Dojo Japanese

Dojo Japanese–Word of The Day

Kokyu ho – breathing/respiration method. While training in this movement pattern the practitioner aspires to intuitively grasp, through repetitive training, the mechanics and timing of the power associated with the rhythmic breathing cycle.

Kokyu dosa – breathing/respiration exercise. Exercise, by definition, is movement without mind. This implies “empty,” and not fully engaged movement, or movement without personal and whole involvement of being.

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Arigato gozaimasu – said in the present tense. Thank you for what you are doing or just did..

Ashi sabaki [foot / leg handling] footwork. Although much of the teaching / learning attention in aikido goes to use of our arms and hands, much more attention should be placed on footwork and foot / leg movement, especially in the beginning stages of learning in the physical domain.

Ayumi ashi – walking foot (normal walking)

Chinkon kishin – [tranquilize-soul-return-god] To  calm the spirit and return to the divine. This is an important concept, especially when one finds themself in a stressful situation. This could be thought of as being able to “see” the truth of a situation by and  through “calmness of spirit” rather than a situation being distorted by an emotional response. 

Dojo – this is a place to study the Way, a “path-place” to study and integrate character in a student’s being–a place to study the etiquette associated with being a person, or personhood.

dojo-kun [dojo-instruction] written, proper conduct while in the dojo or, dojo rules. It may be these rules are posted in the dojo and are referenced by the practitioner now and again. These dojo-rules add to the student’s total qualitative training experience. The newest “rule” added to Big Sky Aikido’s dojo kun is to refrain from the use of cell phone usage while in the dojo as either a practitioner or guest.

Domo – again and again. said casually for thanks or, thank you.

Domo arigato gozaimashita –  said in the past tense and formally.  Again and again, thank you for what you have done.

Domo arigato gozaimasu – said in the present tense and formally. Again and again, thank you for  what you  are doing or just did.

Funa kogi  undo – (boat-row-exercise) this “boat rowing” purification exercise uses the movement concept of a small asian style boat and not a Western style rowboat. {Therefore, this movement concept is not a concept using an imaginary Western style rowboat, but rather, the style of boat where the rower is standing on a platform at the stern of the boat “rowing” it with a “back and forth” movement pattern rather than a forward to backward movement pattern.]

Gasshuku – [together lodge] “sleeping together.” In other words, an intensive learning experience of living together for some period of time, as if in a “lodge” or other dwelling, for the purposes of in-depth study.

Go no sen – [late-initiative] timing near the end of the attack.

Irimi – entering body (But the questions is, to enter where?) Ans. Shikaku, see below.

Kaeshi waza (technique) reversal (“return/turn around technique”) to reverse the technique which is being applied to one in order to send the energy “back to where it from.” [In some sources one may see this spelled with a “g” as in the technique of  kote gaeshi.]

Kagami-biraki — “opening the mirror.” This is the “first” or beginning training and ceremony of the New Year. In the Bozeman dojo training consists of a close look at the “seat of honor” (Kamiza), it’s contents, and the aikido training sequence performed every Saturday morning, 

Kamae – posture; stance

Kotai keiko – static/hard training. This is an interesting type of training which teaches a person how to respond to a “stiff” or static/stable training partner but, alternately, lacks flow in the movement experience.. When used in beginner’s classes this type of training quickly loses the interest of the beginning practitioner and therefor should not be emphasized. 

Misogi – purification rituals

Mitorigeiko or Mitori-no-geiko – [see-take-keiko] observation. While sitting attentively in the back of the dojo actively watching training, you are partaking in “learning by observation.” The student or guest would be thought of as not being polite or, even rude, if she or he took out a smart phone and started to use it.

Mizu no gyo – the practice of meditating under a waterfall

Muga [no-self] no ego nor sense of oneself within the practitioner.mugamae [no-posture] this is seen as a completely natural posture executed by the most expert practitioners of the budo arts. The displayed posture is the “no posture posture or, natural posture.

Mushin [no-mind] the “face” of the budo practitioner demonstrating this concept shows no thought nor emotion relating to expression. (Interestingly, from the Western viewpoint this “face” might or could be viewed as arrogance. But, it is not)

Nagare no keiko – flowing training. Much like yawarakai keiko the focus of this type of training is on the flow of the technique itself and not having a focus on hard-body nor soft-body training.

Onegai shimasu – please, I ask/beg “a favor” of you. Would you be so kind as to (in the context of the dojo) “train with me?” This is the Japanese phrase  used when giving a salutation at the beginning of an aikido training class. Or,  when requesting training with another individual in the dojo.

Okuri ashi – sending step; [from the position of the left foot forward] the leading foot (left) is moved forward first followed by the right foot, all the while still remaining in the same stance configuration–that is with the left foot finishing in the forward position.

Omote – front; an area in front of the “line of attack” or, in front of the person giving the attack. (This concept is excellent for use in a teaching/learning situation and will assist a new aikidoist in the classification of aikido technique.

Rasen –  [screw-rotation] movement done in the shape or as a corkscrew, a spiral shape.

Sen no sen – [early-initiative] timing near the beginning of the attack.

Sen sen no sen – [before the initiative] to have already “won” before the attack begins.

Shikaku – [dead angle] the “blind spot” located “within” an imaginary triangle in front of or behind the training partner’s foot positions.

Shisei – referring to the posture or “alignment” of the aikidoist. The “figure-strength” (shisei)  displays the strength of a practitioner’s character through his or her posture and alignment.

Shikko – knee go (walking on the knees from the kneeling position).

Shizentai – natural-body / natural posture

Suri ashi  [slide-foot] movement with sliding one’s feet across the mat.  

Tenkai – [revolve-around] to revolve/spin in place; to revolve directly around and in place without a stepping forward or a backward movement.

Tenkan – [revolve-convert] to turn or spin around the forward foot as the pivot point; convert; revolve;  divert

Tai no henko [body-change-renew] movements to change the practitioner’s  positions and/or stances in relationship to the training partner’s position/stance..

Taijutsu – body art (Not to be confused with tattooing); the arts of movement

Tai sabaki – body-handling  or bodywork

Tsugi ashi – continuous step; [from the position of the left foot forward] stepping the back (right) foot toward the front (left) foot and then moving the front (left) foot  forward with a continuous movement. This is a “stealing step” since it adjusts the physical distance (ma-ai) between the training partners but, is “unseen” from the uke’s position.

Ura – behind; to the rear of  the “line of attack” or, an area or movement toward the back or rear side of the person delivering the attack.  (It’s sometimes said that Ura — is the secret of aikido.)

Yamabiko – mountain echo. When performing the opening or closing ceremonies in many dojo(s), two (maybe four) claps are used to begin a training session. The first clap’s connotation signals the deities to awaken or, “pay attention,” while the second clap is the answer or, “echo”, coming from the deities. This second clap’s connotation is a response, from the deities, to the students to be attentive in their training since something important is about to commence.

Yawarakai keiko – flexible/soft training. This is one of the most important types of training and the one type of training which allows the practitioners to experience the whole movement pattern of the technique–both as giver and receiver of the movement pattern. From the perspective of the learner this type of training has an emphases in the ideal learning expereince.   

A thank you to Michael Hacker for his fine text, The Language of Aikido: A Practitioner’s Guide to Japanese Characters and Terminology. This text gives the “backdrop” to this section of the webpage, Dojo Japanese–Word of The Day. [See: Hacker, M. (2017). The Language of Aikido: A Practitioner’s Guide to Japanese Characters and Terminology.]