A glossary of Japanese words relevant to Ju-Jitsu


Ashi waza – Foot and leg techniques

Atama – Head

Atemi – Strike to a vital area

Atemi waza – Striking Techniques


Bokken – Wooden sword

Bokuto – Anoter term for a wooden sword

Bojutsu – Staff-art. Sometimes taught in classical jujutsu schools, depending on the system

Budo – Martial ways (literally “way(s) of war)

Bugei – Martial crafts (Another way of referring to Japanese martial arts)

Bujutsu – Martial arts (Yet another interchangable term for Japanese martial art)


Choku – Straight Punch


Dan – Level

De Ashi Barai – Advancing Foot Sweep

Deshi – Student of a system

Do/Michi – (the) Way

Dojo – Place of practice

Dori (Toru) – To grab or capture.


Empi Uchi – Elbow strike (The term comes from karatedo and doesn’t have really much connection to jujutsu. It literally means swallow flying.)

Eri – collar or lapel


Furimi – Avoidance

Fusegi – Escapes/Defences


Gedan Tsuki – Punch to groin

Gi – Training Uniform

Gyaku Tsuki – Reverse punch


Hajime – Start/Begin

Harai – Sweeping

Hidari – Left

Hiji Ate – Elbow strike

Hiki – Pull, tug

Hiraken Tsuki – Horizontal fist punch

Hiza – Knee

Hiza Ate – Knee strike

Hiza geri – Knee strike/kick

Hyoshi – Timing/rythm


Ichi – One

Ippon Seoi Nage – One arm shoulder throw

Irimi – Entering

Irimi nage – Entering throw


Jujutsuka – Practitioner of Jujutsu

Jiyu Kumite – Free sparring

Jujutsu – The gentle art/supple art/flexible art/Pliant art/soft art (But no way in hell is Jujutsu gentle or soft!!!)

Jutsu – Art or technique


Kacchu-Yawara – Armoured close combat, where most jujutsu systems got their techniques, very few atemi used, lots of nagewaza, kansetsuwaza & the use of daggers to finish the enemy

Kaeshi – Countering Techniques. (Kaeshi also means to turn)

Kagi – Hook

Kagi Tsuki – Hook punch

Kaishu – Open hand

Kaiten – Rotation

Kakato – Heel

Kake – The point at which a throw will take it’s maximal effect

Kamae – Posture (or stance)

Kansetsu – Joint Locking

Kansetsu waza – Joint Locking techniques

Kari – Reap (Changed to gari when used with a prefix word)

Kasumi – Temple

Kata – Pre arranged stylized techniques

Kata – Shoulder

Kata-gatame – Shoulder pin

Kata-guruma – Shoulder wheel (fireman’s lift throw)

Katame – Lock/Hold

Katame Waza – Joint locking/immobilizing techniques.

Katana – Japanese sword.

Keri – Kick

Keri waza – Kicking techniques

Kesa-Giri – Sash cut – A diagonal cut with a Japanese sword from shoulder to hip.

Kiai – Shout

Kime – Focus

Kime waza – Another term for joint locking techniques

Kiri – Cut

Ko – Minor/small

Kodachi – Short sword. (Alternative term: Wakizashi or Shoto)

Kohai – Beginner or junior student in the dojo

Ko-soto-gari/gake – Minor/small outer reap/prop

Kote Gaeshi – Wrist turnout lock/throw

Ko-uchi-gari/gake – Minor inner reap/prop

Koshi – Hip (when used first in a throw name)

Koshi guruma – Hip wheel throw

Kubi – Neck

Kubi Nage – Neck throw

Kumite – Sparring

Kumi-Uchi – Another term used instead of jujutsu

Kusarigama – Sickle & weighted chain. Sometimes taught in classical jujutsu, depending on the system.

Kyu – Coloured belt



Mae – Front

Mae geri – Front kick

Mae-tobi-geri – Jumping front kick

Makkikomi – Winding throw

Massugu – straight ahead

Mata – Groin

Mate – Wait

Mawashi-geri – Roundhouse kick

Me – Eyes

Migi – Right

Mikazuki – Crescent

Mune – Chest

Mune-gatame – Chest hold

Munen mushin – Striking without conscience

Mokuso – Meditation

Mudansha – members with kyu grades


Nage – Throw

Nage-no-kata – Throwing kata (usually used to refer to the Kodokan Nage-no-kata)

Nage waza – Throwing methods

Naka – Center

Newaza – Ground techniques

Ni – Two

Nidan – 2nd Dan

Nigiri – Grip (Gyakute nigiri -reversehand grip – Junte Nigiri – Normal grip)


O – Major/Large

Ogoshi – Major/Large hip throw

O-guruma – Major/Large Wheel

Omote – Front or surface (Can also refer to basic skill sets of techniques in classical jujutsu schools)

O-soto-gari/gake – Major/Large outer reap/prop

O-soto-guruma – Major/Large outer wheel

O-soto-makkikomi – Major/Large outer winding throw

O-soto-otoshi – Major outer drop

O-uchi-gari/gake – Major inner reap/prop

Otagai-ne-rei – Mutual bow to all assembled




Randori – Sparring

Rei – To bow

Reigi – Manners

Reiho – Etiquette methods. (From dojo to dojo the reiho depends on the school of jujutsu being taught. Usually, it’s to the Shinzen, then to the teacher and then to each other.)

Ritsu rei – standing bow

Roku – Six

Rokushakubo – A six-foot staff. Generically called a bo, but this is the proper term.

Ryu – School/system of Martial Art. (e.g. Kito-ryu, Takenouchi-ryu, Takagi-ryu)

Ryuha – A collective term for different schools


San – Three

Sasae ( – Floating

Seiza – Formal kneeling position

Sensei – Teacher

Sensei-ni-rei – Bow to instructor

Seiken – Horizontal fist

Sempai – Senior student(s) in the dojo

Seoi – To carry on the shoulder

Seoi-nage – Shoulder throw

Seoi-otoshi – Shoulder drop

Shi – Four (note: yon is usually four, shi is only used in certain situations because “Shi” also means “Death”)

Shichi – Seven (note: similar to “shi”, “shichi” is only used in certain situations, otherwise “nana” if more commonly used. The numerical pronunciation for shi is the same as death, therefore, unlucky.)

Shihan – Master (6th Dan and up, style dependent)

Shime – Choke/strangle

Shime-waza – Strangulation techniques

Shisei – Posture (Nothing to do with combative stances)

Shinzen-Ni-Rei – Bowing to the Kamiza (Shinto altar) at the front of the dojo

Shote – Palm heel strike

Shomen – Front (Also used to refer to the front of the dojo)

Shomen-Ni-Rei – Bowing to the front of the dojo

Shuriken – Throwing blades sometimes taught in classical jujutsu systems.

Soto – Outer/outside

Sukui-nage – Scooping throw

Sutemi – Sacrifice

Sutemi-Waza – Sacrifice techniques

Suwatte – sit down


Tai – The Chinese reading for body (Usually in Japanese it’s pronounced Karada unless it’s used in combination with another word, then the Chinese reading is used)

Tai-otoshi – Body drop throw

Tai-sabaki – Body Movement

Tanto – Dagger (one of the weapons jujutsu was originally designed to defend against)

Tanto-Dori – Defences or disarms against a dagger weilding enemy.

Tatami – Mat

Tate – Vertical (Can also mean to stand)

Te-guruma – Hand wheel

Teisho – Heel of hand

Te-waza – Hand techniques

Tawara-gaeshi – Rice bail throw

Tokui waza – favorite technique

Tori – Defender in a demonstration.

Torite – Another term used instead of jujutsu

Tsuki – Punch or thrust with a weapon.


Uchi – Strike

Uchi – Inside/inner

Ude – Arm

Ude-kansetsu-waza – Arm locking techniques

Uke – Recieve/reciever (ie, opponent to tori in a demonstration)

Ukemi – Breakfalling (literally uke = “to recieve”)

Uki – Floating

Uki-goshi – Floating hip throw

Uki-otoshi – Floating drop

Uki-waza – Floating techniques

Ura – Reverse or underside

Ura-nage – Rear throw

Ura-ken – Backfist strike

Ushiro – Rear

Ushiro-dori – Attack from behind



Wakibara – Flank/floating ribs (Literally: Side stomach)

Waki-Gatame – Side armlock using the armpit for leverage

Waki-No-Kamae – Side posture when using a katana

Wakizashi – shortsword (Also referred to as a kodachi or a shoto)

Waza – Technique



Yame! – Stop!

Yawara – Another term for jujutsu

Yoko – Side

Yoko Geri – Side kick

Yon – Four

Yubi-waza – Finger techniques

Yudansha – members with dan grades


Zanshin – Vigilance or awareness after a technique has been performed.

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