Budo Glossary

Your guide to the Budo vocabulary

This page will provide you with translations and explanations to the different words used in our Mugai Ryu Iaido Online Course.


Budo 武道Japanese martial arts
Iaido 居合道Art of drawing the sword
Kaiso 開祖Founder of a Ryuha; In case of Mugai Ryu: Tsuji Gettan Sukemochi
Kenjutsu 剣術Art of handling the sword, mostly referred to as with an opponent or partner
Koryu 古流Old japanese martial arts styles, founded before 1868
Ryhuha 流派Style of martial arts, mostly in the context of Koryu
Sensei 先生Teacher; Master
Soke 宗家Headmaster of a Ryuha

Dojo 道場 – Hall used for training

Bashochō 場所著Leader of the training, substitute to Shibuchō or Kaichō
Kai 会Association
Kaichō 会長Head of the association
Kamiza 神座Place where there is a god or spirit; Place containing the sacred object of a shrine
Shibu 支部Branch of a Kai
Shibuchō 支部長Head or leader of a Shibu
Shomen 正面Front Wall of the Dojo; Side of the Teacher

Reishiki 例式 – Etiquette

Gorei 御礼Ceremony before and after Training
Dojo ni Rei 道場に礼Paying respect to the Dojo (by bowing on entering or leaving the Dojo)
Seiza 正座(lit. „Correct sitting“) kneeling with the tops of the feet flat on the floor, sitting on the heels, back upright
Sensei ni Rei 先生に礼Paying respect to the teacher (by bowing)
Shomen ni Rei 正面に礼Paying respect to the front dojo wall (metaphorically „the ancestors, or predecessors“)
Tōrei 刀礼Paying respect to the sword (ceremony for bowing to the sword before and after practice)

Commands and procedure of Go Rei

„Seiretsu“ 整列„Line up!“ behind the teacher facing Shomen
„Chakuza“ 着座„Sit!“ In Seiza
„Mokuso“ 黙想„Sit quietly!“ brief meditation sequence with closed eyes 
„Kai Moku“ 皆黙„Enough!“ end of meditation/enough
„Shomen ni Rei“ 正面に礼„Bow to Shomen!“
Teacher turns, facing the group
„Sensei ni Rei“ 先生に礼 „Bow to the teacher!“ (calling out “O negai shimazu!” at start/ “Arigatou goseimashita!” at end)
„Otagai ni Rei“ お互い礼„Bow to each other!“ (calling out “O negai shimazu!” at start/ “Arigatou goseimashita!” at end)

Keiko 稽古 – Practicing

Waza 技 – Techniques

Kiru 切る – Cutting

Gyakku Kesa Giri 逆袈裟切りDiagonal cut from below (45°)
Kessa Giri 袈裟斬りDiagonal cut from above (30°)
Makko Giri 真向斬りVertical cut from above
Nukiuchi 抜き打ちDrawing and cutting in one motion
Suihe, Yokoichi Monji 水平Horizontal cut on heart level
Tsuki 突きThrust

Forms of Training

Kata 形Established form
Kihon 基本Basic (form)
Kumitachi 組太刀Meeting of the swords (partnered training)
Suburi 素振りPractice swings of the cuts
Tameshigiri 試し切りCutting test

Elements of Kata

(Seichusen de) Katana otoru 正中線Brining the Katana to the centerline
Saya wo hiku hajimeru さやを引く始め る Start pulling back the Saya
Saya biki 鞘引くPulling back the Saya
Taisabaki 体捌き(defensive) Body movement
Nukiuchi 抜打Drawing the sword and cutting in one motion
Nuki Tsuke 抜き付けDrawing of the sword and performing the first cut
Kiri Tsuke 霧付けFurther cuts
Furikaburi 振り頭Brining the sword above the head in preparation for a cut from above
Todome wo sassu 敵を倒すKilling the opponent
Tekizuke 敵続く Following the opponent (Kissaki sinks down)
Zanshin 残心State of relaxed alertness
Chiburi 血振るいShaking the blood off the blade
Noto 納刀Resheathing the Katana
Toei Yama no miru 遠山の観るLooking at the remote mountain (also Enzan no metsuke)
Metsuke 目付(Direction of) Gaze

Defensive Prinzipals

Ukedome 受け止Stopping the attack (Block)
Ukenagashi 受流Deflect the attack
Ukegaeshi 受け返Throwing the attack back

Kamae 構え – Combat Posture

Chūdan no kamae 中段の構Katana to the front (also Hira Seigon no Kamae)
Gedan no kamae下段の構Katana to the front, tilted downwards
Hassō-no-kamae 八相の構 Katana next to the head, tilted 30° to the back
Jōdan-no-kamae 上段の構 Katana above the head, tilted 45° backwards
Waki Gamae 脇構Sword on the side pointing backwards, slightly down


Hadagi 肌着Under shirt
Hakama 袴Formal pleated divided skirt
Keikogi 稽古着Training jacket
Obi 帯Sash, holding the Gi and for carrying the sword
Tabi 足袋Split toe socks


Bokken/Bokutō 木刀Wooden (training) sword
Dai Shō 大小„Big“ and „Small“ (applies to the sword Pair of Katana and Wakizashi, carried by Samurai)
Iaitō 居合い刀Trainingsword, unsharpened (usually aluminium/zinc alloy)
Katana 刀Sword
Nihontō 日本刀Japanese Sword
Tachi 太刀Longsword (predecessor of Katana)
Wakizashi  脇差Short sword
Shin Ken 真剣Real (sharp) sword
Tantō 短刀Dagger
Tatami omote 畳表Upper layer of mats from Igusa-gras for cutting test (Tameshigiri)

Sword Parts

Bō-hi 棒樋Groove on the sides of a blade to reduce weight; creating a swooshing sound during cuts, when the blade alignment is correct
Fuchi 縁Metal collar around the the Tsuka beneath the Tsuba
Ha 刃Cutting edge of a blade
Habaki 鎺Metal collar around the base of the Blade fitting the blade tightly in the Saya
Hamachi 刃区End of the Ha, dividing the blade from the Nakago
Hamon 刃文Temper-line on a differentially hardened blade
Kashira 頭End cap of the Tsuka
Kissaki 切先Point of the blade
Koiguchi 鯉口Mouth of the Saya
Kojiri 鐺End of the Saya, sometimes a decorative cap
Kurigata 栗形Knob on the side of the Saya for attaching the Sageo
Mekugi 目釘Small peg for securing the Tsuka to the Nakago
Mekugi-ana 目釘穴The hole(s) in the Tsuka and Nakago for the Mekugi
Menuki 目貫Metal ornaments on the Tsuka
Mihaba 身幅Blade width from Ha to Mune
Monouchi 物打Part of the blade mostly used for cutting (roughly the first third from the Kissaki)
Mune 棟Back of the sword
Munemachi 棟区End of the Mune, dividing the blade from the Nakago
Nakago 茎Tang
Nagasa 長さBlade length from Kissaki to Munemachi
Sageo 下げ緒Cord used to tie Saya to the Obi when worn
Same-kawa (samegawa) 鮫皮Ray or shark skin wrapping of the Tsuka
Saya 鞘Scabbard; traditionally from lacquered wood
Seppa 切羽Washers above and below the Tsuba to tighten the fittings
Shinogi 鎬Ridge along the side of the blade
Sori 反りCurvature of the sword
Tsuba 鍔 or 鐔Hand guard
Tsuka 柄Hilt
Tsuka-maki 柄巻Wrapping of the Tsuka
Tsuka-ito 柄糸Cord for wrapping the Tsuka; usually silk, cotton or sometimes leather


General Directions

Gyakku 逆reversed
Hidari 左left
Mae 前front/foreward
Migi 右right
Ushiro 後ろback(wards)
Yoko 横side


Ichi 一1
Ni 二2
San 三3
Shi / Yon 四4
Go 五5
Roku 六6
Shichi / Nana 七7
Hachi 八8
Kyuu 九9
Juu 十10

Useful Expressions

“Arigatou gozaimashita.” ありがとございいます“Thank you very much.”
“Konbanwa.” こんばんは“Good evening.”
“Konnichiwa.” こんにちわ“Hello.”
“Ohayō.” おはよう“Good morning.”
“O negai Shimasu.” おねがいします“Please (teach me).”
“Oyasumi.” おやすみ “Good night.”
“Sayonara.” さよなら“Good bye.”
“Sumimasen.” すみません”Excuse me.”