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Kendo Glossary

The following is a listing of some of the more common terms in Kendo. The list is by no means exhaustive, but it is extensive enough to cover the majority of terms and terminology a Kenshi should require. When a definition has a term in Bold Font, this term appears in this listing as its own entry. Terms which are in Italics are direct translations from the original Japanese language.

Counting in Japanese
The following is a list of the English numbers one through ten in their equivalent Japanese.
Ichi : One
Ni : Two
San : Three
Shi : Four
Go : Five
Roku : Six
Shichi : Seven
Hachi : Eight
Kyuu : Nine
Juu : Ten

Following that are the Japanese counting words used to enumerate: “first”, “second”, and “third”, etc.
Ipponme : First
Nihonme : Second
Sanbonme : Third
Yonhonme : Fourth
Gohonme : Fifth
Ropponme : Sixth
Nanahonme : Seventh

Courtesies
The following is a list of the common courtesies used in the Dojo:
Arigato Gozaimashita :“Thank You” (for practicing with me)
Domo Arigato Gozaimashita :“Thank You” (very polite context)
Onagaishimasu : “Please” (practice with / teach me)

Commands
The following are a list of common commands used in the Dojo:
Hajime : Begin / Start
Yame : Stop.
Yasume : Break.

Men-wo-Tore : Take off Your Men.
Men-Tsuke : Put on Your Men.
Seretsu : Line up.
Chakuza : Sit.
Seiza : Assume Seiza, the Formal Sitting Position.
Mokuso : Meditation
Rei : Bow.
Kamae-To : Assume Kamae.
Osame-To : Put away your Sword.
Sonkyo : Assume Sonkyo, the Formal Squatting Position.

Common Terms
The following is a list of general Kendo terms.
Ai : (prefix) “Balanced”, (suffix) “Integration”
Aite : Opponent
Ashi : Foot
Ashi-Sabaki : Footwork.
Ayumi-Ashi : “Walking” Footwork

Bogu : Kendo Armor. See Men, Kote, Do, and Tare.
Bokuto : Wooden Sword.

Chikama : A distance that is shorter than Issoku Itto no Maai
Chisai : Small

Chisai Waza : Small Techniques.
Chudan no Kamae : Mid Level Kamae. The “Kamae of Water”.
Chudan Hanmi no Kamae : A variant of Chudan no Kamae while using the Kodachi.

Dan : Step or Level.
Datotsu : Strike or Thrust.
Datotsu Bu : The portion of the Shinai that strikes are made with. (The upper ? above the Nakayui; the Monouchi.)
Datotsu Bui : Portion of the Bogu where one can attempt to land a strike.
Debana Waza : Technique where one strikes upon movement of the Aite.
Do : Abdomen target also the chest protector
Dojo : “Practice Hall”.

Fumi-komi : Stomping footwork.
Gedan no Kamae : Low Level Kamae. The “Kamae of Earth”.
Gedan Hanmi no Kamae : A variant of Gedan no Kamae while using the Kodachi.
Geiko : Alternate pronunciation of Keiko.
Gi : The traditional practice top.
Gyaku : “Reversed” or “Opposite”.

Hakama : The traditional practice pants.
Harai Waza : Waza where one strikes the opponents Shinai to create a Suki.
Hasaki : “Cutting Edge”
Hasso no Kamae : Variant of Jodan no Kamae . “The Kamae of Wood”.
Haya Suburi : Quick Suburi. Also referred to as Choyaku Suburi.
Hidari : Left (direction).
Hiki Waza : Techniques where ones strikes moving backwards.
Hiraki : verb, “To Open”.
Hiraki Ashi : Circular side steps.
Hirauchi : To Strike with the flat of the Shinai.

Iri-Mi : “To Enter”. The fundamental action of stepping into your Aite’s Maai.
Issoku Itto no Maai : Distance at which one can launch an attack in one step.

Ji-Geiko : Free practice.
Jin-Bu : Portion of the Shinai below the Monouchi.
Jodan no Kamae : High Level Kamae. The “The Kamae of Fire”
Joge Buri
: Large “Up-Down” Suburi

Kaeshi Waza : Waza where one receives the Aite’s Shinai and then counter attacks.
Kakari Geiko : All out attacking practice.
Kamae : Stance
Katate : “One-Handed”
Katate Waza : One-Handed Waza.
Katsugi Waza : “Shouldering the Sword” technique.
Keiko : “Practice”, “Training”, “Study”. Interchangeable with Geiko.
Kendo : “The Way of the Sword”.
Kenshi : Kendo Student.
Kensen : Tip of the Shinai
Ki : “Spirit” or “Mental Energy”.
Kiai : Expression of spirit through your voice. “Energy Integration”
Kigurai : “Noble Presence, Bearing, Pride, Dignity”
Kihaku : “Spirit”
Kihon : “Basic”
Ki Ken Tai no Ichi : “Mind, Sword, and Body as One”
Kiri Kaeshi : Coordinated practice of Shomen, Tai-Atari, and Sayu-Men with an Aite.
Kisei : “Spirit, Vigor”
Kobushi : “Fist”.
Kodachi : The Short Sword.
Kohai : “Junior student”.
Kokoro : “Spirit” or “Mind”, “Mental”.
Kokoro no Kamae : “Spiritual / Mental Stance”; A mindset or attitude.
Kote : “Fore-arm” target, Glove.

Ma : “Space”
Maai : Distance or Forward (direction). “Distance Integration”.
Men : Helmet, head target.
Metsuke : “Point of Observation”. “Enzan no Metsuke”: Fixing your eyes on a distant mountain.
Migi : Right (direction)
Monouchi : See Datotsu Bu
Morote : “Two-Handed”
Morote Waza : Two-Handed Waza
Mune : Chest portion of the Do.
Mushin : “No Mind”. In very basic terms, Mushin is acting on reflex alone; not thinking about what to do or the effects of an action.
Nakayui : The leather tie on the Shinai ? the length of the Shinai from the top.
Naname Buri : Joge Buri Suburi with the strikes angled at about 30º to 45º.
Nuki Waza : Waza where one avoids the Aite’s strike and counter attacks
Nidan Suburi : Two step Suburi.
Nidan Waza : Two Step technique.
Nihon Kendo no Kata : “The Japanese Kendo Kata”. A set of formal movements which form the basis of modern Kendo.

Oji Waza : Counter Attacking Waza
Oki : Big.
Oki-Waza : Big Techniques.
Okuri-ashi : Sliding step footwork. The standard footwork in Kendo.
Omote : Left side of the Shinai.

Rei : “Bow”
Renzoku : “Continuous”.

Sage-To : Relaxed standing position with the Shinai held at ones side.
Sakigawa : Leather Cup on the end of the Shinai.
San Dan Suburi : Three Step Suburi
Seigan no Kamae : A variant of Chudan no Kamae.
Sempai : “Senior Student”.
Sensei : “Teacher”.
Seme : “Pressure”.
Shiai : A Kendo Match where points are scored.
Shikake Waza : Technique to Initiate a strike.
Shin : “Mind”.
Shinai : Bamboo Practice Sword.
Shoto : The Short Shinai used in Nito no Kamae.
Shomen : (1) The center or front of the Men. (2) The symbolic head of the Dojo.
Suburi : “Swing / Strike Practice”.
Suki : An opening (in ones defense).
Suri-Ashi : Sliding ones feet as you step.
Sutemi : “All or nothing”. Literally: “Body Abandoning”

Tachi : The Long Sword.
Tai-Atari : “Bodycheck” or “Push”.
Tai-To : Position with the Shinai held at 45º at your hip in preparation to assume Kamae.
Tare : Waist Protector.
Tenugui : Head Towel.
Tenouchi : Balanced strength of hands at the moment you make a Datotsu.
Toma : A distance that is longer than Issoku Itto.
Tsuba : Guard of the Shinai.
Tsuba-Dome : Stopper that holds Tsuba in place.
Tsubazeriai : The position when two Kendoka are in close proximity during Keiko, Tsuba against Tsuba.
Tsuka : The handle of the Shinai
Tsuka-Gashira : The very bottom of the Tsuka.
Tsuka-Gawa : Leather covering the Tsuka of the Shinai
Tsuki : Throat target.
Tsuki-dare : Throat protector.
Tsuru : String on the top side of the Shinai

Uchi Gomi : Striking Practice.
Uchiotoshi Waza : Techniques for Striking the Aite’s Shinai mid-strike.
Ura : The Right side of the Shinai
Ushiro : Backward (direction).

Waki Gamae : Variant of Gedan no Kamae
Waza : Technique(s)

Yuko Datotsu : “Effective Strike”.
Zanshin : Follow through, Sustained Mental and Physical Alertness.
Zekken : Name tag worn on the Tare.

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