Budō Jiten − Martial Arts Dictionary
This dictionary is the result of my personal research to develop a martial arts vocabulary based on the living traditions of Ti, as taught by my teacher Onaga Yoshimitsu Kaichō at the Shinjinbukan School. Unauthorized reproduction, translation into other languages or sale of these materials constitutes a copyright violation.
Written by Jimmy Mora
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Lit. Mirror. In the Shinjibukan school the use of mirrors is extremely important for practicing kata, movement, and techniques.
Lit. Association. In the case of all Martial Arts, the words association or organization are written with the word kai. For example, the Shinjinbukan association is called Kokusai Shinjinbukan Karate Dō Kyōkai.
Kaichō (alt. kaichou, kaicho, kaichoo)
Lit. President or chairman. The title Kaichō is given to the president or chairman of a martial arts association or federation. For example, the current President of the Shinjinbukan International Association is Onaga Yoshimitsu Kaichō.
Lit. Company, corporation. All Japanese companies are also referred to as kaisha.
Lit. Heel of Foot.
Uchināguchi (Okinawan Dialect) Lit. Hooking Hand. Kaki Di is a typical Okinawa Ti technique executed with palms facing forward by using a circular hand motion that ends with the outer wrist hooking into the opponent's arm. The size and shape of the circular hand motion vary depending on the distance from the opponent’s arm and the technique that follows the Kaki Di. It is typically followed by a grip and a Keri from Neko Ashi; or it could be followed by tenshin combined with a tsuki to the ribs. One of the classic examples of Kaki Di appears in the opening move of Dai Ichi Kihon Gata, as well as in the opening move of Neko Ashi Tenshin (Kihon Gata).
Uchināguchi (Okinawan Dialect) Lit. To Hook. An ancient Ti tradition used to train with a partner. It utilizes circular hand motions and while maintaining arm contact, the wrist hooks into the opponent. Therefore, by learning to feel the opponent’s arm movement and by using pushing or pulling, an endless number of close combat techniques and counter techniques are possible. In the Shinjinbukan school, Kakie is always practiced from the jigotai stance, while keeping the waki closed (side of the body below the armpit). There are three general categories of Kakie: Hichi Gaki, Ushi Gaki & Hani Gaki.
Unfortunately, there are many misconceptions about Kakie among martial artists:
Misconception #1: Kakie is a simple exercise for timing and body conditioning.
Misconception #2: Kakie is a variation of Chinese push hands or sticky hand techniques.
Misconception #3: Kakie is only practiced in Gōjū Ryū and not in Shōrin Ryū styles.
Misconception #4: Kakie is a unique form of kumite.
Lit. Posture, pose or style. The arm and hand positions used for specific fighting techniques. They are also called ready position or on guard position. Traditionally these positions appear as opening moves in ancient kata.
Lit. God, gods, spirit, mind, soul. The name Shin-jin-bu-kan is made up of four kanji, or Chinese characters, out of which the first character could be pronounced "kami" or "shin". Furthermore, the opening statement of the Shinjinbukan precepts, or Dōjō Kun, reads: "Kami no Michi", which could be translated as "the Path of God", "Spiritual Path" or "Godly Path".
Kanchō (alt. kanchou, kancho, kanchoo)
Lit. Director, curator, superintendant. The title Kanchō is given to the master or head instructor of a martial art school. When the Shinjinbukan School was founded in Okinawa, the title Kanchō applied to Onaga Yoshimitsu, as its founder and first Head Instructor. Hence the Shinjinbukan Dōjō Kun (School's precepts) was written and signed as such. However, this title has now been passed down to his daughter Onaga Michiko Kanchō.
Lit. Han symbols or Chinese characters. The Japanese language has approximately 5,000 Chinese symbols, out of which 2,000 are commonly used, and close to 1,000 are learned in grade school. The word Kanji, pronounced Hanzi in Chinese (Pinyin spelling), refers to symbols that originated during the Han Dynasty, which ruled China from 206BC to AD220. And by the Chinese Golden Age, Tang (AD618-906) and Song (AD960-1279) Dynasties, the Chinese written language became the predominant one throughout East Asia. Hence, the written language of this period is known today as Classical Chinese, as it was used in literature, government official records, and religious texts through China, Japan, Korea, Okinawa, and other parts of southeast Asia. For example, all early historical records of the Ryūkyū Kingdom in Okinawa were written in Classical Chinese.
Lit. Face or expression.
karada wo wakeru hōhō
A method or process to divide or partition the body. The concept of dividing the body into sections by using different Kamae (Guarding Postures). Each Kamae divides the body into sections of different proportions. At the same time, each Kamae also creates an opening that invites the opponent's attack. These openings are based on the concepts of In and Yō. By following this approach we remain in control and able to lead any counter attack against our opponents.
Lit. Empty hand. Karate is a Martial Art, which originated in Okinawa, Japan, hundreds of years ago and then spread to mainland Japan and the rest of the world. Nowadays, there are many types of Karate: Okinawan Karate, Japanese Karate, Korean Karate, Olympic sports Karate, free-style Karate, etc…
Karate Dō (alt. Karate Dou, Karate Doo)
Lit. The way of the Empty hand. The name Karate Dō is a more formal and appropriate way to describe this martial art, rather than just using word karate by itself. This helps emphasize that path or the way of Karate.
Lit. The Karate practitioner. The title Karateka is reserved to martial artists devoted to the practice, study, teaching and constant improvement of their own Karate Dō. This title is reserved to Master instructors with many years of experience, who have already achieved busai, the maturity of their martial art age, and who have embodied a lifestyle around Karate. Even someone who has been training very hard for two, three, or five years should only be described as a Karate student, and not as a Karateka.
Lit. Mould, type, model, style, shape, data-type. A sequence of moves and fighting techniques arranged in a specific order. The concept of creating kata originated in China. Some kata are hundreds of years old and are part of the Martial Arts living tradition. In modern times, many new kata were created by each style. At the same time, ancient kata were renamed and/or recreated. Today many consider kata as simple exercises designed to provide physical and mental strength. However, in the Shinjinbukan School, Onaga Sensei defines kata as the shape or the outer physical form of Karate, and he emphasizes that kata are not Karate itself.
Onaga Sensei also teaches the analogy between Kata and Kanji (or Chinese symbols), which represent a meaning. First, you must learn the stroke orders of each symbol in order to write a well executed letter. If the stroke order or the shape of the Kanji were not accurate, the letter would not be legible. A Kata could be understood as a collection of Kanji or symbols, representing a message, a letter from ancient teachers. Like the Kanji, if the form or shape of the kata is incorrect, the meaning will be lost.
Lit. Training, practice or study.
Lit. Martial arts uniform. The proper name of the Karate uniform. In ancient times, no uniform was used during training.
keiko gi no kikata
Lit. Uniform wearing etiquette. Martial arts have specific rules on how to wear their uniforms.
Lit. Training method. The specific training method used by each style of Martial Art. The Shinjinbukan School’s curriculum, or keikohō, is based on all Ti principles taught by Onaga Yoshimitsu Kaichō.
kendō (alt. kendo, kendou)
Lit. The Way of The Sword. Kendō is a modern Japanese martial art based on kenjutsu (the traditional Japanese swordsmanship). However, Kendō is practiced with a shinai, which is a sword made up of four bamboo slats which are held together by leather or carbon fiber fittings. The shinai is meant to represent a Katana (a Japanese sword). In addition, a protective armor is used for competitions. Kendō practicioners are able to sparr with relative safety allowing them to incorporate elements of sports and more traditional strong martial arts. A Kendō practitioner is referred to as a Kendōka .
Lit. Quarrel or brawl, failure.
Lit. Foot strike. A keri, or foot strike, should not to be confused with a kick. There are two forms of keri in traditional Okinawan Karate: mae geri (frontal foot stike) and yoko geri (lateral foot strike). Mawashi geri (roundhouse kick) is considered a sports technique that is not part of the Okinawan martial arts tradition. However, in Okinawan Karate there are some knees strike techniques that could be simplified for sports karate and turned into mawashi geri.
ki o tsuke (alt. ki wo tsuke)
Lit. Posture, pose or style. This command is used during drills to bring the student to ready position or "position of attention". It could be executed at two different stances: musubi dachi or heisoku dachi. In most Karate styles, the arms are placed at the side of the legs, like a soldier. However, in the old Okinawan schools the arms will hang naturally at the center axis of body, covering the groin. It is generally followed by one of these commands: rei (bow), yoi (ready), kamae (on guard), hajime (begin execution), or naore (relax or end).
ki o tsukette (alt. ki wo tsukette)
Lit. Be careful, take care.
Lit. Scream, yell, fighting spirit. It refers to the shouts used by most Karate schools today. Most martial artists don’t have a clear understanding of why they use kiai (yelling). Its use originated from Kendo (Japanese fencing) and other military training and was later incorporated into Karate at the beginning of the 20th century. Hence, it is not part of Ti, nor an authentic Okinawan martial arts tradition. In the Shinjinbukan School we neither use Kiai, nor unnatural sounds, nor distorted face expressions, nor exaggerated breathing during any technique. On rare occasions, Shinjinbukan junior members are allowed to use kiai during a kata demonstration. Another exception could be to use kiai to demonstrate the proper breathing techniques, timing and duration of exhalation and inhalation. However, all external sounds are dropped all together as soon as the proper breathing is understood by the student.
Lit. Foundation, basis, standard. The foundation, the basics, the building blocks of a Martial Arts systems. In the Shinjinbukan School, all kihon drills are constantly practiced and are focused on the three basic elements of the System: Tsuki (hand strike), Keri (foot strike), Tenshin (changing direction or movement) .
kihon gata (alt. kihongata)
Lit. Basic form. The word Gata is a phonetic variation used to soften and to connect the word Kihon and Kata. In Japanese, it sounds better to say Kihon Gata, rather than Kihon Kata.
A Kihon Gata is a Basic Kata or Basic Form used to teach the foundations of a Karate style. It follows a flexible structure with improvisational quality, which contrast the set structure of a normal Kata (Form) made up of many complex moves. A Kihon Gata is made up of multiple parts or sections that could be added or omitted as needed. Each section contains a simple combination of techniques moving forward and another simple combination of techniques retreating back.
The two patterns, moving forward and retreating, are repeated as many times as desired by the teacher, senpai or individual practitioner. During demonstrations (enbu) or testings, the entire Kihon Gata should be performed as one entity connecting from one section to the next and from one combination to the next.
kirei (alt. kihongata)
Lit. Beautiful, pretty, clean. Kirei is the second stage of the learning process used by the Shinjinbukan School. Based on this principle, every new process MUST be learned with beauty of movement, while maintaining the other principles of the learning processs. If the body goes stiff the beauty of movement can not be developed. The Kirei quality is essential to all body movements: basic techniques, body displacement, kata, machiwara training, etc.
Lit. Exchange, conversion, replacement, to switch. Kirikai is the method used to change hands or switch sides upon contact with an opponent. In the Shinjinbukan School, kirikae drills are used to develop the understanding of In and Yō. Therefore, it could be considered a method for understanding and learning the applications of Iri Kumi.
Lit. Conditioning Method. This is a general term used to describe many different types of conditioning drills to develop resistance towards receiving a strike. There is a wide range of Kitae Gata exercises used in many Martial Arts. There are conditioning exercises for the arms, legs, chest, abdomen, etc. Unfortunately, many martial artists misunderstand these conditioning drills to the point of engaging in extremely brutal sessions with their training partners.
The proper Kitae Gata training should be done under the supervision of an instructor keeping in mind safety at all times. The intensity of each strike begins at a comfortable level for each partner, gradually increasing the intensity. During these drills, muscle relaxation and proper breathing are essential. In the Shinjinbukan School, the use of tenshin changes the entire feel and level of these conditioning drills.
There are several scientific theories that deal with the benefits of conditioning the bones through loading (using external pressure or force), such as the following:
Kobayashi Ryū (alt. Kobayashi Ryuu, Kobayashi Ryu)
Lit. The small forest style. A Shōrin Ryū lineage and the oldest style of Karate founded by Chibana Chōshin Sensei. Hence, it is referred as Chibana Ha. It is also known as Kobayashi Ryū, because Chibana Sensei used the characters 小林流, which could be pronounced either Shōrin Ryū or Kobayashi Ryū. In addition, other schools write Shōrin Ryū with different characters, which helps distinguish different lineages. The Shinjinbukan School carries the tradition of the Kobayashi Ryū lineage started by Chibana Chōshin Sensei.
Kobudō (alt. kobudou, kobudo)
Lit. The ancient martial way. In general, this term could apply to any ancient martial art. It is commonly used to refer to the Okinawan weapon systems, also known as Kobujutsu.
Lit. Ancient combat art. It is commonly used to refer to the Okinawan weapon systems, also known as Kobudō. There are two main weapon styles in Okinawa: Ryūkyū Kobudō and Okinawa Kobudō.
Kōdōkan (alt. koudoukan, kodokan)
Lit. The Hall dedicated to learn, prove and practice the principle. The birthplace of Judō founded in 1882 by Master Kanō Jigorō. Today Kōdōkan is the Judō World Headquarters, located in Tokyo. At age 22, Kanō Jigorō started Kōdōkan with only nine students and twelve floor mats. The training hall was located inside the Eishoji Temple. Over time, different schools of Jujutsu were integrated into Judō. See Judō , Jūjutsu
kōhai (alt. kouhai, kohai)
Lit. Junior rank (social status at work, school or family). In Asian cultures the use of a rank structure is very important across all aspects of society. This is quite evident in business settings, classrooms and in traditional arts. The senpai (senior) and the kōhai (junior) have clear roles and duties. This is quite evident in traditional Martial Arts schools. The senpai has a duty of guiding, teaching and leading the kōhai, while the kōhai has the duty of obeying, following and supporting the senpai. For example, the kōhai students performs most of the cleaning duties or and chores in Dōjō. In the Shinjinbukan School, the social interaction among kōhai, senpai and Sensei follows the rules of etiquette or reigi sahō.
Lit. Mind, heart, spirit.
Lit. Back Leaning Stance. It is also known as Back Stance. Kokutsu dachi is basically the same stance as zenkutsu dachi (front stance), with the body orientated to the opposite side (back). Both kokutsu dachi and zenkutsu dachi work together as a set by rotating from the body's center axis. It is commonly used for basic combinations of uke, tsuki and keri drills.
kokyū (alt. kokyuu, kokyu)
Lit. Breath, respiration. See Dontohō
kokyūhō (alt. kokyuuhou, kokyuho)
Lit. Breathing techniques, breath control. See Dontohō
konbanwa (alt. konnichiha)
Lit. Good evening. This is the formal nighttime greeting.
konnichiwa (alt. konnichiha)
Lit. Good day. This is the formal daytime greeting.
Lit. Hip. There are three generic definitions of Koshi taught at the Shinjinbukan School. The first definition of Koshi refers to the hip joint: the ball and socket joint at the juncture of the femur (thighbone) and the acetabulum (a cup-shaped socket in the pelvis). Therefore, the "Koshi/Hip Joint Mechanism" refers to body mechanics used to create a more effective motion of the hip joint area.
Lit. Hip. The second definition of Koshi refers to the "Koshi as the Core Mechanism" that integrates all the mid section of the body by generating a unique multi-directional control of the core and its relationship to the body's center of gravity. For example, these types of koshi are quite evident during several parts of Shinjinbukan training: kakie, chishi, or hip joint warm-up exercises. The "Koshi/Core Mechanism" taught by Onaga Yoshimitsu Kaichō is a small part of a complete system of body mechanics based on Ti. These body mechanics are significantly different than those used by other Karate styles and Martial Arts in general.
Lit. Hip. The third definition of Koshi refers to the "Koshi as the Tsuki, Keri, Tenshin Mechanism". This mechanism is based on the motion of the hips, body core, head, shoulders, etc., in order to increase the power and efficiency of every tsuki (hand strike), keri (foot strike) and tenshin (body displacement or movement). This "Koshi/Tsuki, Keri, Tenshin Mechanism" as taught by Onaga Yoshimitsu Kaichō, is the product of an evolution within Okinawa Ti and it is only a small part of a complete system of body mechanics. In the Okinawan dialect, these teachniques are often refered as "Gamaku" or "Kushi Jikke".
Lit. Retreat, Backspace. This command is used during drills to indicate retreat or move back. In the Shinjinbukan School, we do no have the concept of moving back and forth. According to Onaga Kaichō, "Our bodies do not move back and forth, but left or right." The reasoning behind this approach is that we do not have four legs. We do not have front or back legs, only left and right legs.
Lit. Alternate, change, shift. This command is used change the flank or side of the body which leads the movement or executes the technique. For example, switching between keri with the left or the right leg. In the Shinjinbukan School, we use several techniques to switch flanks: mae no ten and ushiro no ten.
Lit. Forearm conditioning. This is a general term used to describe many different types of conditioning drills to develop resistance in the forearms. Kote Kitae drills are based on striking different uke (blocks) against a training partner or a target such as a wooden stick, a padded target, etc. In the Shinjinbukan School, the use of tenshin changes the entire feel and level of Kote Kitae.
Kūsankū (alt. Kusanku)
A set of two Katas from the Shuri Ti tradition practiced by all Shōrin Ryū styles and part of the Shinjinbukan curriculum: Kūsankū Dai and Kūsankū Shō. In Japanese Karate this kata is called Kanku.
Kūsankū Dai (alt. Kuusankuu Dai, Kusanku Dai)
Lit. The Large Kūsankū. The "greater" of the two Kūsankū Katas from the Shuri Ti tradition practiced by all Shōrin Ryū styles and part of the Shinjinbukan curriculum.
Kūsankū Shō (alt. Kuusankuu Shou, Kusanku Sho)
Lit. The small Kūsankū. The "lesser" of the two Kūsankū Katas from the Shuri Ti tradition practiced by all Shōrin Ryū styles and part of the Shinjinbukan curriculum.
Kyōshi (alt. kyoushi, kyoshi)
Lit. A refined, polished samurai teacher. Nowadays, Japanese traditional martial arts use the titles Renshi, Kyōshi and Hanshi, which are equivalent to senior instructor ranks. These tittles were first used by the Samurai warrior. Kyōshi is the second highest of the three instructor ranks. It is usually held by a Nana Dan (7th Dan) or a Hachi Dan (8th Dan).
kyū (1) (alt. kyuu, kyu)
Lit. Rank. It refers to all the junior ranks below black belt. There are 10 kyū ranks, which start from 10th kyū all the way up to 1st kyū. Each school of martial art has a different convention on which color belt is assigned to a each kyū rank. However, the concept of having ten junior ranks below black belt is consistent in most martial arts, regardless of the belts’ color.
Kyū Dan (alt. kyuudan, kyūdan, kyudan, kyu-dan)
Kyū Kyū (alt. kyuukyuu, kyūkyū, kyukyu, kyu-kyū)
Lit. Ninth level or rank. It refers to the ninth rank level below black belt.
Kyūdōkan (alt. Kyuudoukan, Kyudokan)
Lit. The hall for the research of the way. A Shōrin Ryū School founded by Higa Yuchoku Dai Sensei.
kyūshin (alt. kyuushin, kyushin)
Lit. Centripetal. An object in circular motion requires a constant force pushing it toward the center of its circular path. This force is called the centripetal or center seeking force. The study of Ti deals with body body and body mechanics. Therefore, it is necessary to develop a scientific understanding of the human body's balance, structure and motion.
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Shibu Chō: Jimmy Mora, Renshi, Roku Dan (6th Dan) ∙ © 2016 Shinjinbukan Foundation
Shinjinbukan.com is a free resource sponsored by the Shinjinbukan Foundation. The statements on this site represent my own personal understanding of Onaga Yoshimitsu Kaichō's teachings. Therefore, I do not claim to speak on his behalf. As one more of his students, I am eager to share his living and oral traditions. Jimmy Mora