieces of wood fastened together to form a circle with a hole in the middle

Mizukaki

A weblike device used by the ninja. They were placed on the feet during swimming. Similar to present-day flippers

Mizu no kokoro

"Mind like water." A psychological principle of the martial arts emphasizing the need to calm the mind, much like the surface of undisturbed water, while facing an opponent

Modotte

A command for returning to the original position, used in competition

Mokpyo

"Striking point" or "target." Weak areas of the body that can be effectively struck or kicked

Mokusoh

"Quiet thought." A quiet form of meditation usually performed before and after a training session in the Japanese martial arts

Moo duk kwan

"Institute of military virtue." A style of Korean martial arts similar to Tae Kwon Do

Mooreup

Knee

Motonoichi

"Return to the original position." A command used by a referee during a karate match

Mu

"Nothing." The Zen nothingness or emptyness. This principle is often used in the Japanese martial arts to make one clear in the mind of all thought so the body will respond instantly to any situation

Mudansha

A martial arts student who has not yet attained the rank of black belt.

Mui fa jeong

"Plum flower stumps." A series of tree stumps driven into the ground on top of which certain styles practice kung fu

Mune

Chest or abdomen

Muton

The short sticks used in arnis, usually about three feet in length

Myung chi

Solar plexus.

Nage

Throw

Nagare

Flow

Naginata

"Reaping sword." A curved-blade spear, once used by Japanese monks and samurai. It is approximately seven feet in length including the blade. Many women of the samurai class became adept at the use of this weapon

Naiwan

Inner arm

Nakago

The tang; that portion of the sword blade to which the hilt is attached

Naotte

A command to be at ease or relax

Narande

A command to line up

Neikya

An advanced system of combat developed from Korean kwonbop

Ninja

"Stealer in." Japanese warriors most associated but sadly stereotyped with spying, infiltration and assassination. They became legends in their time, supposedly capable of disappearing into thin air and turning into animals

Ninjutsu

The art practiced by the ninja of feudal Japan.

O

"Big" or "great."

Obi

Belt

Odachi

See "tachi."

Omote

"Front" or "obvious."

Oni ken

Extended knuckle fist

Orei

"Respect" or "etiquitte." A expression of formal greeting in karate

Orun

Right

O sensei

"Great teacher." The honorific prefix "o" attached the word sensei indicates respect and acknowledgement of the chief instructor of a system. Most commonly associated with Uyeshiba Morihei, founder of modern day Aikido

Otoshi

Drop.

Pachigi

A Korean martial art in which the head is used to butt an opponent

Pai shih

A ceremony for a kung fu novice denoting his acceptance as a disciple

Pa kua

"Eight trigrams." One of three internal methods of kung fu. It is composed of various circling and linear postures named after and based on the movements of the snake, stork, dragon, hawk, lion, monkey and bear

Palmok

Forearm or wrist

Pankration

"Game of all powers." An early Greek sport developed as a combination of earlier native forms of boxing and wrestling

Parroh

"Return." A Korean command used in formal class to return to a ready stance

Peichin

An Okinawan feudal title bestowed upon a Samurai by a lord for distinguished services rendered

Penchak

"Evasion" or "warding off." An unarmed Indonesian martial art similar to a two-person dance

Pentjak

One of numerous terms used to indicate Indonesian unarmed combat

Pyugi

Stretching.

Quando

See "bisento."

Randori

Free sparring

Rei

A command to bow

Renmei

A federation, league, or union of Japanese martial arts clubs

Renshu

Practice or training period

Renzuki

Continuous attack

Riken

Backfist

Ritsurei

Standing bow

Rokushakubo

See "bo."

Ryu

"Way," "school," or "method." A term used as a suffix after almost all styles of Japanese and Okinawan martial arts. Ryu basically means a formalized martial tradition under an established teacher and school.

Sabom

"Teacher" or "instructor."

Sai

A pronged truncheon about fifteen to twenty inches long, used as a defensive instrument against various weapons such as the sword. It was developed from an Okinawan farming tool.

Sam

The traditional uniform of kung fu.

Sambo

Modern Russian Grappling Art

Samurai

The swordsmen of feudal Japan who were impeccably at a wide variety of martial arts practices, particularly the sword, and served and lord and fief. Masterless samurai were known as "ronin."

Sangdan

"Upper" or "upper level." A directional term used in Korean martial arts.

Sankukai

A style of karate based on a combination of other systems, with an emphasis on escaping techniques and aikido-like defenses.

Sappo

A method of attacking vital points of the body in order to cause a coma or death.

Savate

French hand and foot fighting. A method of fighting to the knockout, once popular with the aristocracy of France.

Saya

The scabbard of a samurai sword.

Seika tanden

Lower abdomen.

Seiken

Forefist.

Seishin

"Mind," "soul," or "spirit."

Seito

"Pupil" or "student."

Seiza

"Correct sitting." A full kneeling position used in many martial arts when performing the ceremonial bow or receiving formal instruction.

Sempai

"Senior." Usually denotes any senior by age, rank, position or social standing.

Sen i

"Fighting will" or "fighting spirit."

Seppa

The washers above and below the tsuba of a samurai sword.

Shaolin

"Young forest" or "small forest." A method of kung fu based on eight postures and five animal forms dragon, snake, tiger, crane and leopard.

Shejak

Begin.

Shiai

A competitive match between Japanese martial artists.

Shibum

Demonstration.

Shihan

Master teacher.

Shihap

A bout or match.

Shikko

"Knee walking." A method of moving forward while keeping one knee constantly on the ground. Knee walking was originally a polite way of moving in a house, especially before a lord.

Shime

Choke.

Shimoseki

"Lower seat." In a traditional Japanese dojo, the area where students line up and face their instructor(s). Also known as "shimoza."

Shinai

A fencing practice sword, made of bamboo strips, and used in the practice of kendo.

Shinken

"Real sword." An actual life or death encounter.

Shintai

"Stopped mind." A condition in which one remains exclusively defensive.

Shisei

"Posture" or "stance."

Shitahara

Lower abdomen.

Shito ryu

A style of karate founded by Kenwa Mabuni. Shito ryu is one of the four major Japanese karate systems.

Shizentai

"Natural position." An encompassing term for numerous karate stances in which the body remains relaxed but alert.

Shomen

"Front" or "forward." Often refers to the front wall of a dojo.

Shoshinsha

"Novice" or "beginner." Any unranked Japanese martial artist.

Shotei

Palm heel.

Shotokan

A popular Japanese karate system founded by Gichin Funakoshi and influenced directly by the Okinawan style of Shuri-te.

Shuai chiao

Along with chin na, this form of Chinese wrestling possibly influenced the formation of Japanese jujutsu.

Shubaku

A system of empty-hand combat similar to jujutsu which is considered the forerunner of judo.

Shuko

A type of feudal age brass knuckle used by the ninja. Besides the small metal plate that slipped over the knuckles, the shuko had spikes extending from the palm so an enemy's face could be raked. It was also useful for gripping when climbing walls.

Shuriken

Bladed instruments commonly used as throwing weapons by the ninja.

Shuri te

One of the three original Okinawan karate schools, which derived its name from the city where it originated.

Shushin

The chief referee in a judo contest or a Japanese-style karate match.

Shuto

"Knife hand" or "sword hand."

Si bok

"Older uncle." A title given to a senior ranking instructor in some styles of kung fu.

Sifu

"Teacher" or "instructor."

Silat

See "pentjak."

Simsa

Test.

Sogi

Stance or position.

Sojutsu

"Art of the spear." An armed combative practiced by Japanese feudal warriors who used many types and styles of spears.

Sokodo

Speed.

Sokim

"Fake" or "feint."

Sokuto

Foot edge or knife foot.

Sondabak

Palm.

Sondung

Backhand.

Sonkal

Knife hand.

Sooryon

Training.

Soto

"Outside," "outer," or "exterior."

Sparring

A form of martial arts training in which two opponents face one another and simulate actual combat.

Staff

See "bo."

Subak

A native Korean fighting system that enjoyed its widest popularity during the reign of King Uijong (A.D. 1147 - 1170).

Sudo

Knife hand.

Suki

"Opening." A gap in an opponent's defense or technique.

Sumo

A basic Japanese form of grappling in which the participants are of gigantic proportions. Victory is either achieved by forcing the opponent out of the ring, or by forcing him to touch the floor within the ring with any part of his body above the knee.

Sumotori

Sumo wrestlers.

Sutemi

Sacrifice.

Tachi

A Japanese long sword worn slung from a sword belt. Like the katana, the tachi had a single-edged curved blade.

Tachi rei

"Standing bow." A salutation common to numerous Japanese martial arts.

Tae kwon do

"Way of hands and feet." The primary form of Korean unarmed combat, named during a conference of chung do kwan masters in 1955. It is considered the most popular martial art in the world.

Tai chi chuan

"Grand ultimate fist." An internal system of kung fu, also called soft boxing, characterized by its deliberately slow, continuous, circular, well-balanced and rhythmic movements.

Taijutsu

"Body art." A generic term for a system of empty-hand combat.

Tai sabaki

"Body movement."

Taisho

The captain of a team.

Tanden

Abdomen.

Tang soo do

"Art of the Chinese hand." A Korean combative differing only slightly from Tae Kwon Do.

Tan tien

"Sea of chi." The psychic center located just below the naval, which protects the center of gravity and produces a reservior of force upon which to draw. Also known as "tan den."

Tanto

A Japanese dagger with a blade eight to sixteen inches long and carried by the samurai in addition to the katana.

Tashi

"Expert." An expert of Japanese martial arts who is of third- to fourth-degree black belt. All belts within this category, however, do not recieve this title.

Tatami

"Straw mat." A mat usually measuring three by six feet and three inches thick (with bound straw inside.)

Tate

Vertical fist.

Tatte

A command to stand up from a kneeling position.

Tetsubishi

A four-pointed caltrop used by the ninja to slow down a persuer. No matter which way a tetsubishi landed one sharp point always protruded upward.

Tetsubo

"Iron staff." A weapon used by the samurai from either a horse-mounted or ground position.

Te

Hand.

Three sectional staff

A Chinese weapon consisting of three rods connected by chain or rope.

Ti

Belt.

Tjabang

An iron truncheon similar to the Okinawan sai.

Tobu

An expression referring to the head area except the face.

Tomoe

"Circular" or "stomach."

Tonfa

"Handle." An old Okinawan farming tool developed as a weapon by Okinawan farmers.

Tsuba

The guard of a samurai sword.

Tsuka

The handle of a samurai sword.

Tsuki

Thrust.

Tsuzukete

"Continue." A term used by the referee in a karate match, most frequently after a scoreless exchange.

Uchi

Strike

Uchi deshi

"Apprentice." An old Japanese practice where a student was apprenticed to a martial arts master in order to become an instructor in turn

Ude

Forearm or arm

Uechi ryu

An Okinawan style of karate founded by Kanbum Uechi. It is characterized by linear patterns and forceful breathing

Uke

"Receiver." The partner upon whom the technique is executed

Ukemi

"Breakfalling." The art of using shock-dispersing action such as rolls and breakfalls to avoid injury when falling

Undong

Exercise

Ura

"Reverse," "hidding," or "rear."

Uraken

Reverse fist

Ura zuki

Reverse punch

Ushiro

"Back," "rear," or "behind."

Utsu

To strike or to hit

Uye

"Up" or "upward."

Wa

"Accord." An ancient Japanese term for harmony, accord, and coordination

Wado ryu

"Way of peace." A Japanese style of karate developed from jujutsu and earlier karate styles. It is one of the four major karate systems practiced in the world today

Waki

"Side" or "flank."

Wakizashi

"Short sword." The shorter of the samurai's two swords, with a blade of sixteen to twenty-three inches long

Waza

Technique

Wing chun

"Beautiful springtime." A form of Chinese kung fu that centers around strong linear punches and centerline movement

Wushu

"War arts." A highly gymnastic, traditional sport-like artform characterized by several styles.

Yang

"Active" or "positive." In ying-yang theory, the positive aspect associated with what is described as centrifugal, expansive and extroversive

Yari

Spear

Yikwon

Backfist

Yin

"Passive" or "negative." One of the fundamental metaphysical elements of yin-yang whose balance is believed to be the center of existence

Yojimbo

"Bodyguard." The name given to a masterless samurai (ronin) who hired themselves out as professional bodyguards

Yoko

"Side" or "lateral."

Yoko aruki

One of the unique ninja walking techniques to move stealthily through woods or narrow areas

Yok sudo

Ridge hand

Yonsok

Combination

Yubi

Finger.

Zazen

"Sitting meditation." The meditative posture and exercise of the Zen school

Zen

The discipline of enlightenment related to the Buddhist doctrine that emphasizes meditation, discipline, and the direct transmition of teachings from master to student

Zenshin

The entire human body.

 

 

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