Martial Arts Dictionary
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-aggressive art, using the opponents' energy against them.
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.)
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.
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.
Balisong: A knife produced in the Philippines. 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 embraces 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 arnis 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 defence system centring 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 behaviour 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 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 her extremely powerful in action, much more so 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: Acupuncture’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 "centre." Region of the body from the neck to the waist, used to explain target areas.
Choong sim: Centre 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.
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: Dance like 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 indicative 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 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 demeanour of shyness or elusiveness.
Estocador: A practitioner of eskrima.
Fari Gatka: An Indian form of fencing cantered 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.
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.
Gi: A Japanese term for a martial arts uniform.
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 culottes 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 axe like 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 eighth- 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: non-resistance when meeting force, circular motion to countering and attacking, and the water principle - total penetration of an enemy's defences.
Hara: "Abdomen." Gravity and mass in the human body, traditionally considered in Eastern thought to be the seat of the soul and centre 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.
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: Fore knuckle.
Hiza: Knee or lap.
Ho goo: Protective equipment worn by tae kwon do competitors to minimize injury while sparring.
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 manoeuvres.
Hosin sul: Self-defence 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 "mould." 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 manoeuvres, 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. Bjlptjung "Power gathering." The act of breathing while meeting an opponent's attack in order to unify one's internal and external forces.
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 jo jutsu.
Jogai: "Out of bounds." A term used by a referee to denote that either or both contestants are out of bounds.
Jo jutsu: See "jodo."
Jonin: A ninja leader.
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-defence 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: Centre 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 lacquered 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.
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 honoured guests sit.
Kang fa: "Hard method." An 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 manoeuvres 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.
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 repetition of the fundamental techniques.
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 combative. 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, which 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 Philippines.
Kuji kiri: "Energy channelling." 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.
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 popularised in Korea between A.D. 1147 - 1170.
Kwoon: A facility in which the Chinese martial arts are practiced.
Kyubo: Chest area.
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 cantered 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 centred 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.
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 web like 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 emptiness. 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.
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."
Odachi: See "tachi."
Omote: "Front" or "obvious."
Oni ken: Extended knuckle fist.
Orei: "Respect" or "etiquitte." An expression of formal greeting in karate.
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.
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.
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.
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 defences.
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.
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.
Shiai: A competitive match between Japanese martial artists.
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.
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."
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.
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 defence 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.
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.
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 centre located just below the naval, which protects the centre of gravity and produces a reservoir 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 receive 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 pursuer. 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.
Three sectional staff: A Chinese weapon consisting of three rods connected by chain or rope.
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.
Tsuzukete: "Continue." A term used by the referee in a karate match, most frequently after a scoreless exchange.
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. Linear patterns and forceful breathing characterize it.
Uke: "Receiver." The partner upon whom the technique is executed.
Ukemi: "Break falling." The art of using shock-dispersing action such as rolls and breakfalls to avoid injury when falling.
Ura: "Reverse," "hiding," or "rear."
Uraken: Reverse fist.
Ura zuki: Reverse punch.
Ushiro: "Back," "rear," or "behind."
Utsu: To strike or to hit.
Uye: "Up" or "upward."
There are no terms at this time.
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.
Wing chun: "Beautiful springtime." A form of Chinese kung fu that centres around strong linear punches and centreline movement.
Wushu: "War arts." A highly gymnastic, traditional sport-like art form characterized by several styles.
There are no terms at this time.
Yang: "Active" or "positive." In ying-yang theory, the positive aspect associated with what is described as centrifugal, expansive and extroversive.
Yin: "Passive" or "negative." One of the fundamental metaphysical elements of yin-yang whose balance is believed to be the centre 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.
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 transmit ion of teachings from master to student.
Zenshin: The entire human body.