Aite- Opponent or training partner
Ashi-sabaki- Footwork to attack smoothly or avoid a swiftly striking opponent.
Ayumi ashi- A type of ashi-sabaki. This footwork is basically normal walking step. Should be performed using suriashi.
Bokuto- wooden sword used for kendo kata
Bogu- armor worn in kendo also known as kendogu.
Budo- Martial arts.
Chakuso- The putting on of dogi, hakama, kendogu, etc. and the appearance created by putting them on.
Chigiri- Small metal plate inside shinai to hold pieces in alignment.
Chikai ma ai- (chikama) A distance closer than issoko itto no maai.
Choyaku suburi- A way of practicing swinging the shinai that involves continuously jumping forward and backward.
Chudan no kamae- One of the postures. Standing upright, the right foot is slightly forward and front of left foot is placed in line with right heel. The shinai is held with the right hand just below the tsuba, the left hand is at the tsuka-gashira, which is positioned in the center of the body with the tsuka-gashira pointed just below the navel. The extension of the kensen should point at the level of the opponents eyes.
Chushin- The center, in kendo the centerline of the opponent. Also refers to the x that marks the middle of the shiai-jo.
Daito- longer of two shinai used in nito kendo.
Datotsu- A strike.
Datotsu bu- The striking part of the shinai.
Datotsu bui- Striking target of kendo (Do, Men, Kote, Tsuki).
Debana waza- Waza where one strikes the moment the opponent is about to strike.
Degeiko- Going to other dojos for practice outside your home dojo.
Dô- Piece of bogu that protects the torso. Also the name of a strike target in kendo (dô-bui).
Dôgi- top part of kendo uniform that is typically made of thick quilted cotton.
Dô uchi- The act of striking the Dô.
En- The relationship between a player and their opponent in keiko or shiai. It is important not to sever this connection.
Enbu- A public demonstration of kendo.
Enzan no metsuke- To take in your opponent in their entirety and not focus on a single point as if looking at a far mountain.
Fudô-shin- A state of mind which is not distracted or fixed upon anything and is able to respond to changing situations.
Fumi-kiru- To kick forcefully off the floor so that the body moves quickly. In kendo the foot which kicks off the floor when moving the body is called the fumi-kiri-ashi. The motion of kicking forcefully off the floor with the fumi-kiri-ashi is called the fumi-kiri-dôsa. Fumi-kiri is the noun form.
Fumi-komu- To stamp on the floor with the front foot so as to move the body stably when striking. The foot which stamps the floor with the entire sole is called the fumi-komi-ashi. Fumi-komi is the noun form.
Fukushin- associate referees in a match
Fukushō- second to last player in a team match
Furi-kaburi- big movement swing of the shinai above one’s head
Gōgi- referee’s conference during a match, held in the center of the court
Hachimaki- thin cotton towel worn on the head under the men (see tenugui)
Hai- “yes” (used to answer when called)
Hakama- kendo clothing worn on the lower part of the body, a long divided skirt-like trousers
Hansoku- match foul, results in one half-point against the offending player
Hansoku ikkai- “first hansoku”
Hansoku nikai, ippon ari- “second hansoku, one point” (awarded to the opponent of the offending player)
Hantei- referees’ decision of the winner of a match
Hasuji- cutting path of the sword (angle of cut)
Haya suburi- fast suburi, one count per backward step plus foward strike
Hikiwake- match draw
Hiraki-ashi- footwork used when the body is moving diagonally (front foot is same side as forward shoulder)
Igi- formal protest in a match, registered by a team manager
Ippon gachi- a match decided by one point, due to time running out in sanbon-shobu
Ippon shōbu- one point match (first person to score wins)
Issoku-ittō-no-maai- distance from which one can strike in one step
Jihō- second player in a team match
Ji-keiko- free practice
Jodan-no-kamae- kamae with the shinai above the head, with the left hand above the forehead
Jōgai- stepping out of bounds (this is a hansoku)
Kachinuki- a method of conducting matches in which the winner remains and keeps fighting until defeated
Kaishi-sen- starting line in the court
Kakari-geiko- attack practice
Kamae- basic stance; ready position
Kamae-te- command to assume kamae
Kantoku- team manager
Keiko- practice, training
Keiko-gi- kendo clothing worn on the upper part of the body, traditionally cotton woven material. Also referred to as kendogi or dogi
Kensen- the tip of the shinai or sword
Kiai- a shout or yell to show spirit
Kigurai- confidence, presence, bearing
Kihon-dōsa- basic exercises, including uchi-kata and suburi
Kiri-kaeshi- basic exercise in which the sides of the men are struck repeatedly, typically in sets of a straight men followed by 4 strikes forward and 5 strikes backward
Kiritsu- “stand up”
Kōdansha- one with a high dan rank, typically 5th dan (godan) or higher
Kōtai- change places, alternate
Kote- kendo armor used to protect the hand, wrist, and forearm
Kote ari- awarding of the kote point in a match
Kyū- ranking system for pre-Dan levels
Ma-ai- distance between opponents
Massugu- straight, linear
Mawari-geiko- rotation keiko
Mejirushi- red or white tag tied to the crossed do strings on the back, used to distinguish the players in a match (also referred to as tasuki)
Men- kendo armor to protect the face, head, and shoulders
Men ari- awarding of the men point in a match
Men-no-uchi, sankyodo- “basic men strike, three count movements” (1=raise shinai, 2=strike, moving forward, 3=step back)
Men-o-tore- “take off the men”
Men-o-tsuke- “put on the men”
Metsuke- use of the eyes to see the opponent, see basic concepts
Mokusō- meditation performed in the seiza position, see basic concepts
Monouchi- the region of the shinai most effective for striking, located between the tip and the nakayui
Motodachi- person being struck to provide instruction
Nakayui- thin strip of leather tied around the shinai about one third down from the tip
Nafuda- name tag worn on the center of the tare (sometimes called a zekken)
Nihon me- “Second point” (continues sanbon-shobu after one player has scored the first point of the match)
Nuke-tō- draw the sword (shinai)
Okuri-ashi- the most basic footwork used in kendo, where the feet start and end in the basic kamae position with the right foot in front and the toes of the left foot even with the line of the right heel
Onegai shimasu- I request the favor (of a practice)” (said when beginning keiko with a more senior kenshi)
Osame-tō- return the sword (shinai)
Rei-gi- matters of etiquette
Rei-hō- doctrines of etiquette, see basic concepts and shiai
Ritsu-rei- standing bow
Sanbon shōbu three point match (first person to score two points wins)
Sage-tō the posture taken when performing ritsu-rei, with the shinai held in the left hand with the arm hanging naturally at the side. The tsuru faces downward and the hand next to the tsuba.
Sakigawa- leather covering tip of shinai
Sayū-men- the right and left striking zones of the men
Seiretsu- “make a line”
Seiza- seated attention position
Seme- pressure applied to one’s opponent
Senpō- first player in a team match
Sensei- instructor, usually with rank 4th dan (yondan) or higher
Shiai-geiko- match practice
Shiai-jikan- match time limit
Shiai-jō- court, typically about 11 meters square
Shinai- bamboo sword used in kendo
Shinai-otoshi- losing control of the shinai (this is a hansoku)
Shin-kokyū- deep breathing exercise
Shinpan- judge; referee
Shinpan-chō- head judge
Shinpan-shunin- court judge
Shinsa- promotional examination
Shizentai- natural standing position
Shōbu- “Match” (continues sanbon shobu after each player has one point)
Shōbu ari- “Match done” (announces the end of the match)
Shōmen- the side of the dojo or hall farthest from the main entrance, the side having the highest place of honor
Shōmen-uchi- a strike to the center of the men
Shūgō- gathering, meeting
Shushin- chief referee (makes the match pronouncements)
Sonkyo- the crouching position in which begins and ends each bout
Suburi- basic exercise which simulates striking the men repeatedly, performed without an opponent
Suburi-ikkyodo- one-count suburi (alternate striking forward and backward on each count)
Suburi-nikyodo- two-count suburi (raise the shinai on the odd count; strike on the even count, alternating the going forward and backward and each strike)
Suigetsu- solar plexus
Suriage- deflecting the opponent’s shinai using a circular, sliding motion
Suri-ashi- footwork in which the feet do not lose contact with the floor
Taiatari- hitting with the body
Taishō- last player in a team match (captain)
Taito- holding the shinai at the left hip, ready to draw. The tsuka-gashira should be in front of the center of the body.
Tanden- a point located slightly below the navel in the center of the lower abdomen, considered to be the body’s center of mass
Tare- kendo armor to protect the waist, groin, and upper legs
Te-no-uchi- the usage of the hands to tighten/loosen the grip on the shinai or adjusting the balance between the hands when striking or responding
Tenugui- same as hachimaki
Tsuba- circular guard on the shinai
Tsuba-zeriai- the position in which the opponents are close to each other with tsuba or fists together
Tsuka- the handle of the shinai
Tsuka-gashira- the very end (bottom) of the tsuka
Tsukidare- flap on the men which protects the throat
Tsuki ari- “tsuki” (awarding of the tsuki point)
Tsuru- the string which runs along the top of the shinai and connects the tsuka, nakayui, and sakigawa
Uchikomi-geiko- practice striking the basic points on the motodachi
Wakare-during keiko- command during during shiai meaning for opponents to separate (timer does not stop)
Yudansha- kendoist with a rank of 1st dan (shodan) or higher
Yūkō datotsu- valid point
Zanshin- mental and physical presence of spirit, especially after completing an attack