Southern California
Kendo Federation


Basic Vocabulary

Japanese English
ashi sabaki footwork
chakuza command to sit down on the floor from a standing position
dan ranking system for advanced levels (1=lowest, 10=highest); equivalent to black belt in other martial arts
datotsu no kikai chance of strike
ippon shoubu one point match (first person to score wins)
jiyuu keiko free practice
hansoku foul
hantei referees' decision as to the winner of a match
kakari geiko attack practice
kamae basic stance or posture
kata standardized series of predetermined attacks and responses
keiko practice
kensen presence and power in the tip of the shinai
kenshi kendoist
kiai a shout or yell
kigurai poise, confidence
kihon basics
kime striking with decisiveness and conviction
kirikaeshi basic exercise in which the sides of the men are struck repeatedly
koudansha kendoists with rank 5th dan (godan) or higher
kyuu ranking system for beginning levels (6=lowest, 1=highest); equivalent to white and colored belts in other martial arts
maai distance between one and one's opponent
rei bow
sanbon shoubu three point match (first person to score two points wins)
seiza seated attention position (literally "correct sitting"), with shins and tops of the feet on the floor and knees together
seme pressure applied to one's opponent
sensei instructor
shiai match
shinpan referee
shisei posture
sonkyo the crouching position in which begins and ends each bout
suburi basic exercise which simulates striking the men repeatedly, performed without bogu or an opponent
tai atari hitting with the body
taikai tournament
tai sabaki body movement
tsuba zeriai situation in which the players are close together, "tsuba to tsuba
tsuki the thrust target; the only point in kendo which is scored with a thrust rather than a strike
yuudansha kendoist with a rank of 1st dan (shodan) or higher
yuukou datotsu valid point
zanshin mental and physical alertness, especially after completing an attack

Copyright 1999 by the Southern California Kendo Federation
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