Helpful Resources

Featured on this page are a short list of Japanese terminology you are likely to hear during practice, as well as an example of an average class structure. There is also a link to the USAF test requirements to achieve each rank. These are listed here for the convenience of those who wish to use them, but are by no means required knowledge to attend class.

Common Aikido Terms

Onegaishimasu [O-nah-GUY-she-mas]: Spoken when starting class and means “Please” in the context of asking for something, usually as in “Please let’s practice together”.

Domo arigato gozaimas’ta [DOE-mo Ah-REE-Gah-Toe Go-ZYE-Moss-Tah]: Spoken at the end of class and means “Thank you very much” for something that has just ended. Very formal.

Domo [DOE-mo]: Means “Thanks” and is informal, usually used in thanking a partner for practicing with you.

Sensei [sen-say]: Teacher. Usually referring to the person instructing the class.

Nage [NAH-geh]: The defender/person doing the technique.

Uke [OO-kay]: The attacker/person on whom the technique is being done.

Seiza [say-za]: Kneeling.

Rei [ree]: A bow, showing respect towards someone.

Common Attacks
Katate toriKAH-TAH-teh toe-reeOne hand grabbing one hand/wrist
Morote toriMOH-ROW-teh toe-reeTwo hands grabbing one hand/wrist
Kata toriKAH-TAH toe-reeOne hand one lapel grab
Mune toriMOON-ee toe-reeOne hand two lapel grab
Ryo kata toriREE-oh KAH-TAH toe-reeGrabbing both shoulders
Ryote toriREE-oh-teh toe-reeTwo hands grabbing two hands/wrists
Ushiro tekubi toriOO-SHE-ro te-COO-bee
One hand grabbing one hand/wrist from behind
Ushiro ryote toriOO-SHE-ro REE-oh-teh
Two hands grabbing two hands/wrists from behind
Ushiro ryo kata toriOO-SHE-ro REE-oh KAH-TAH toe-reeGrabbing both shoulders from behind
Ushiro kubi shimeOO-SHE-ro COO-bee she-mayOne hand grabbing one hand/wrist, other arm choking from behind
Shomen uchiSHOW-men OO-cheeOverhead strike (chop) to top of head
Yokomen uchiYO-KO-men OO-cheeOverhead strike (chop) to side of head
TsukiSKIStraight thrust (punch) to head or chest
Kata tori men uchiKAH-TAH toe-ree men
One hand grab shoulder, other hand strike to head/face
Basic Movements

Tenkan [ten-can]: A 180 degree turn, the forward foot foot remains planted and the back foot rotates/spins backwards until the person is facing the opposite direction of when they started.

Irimi [EE-rim-ee]: A slide or step forward and slightly at an angle.

Irimi Tenkan [EE-rim-ee ten-can]: A combination of Irimi followed by Tenkan.

Tenshin [ten-shin]: A slide or step backward and slightly at an angle.

Ushiro Ukemi [OO-she-RO OO-kay-me]: A backwards roll.

Mae Ukemi [my OO-kay-me]: A forwards roll.

Usual Class Structure

The content and techniques taught in a given Aikido practice will vary, but the overall structure of the class is consistent. The stucture of an average class with The Aikido Institute of Newfoundland is as follows:

Members will arrive and get ready to practice in advance of 7:30pm, when class starts. All will gather on or around the mat before then.

At 7:30pm, the instructor (Sensei) for the class will clap their hands. This is the cue for all members to kneel on the mat silently. The order in which members position themselves on the mat is based on rank seniority, with the furthest left in the line being the highest rank and the furthest right being the lowest. The Sensei will then take up position towards the middle of the mat and will first bow to a photo of O’Sensei, the founder of Aikido, and will then turn and bow to the class. At this point, everyone will say Onegaishimasu as a sign of respect to one another.

Members will then spread out across the mat in order to have space to stretch and warm-up for the class, guided by the Sensei. Once this is completed, the Sensei will clap their hands again and pick one person (The Uke) to help demonstrate the first technique. Everyone but this individual must kneel on the edge of the mat once more while the technique is demonstrated. The order in which members position themselves at this point is irrelevant. After demonstrating the technique a number of times, the Sensei will bow to their Uke at which point all members of the class pair up and practice the technique which has just been shown. This technique will continue to be practiced until the Sensei claps their hands, at which point all but the selected Uke must kneel once again to observe the new technique. This pattern will be repeated for the duration of the class.

Once the class time is up, the Sensei will clap their hands and kneel in the same position they started class in. Likewise, all practitioners must kneel in order of seniority as they did at the beginning of class. The Sensei will then bow to the photo of O’Sensei, turn and bow to the class. At this point everyone bows with them and says Domo arigato gozaimas’ta, then clap as the Sensei walks off the mat. Upon reaching the edge of the mat, the Sensei will kneel, bow to O’Sensei once more, and then to the class again at which point all members bow to each other and leave the mat. Class has now concluded.

Please Note: While punctuality is important in order to get the most out of practice and avoid interrupting the class, if for any reason you are late you must be welcomed onto the mat by the Sensei. Stand at the edge of the mat, and wait for the Sensei to bow to you before stepping onto the mat and joining the class.

USAF Kyu/Dan test Requirements 2024