Kendo words, commands & techniques

ShoShin: The pure, genuine enthusiasm when one first decides to do something

                Kendo words, commands and techniques

During the course of a Kendo class, many Japanese words are used. Although it is basically ok to use English instead, most dojos will use Japanese for two reasons: 1- the words used often refer to concepts very hard to explain in English and 2- a sense of tradition is kept and cultivated. Below are some of the words used, their pronunciation and meaning.

Equipment

Bogu Protective armour  
Hakama Pleated pants  
Kendo Gi Thick vest/jacket  
Men Head gear  
Kote Hand/forearm gear  
Do Chest gear  
Tare Waist gear  
Himo Strings used to attach the Men and Do  
Tenugui – Hachimaki Head cloth  
Shinai Sword imitation made of bamboo and leather  
Tsuba Sword / Shinai guard  
Tsuka Shinai handle  
Mono uchi Cutting part of sword  
Kensen Tip of the shinai  
Bokken – Bokuto Sword imitation made of hardwood  
Katana – Shinken – Iaito Real sword used for cutting practice or demonstration  
Zekken Name and Dojo identification  

 

            Start of class

Seiza Kneel  
Kiotsuke Be vigilant  
Sei o tadashite Adjust your posture  
Mokuso Start of meditation  
Shomen ni Face the room for bow (figurative)  
Otagai ni Face each other for bow (figurative)  
Rei Bow  

 

            Warm-up

Jouge Suburi Large front/back shinai swings  
Sayuu men suburi Sideways men shinai swings  
Shomen suburi Straight men shinai swings  
Haya suburi Fast shinai swings  
Shin Kokyu Breathing exercise – return to calm  
Kiri kaeshi Alternative sideways head hits  

 

            Counting

One Ichi  
Two Ni  
Three San  
Four Shi / Yon  
Five Go  
Six Roku  
Seven Shichi / Nana  
Eight Hachi  
Nine Ku  
Ten Ju  
Twenty Ni-Ju  

 

            Directions

Mae Front  
Ato / Ushiro Back  
Migi Right  
Hidari Left  

 

            Procedures

Rei Bow  
Ritsu rei Bow while standing  
Za rei Bow while kneeling  
Onegai-shimasu Please /  
Arigatou-gozaimasu Thank you (for future action)  
Arigatou-gozaimashita Thank you (for past action)  
Motodachi / Aite Receiver (instructor)  
Kakarite Attacker  
Keiko Practice  
Jigeiko Open / Free practice  
Kata Model form of Kendo techniques  
Kamaete Take on guard position  
Sonkyo Squatting preparatory posture  
Osame-to Return sword to hip/sheath  
Shinai oite Leave shinai on the floor  
Men o tsuke Put the men on  
Men o tore / men o totte Remove the men  
Hajime Start  
Yame Stop  
Kamae On guard position  
Chudan no Kamae Middle guard  

 

            Techniques

Waza Technique  
Footwork Ashi sabaki  
Okuri ashi Shuffle step  
Ayumi ashi Normal walk  
Kihon Basic  
Men uchi Hit to the head  
Kote uchi Hit to the (right) arm/wrist  
Do uchi Hit to the (right) side stomach  
Tsuki uchi Thrust to the throat  
Distance Maai  
Close distance Too ma  
Long distance Shika ma  
One step distance Issoku itto no ma  
Taiatare Body check after technique  
Shikake waza Offensive techniques  
Semete men/kote/do/tsuki Straightforward pressure attack  
Harai men/kote/do/tsuki Striking after deflecting opponent’s shinai  
Ni/San dan waza Combination 2/3 techniques  
Debana men/kote/do/tsuki Strike when opponent initiates attack  
Hiki men/kote/do/tsuki Strike while retreating from opponent’s still shinai  
Oji waza Countering techniques  
Suriage Strike after deflecting opponent’s attacking shinai  
Kaeshi Strike and move body after parrying opponent’s attacking shinai  
Uchiotoshi Strike after striking opponent’s shinai diagonally  
Nuki Counter attack after avoiding opponent’s attack  
     

 

            Concepts

Ki Ken Tai ichi Spirit, sword and body at one  
Zanshin Follow through spirit  
Metsuke Gaze/view  
Kiai Yell from lower abdomen  
Fumikomi Lunge at opponent  
Kakarikeiko Fast, repeated attacks on motodachi  
Sutemi All out attack without thought  
Uchikomi Aggressive series of strikes on motodachi  
Renzoku Consecutive strikes at opponent  
Shizentai Natural standing posture in Kendo  
Te no uchi Correct hand grip on shinai