In writing this short note, my intention was to explain some basic, Japanese words, used in everyday training.

I preferred a freer translation of these words; in my opinion, these cannot be translated accurately (…) For example: Do you use different words for 真剣 Shinken and 鞘 Saya?

It is the same case with techniques like Nukitsuke, Furikaburi… The idea is very simple: I will write the kanji of the word and you can find out for yourself the meaning of it.

Take a look at the 水平 kanji: The first character from suihei “horizontal cut” means water and the second one means flat… for me this is a beautiful vision.

As another example, let's take a look at the words Reishiki, Reigi, Reihō  - all three can be translated as etiquette. But if you look closely at these words, you will realize that the first kanji 礼 REI (bow, ceremony, thanks) always remains the same, being followed by other 3 kanjis with small differences in order to create different meanings.

How would you translate KIAI気合 which - in our interpretation – is “scream”? The first kanji can be translated as “spirit, mind”, while the second one could be “fit, suit, join”. I tried to formulate this for myself as “fighting spirit“, but I am sure this is more than just a simple scream.


無雙天馬 Muso Tenma (Pawel Slawatycki)

Kata 型
抜付 / 抜き付け Nukitsuke
振りかぶり Furikaburi
切り下し Kirioroshi
血振り Chiburi, 大血振りOchiburi, 横血振り Yokochiburi
納刀 Nōtō
鞘離れ Sayabanare
鞘引き Sayabiki

Kamae 構え
中段の構え Chudan No Kamae
下段の構え Gedan No Kamae
上段の構え Jōdan No Kamae
八双の構え Hassō No Kamae
脇の構え Waki No Kamae

Cuts 切り
切り下ろし Kirioroshi
抜き打ち Nukiuchi
袈裟斬り Kesa Giri
切り上げ Kiri Age
逆袈裟 Gyaku Kesa
水平 Suihei
突き Tsuki
胴切り Dōgiri

Aite 相手 opponent
Hajime 始め start
Hantai 反対 reverse, opposite, vice versa
Waza 技 technique
Henka(waza) 変化(技) change, variation
Jiyu(waza) 自由(技) Free style
Kaeshi 返し Return, counter technique
Kae(waza) 替え(技) change, alteration
Kamae 構え posture, pose,
Katate 片手 one hand
Katsu Jin Ken 活人剣  „the sword that gives life“
Kiai 気合 „fighting spirit“
Kime 決め agreement, rule
Kumitachi 組太刀 Partner practice
Ma Ai 間合 distance
Mawatte 回って to turn
Metsuke 目付け correct use of the eyes
Rei Shiki 礼式 manners
Reigi 礼儀 etiquette
Reihō 礼法 etiquette, courtesy, manners
Seme 攻め attack, offence (Pushing)
Kōhai 後輩 Junior
Sempai 先輩 senior
Uchidachi 打太刀 (vs) Shidachi 仕太刀
Zanshin 残心  残 balance + 心spirit,mind