Japanese Words in Aikido

It drives me nuts to not understand what’s being said. Even worse, to use words I don’t understand, repeating them by rote. So I’ve tried my best to make sense of the terminology around Aikido. In most cases the explanations I give will simply be my own understanding of the meanings, tricks I use for remembering them, etc.

Disclaimer: These posts are as accurate as I can make them, but all are informally based on my own very limited understanding. I will try to give some indication of how sure I am of what I’m saying, and if I’m just plain wrong please tell me so (and if appropriate I’ll go back and correct things). Any pronunciation tips I give will only be for how I’ve heard them spoken in the context of training, not The Correct Japanese Pronunciation. In no case should anything in these posts be considered authoritative. I do hope it will be helpful, though!

When I know of solid sources of information I point those out. There are a few very good books, websites, and podcasts, both for learning Aikido-specific terminology, and for learning to speak Japanese. If you want to go deeper, please take advantage of them.

Here is a list of shortcuts to my blog posts about some of the Japanese words we use at the dojo:

Want to go deeper?

Book cover: The Language of Aikido: A Practitioner's Guide to Japanese Characters and Terminology, by Michael Hacker
In addition to reading my handy introductions, quick reference pieces, and overviews here, every student of Aikido should have this excellent, in-depth book: The Language of Aikido: A Practitioner’s Guide to Japanese Characters and Terminology, by my linguist friend Michael Hacker. Consider getting an extra copy for your dojo library, too.

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