Hōki-ryū iaidō in Indiana

Hōki-ryū iaidō

at Yobushin Dojo, Indiana


Below is a list of commonly used terms in our iaidō practice. By no means comprehensive, it is to help the complete beginner who may be confused by the foreign vocabulary. Set your web browser's text encoding to Unicode to view the Japanese characters.

Quick Pronunciation Guide

Below is a quick way to get started, though more extensive help may be found at Prof. T. C. Bestor's "Easy Guide to Japanese Pronunciation."

  • a as in father
  • e as in men
  • i as in police
  • o as in note
  • u as in rude
  • Do not combine vowels; e.g., kamae is not ka-may, but ka-ma-e. On the other hand, y is a glide: ryū is just one syllable, rather than two.
  • The macron (ū or ō) just means the vowel is twice as long.
ai-uchi 相打 mutual killing
Atago 愛宕 the shrine where Katayama received divine revelation according to legend
budō 武道 martial art, or literally the "martial path"
domo arigatō gozaimashita 度も有難う御座いました thank you very much; said at the end of each class
furi-kaburi 振りかぶり raising the sword overhead
hakama 袴 pleated skirtlike trousers
hajime 始め begin
hanshi 範師 master teacher
Hōki-ryū 伯耆流 should require no explanation at this point
iaidō 居合道 the art of fighting from the scabbard
iaigi 居合着 the uniform top for iaidō
iaihiza 居合膝 a seated position with one knee up; same as tatehiza
iso-no-nami 磯の波 "waves upon breakers"; the secret principle of Hōki-ryū
juban 襦袢 undershirt, worn under the keikogi
kamidana 神棚 miniature shrine, commonly used in Japanese martial arts, denoting the shōmen (front) of the dojo space.
Kangyō-kai 貫行会 The name of Nakamura Tetsu sensei's Hōki-ryū organization
kata form, practice pattern
Katayama Hōki-no-kami Fujiwara Hisayasu 片山伯耆之守藤原久安 the founder of Hōki-ryū
kiai 気合 "harmonization of energy," or the spirit shout
kiza 危座 a seated position on the balls of the foot
koryū 古流 classical traditions, or old schools
kote 小手 wrist
ma-ai 間合 fighting distance
metsuke 目付 gaze
muga 無我 egoless state
mushin 無心 the mind of no mind
obi 帯 belt
ritsurei 立礼 standing bow
ryū a school, literally a "flow" as it is perceived as a stream within a larger, organic whole
seitei gata 制定形 standard forms
seiza 正座 formal seated position
sensei 先生 instructor
suwari waza 座り技 seated technique
tachi waza 立ち技 standing technique
tatehiza 立膝 a seated position with one knee up; same as iaihiza
te no uchi 手の内 the grip
tōrei 刀礼 bowing to the sword
uchikomi 打込 striking practice
yame 止め stop
zanshin 残心 awareness
zarei 座礼 seated bow
Zen Nihon iaidō tōhō 全日本居合道刀法 The seitei gata of the All Japan Iaido Federation

chōji 丁子 clove oil
ha 刃 cutting edge of the sword blade
habaki 鎺 or ハバキ the collar on the blade near the guard
hamon 刃紋 patterns on the cutting edge of the sword
hi 樋 fuller (i.e., groove) on the sides of blade
Sword Terms
Illustration at Wikimedia.
iaitō 居合刀 unsharpened metal practice sword used for iai
ito the cord for wrapping the hilt
kissaki 切先 tip (point) of sword blade
koiguchi 鯉口 "carp's mouth," the mouth of the scabbard
kojiri the butt end of the scabbard
koshirae 拵え sword furnishings or sword mounting
kurigata 栗形 the knob that the sageo goes through
mekugi 目釘 peg for the hilt
menuki 目抜き small ornaments on the hilt
monouchi 物打 the cutting area of a blade
mune 棟 back of the sword blade
nakago 中心 tang
Nihontō 日本刀 a Japanese sword, typically refers only to genuine swords produced in Japan
sageo 下緒 cord attached to the saya
same 鮫 the rayskin used to wrap a sword's hilt
saya 鞘 scabbard (sheath)
seppa 切羽 washer
shinken 真剣 a live blade
shinogi the ridge line between the edge and the back
tachikaze 太刀風 "sword wind," or the sound produced by the sword as it swings
teire 手入れ the maintenance kit for a Japanese sword
tsuba 鍔 sword guard
tsuka 柄 hilt
tsuka-gashira 柄頭 pommel
tsukamaki 柄巻 hilt wrapping

Main Movements of Iai
nukitsuke 抜付 draw and cut
sayabiki 鞘引 moving the saya to aid drawing
kesa-giri 袈裟切 diagonal cut
kiri-oroshi 切下 dropping cut
kamae 構 stance
chiburi 血振 shaking the blood off the blade; note: no true chiburi exists in Hōki-ryū
nōtō 納刀 sheathing the sword

Four Types of Nukitsuke
ipponme 一本目 first: draw and cut straight down
nihonme 二本目 second: draw and cut on a downward diagonal
sanbonme 三本目 third: draw and cut on horizontal plane

yonhonme 四本

fourth: draw and cut on an upward diagonal

Types of Kamae
jōdan no kamae 不段の構 high guard: sword is held above the head, approximate at 45 degrees
chūdan no kamae 中段の構 middle guard:  sword is held at waist height, blade points up at opponent's eyes 
gedan no kamae 下段の構 low:  sword is held just below waist height, blade points down at about 45 degrees
garyū no kamae 臥龍の構 recumbent dragon: sword is held with the hilt near left armpit, blade points down at about 45 degrees

ichi one
ni 二 two
san 三 three
shi (also yon) 四 four
go 五 five
roku 六 six
shichi (also nana) 七 seven
hachi 八 eight
ku 九 nine
 十 ten



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