Practitioners in ninjutsu who advertise their dojo usually use a lot of the Japanese names to describe their art and what it is about. Raven avoided the use of these terms, as much as she was able to, because they could present barriers of entry for new people who want to train but do not know where to begin.


This section, however, will explain in more detail the terminology used within the training environment.

Terms used to Describe Martial Arts

Bujinkan - Hall of divine warrior training

Dojo - Safe place to practice

Miyabiryu - Gentle dragon; the name of this dojo

Ninjutsu - The art of endurance

Ninpo - Way of the ninja

Shinobi - Another name for ninja

Taijutsu - Body art; body martial art


Gi – Training uniform (also known as kimono)

Hakama – Pleated divided skirt

Obi – Belt or sash

Tabi – Traditional footwear of the Japanese (split toe)

The Five Elements (Gogyu)

Chi – Earth

Sui - Water

Ka - Fire

Fu – Wind

Ku - Void


Chu – Middle

Ge – Low

Hidari – Left

Koho – Rear, back

Mae – Front

Naname – Diagonal

Omote – Outside, front; apparent, concepts easily understood

Shomen – The front

Sokuho - Sideways

Ten – Heaven, sky; top

Ura – Inside, back, hidden; concepts that are not obvious

Ushiro – Rear, back

Yoko – Side; sideways

Zenpo – Forward, front direction


Deshi – Student/disciple

Domo Arigato Gozaimashita – Thank you very much for that which you have done

Gomen Nasai - I’m sorry

Kohai – Junior

Konban Wa - Good evening

Moichido - One more time (please)

Onegaishimasu – Please assist me

Rei – Bow

Sayonara – Goodbye

Seiza – Seated posture, correct sitting

Sempai – Senior

Sensei – Teacher, literally “one who has gone before”

Shidoshi – licensed teacher in the Bujinkan system

Shidoshi-ho – teacher serving under the guidance of a full shidoshi

Shikin haramitsu dai kom yo – “A moment of true interaction between body and mind brings forth enlightenment”.

Soke – “head of family”

Yame – Stop

  1. ichi                

  2. ni                   

  3. san                 

  4. shi / yon       

  5. go                   

  6. roku              

  7. shichi /nana 

  8. hachi               

  9. ku / kyu          

  10. ju

Parts of the Body

Ago - Jaw

Ashi – Leg

Butsumetsu – Kyusho; side of the torso, floating ribs

Hara – Belly; center of one’s body

Hiji – Elbow

Kata - Shoulder

Ken - Fist

Ki – Internal energy, spirit, mind, heart, soul

Kokoro – Spirit, heart, or mind

Koshi – Hip area; loins

Kote – Wrist

Kyusho – Vital points, pressure points, weak points

Men – Head; all parts of the head, the face

Mune – Chest

Shi - Finger

Shin – Heart, mind, spirit

Shomen – The front

Tai - The body

Te – Hand; arm

To – Head; sword

Ude – Arm

Yokomen – Side of the head

Kamae (body postures)

Agura - Tailor seat

Bobi - Preparing defensive posture

Doko - Angry tiger defence stance

Fudoza – Immovable seat

Gassho - Also Kongo; prayer stance; greeting stance

Hachi(monji) - "Eight" stance

Hanza - Half seat

Hicho – Flying bird

Hira ichimonji - Flat position in a straight line

Hoko – Receiving bear posture

Iai goshi - Convenient stance for drawing sword; half-kneeling

Ichimonji – Straight line; first stance

Ihen - Unusual change

Inori - variation on jumongi

Jumonji – Figure ten posture, crossed arm position

Kosei - Attacking stance

Ryuhyo - Dragon-leopard stance

Ryuhyo fusetsu - Dragon-leopard-wind and snow stance

Seiza – Seated posture, correct sitting

Shizen – Natural


Ashiko – Foot Claws

Bokken – Wooden sword used for training

Boshi – The tempered part of the blade above the yokote around the kissaki (tip)

Choku-so – A straight spear blade

Daisho – The set of katana and kodachi

Daito – Longer Japanese sword

Hanbo – 3 foot wooden staff

Ha – The Edge(s) of a blade

Jo – 4 foot wooden staff

Jutte – A metal truncheon

Katana – Sword

Kodachi – Short sword

Kunai – Leaf shaped digging tool

Kusari Fundo – A 100 cm chain with weighted ends

Kusari Gama – Traditional Chain and sickle weapon

Kyoketsu shoge - Hooked blade weapon with weighted cord

Metsubushi    – Blinding powder, smoke, pepper, etc.

Naginata – Halberd

Rokushakabo – Six foot staff

Saya – Japanese sword scabbard

Shinai – bamboo training sword

Shikomi zue – A walking stick with hidden weapon

Shuko - Hand claws

Shuriken – Small throwing weapons, either senban shuriken which are flat with sharp edges or bo shuriken which are spikes

Suburi Bokken – Heavy wooden sword used for solo drills

Tachi – Long sword; a longer version of the katana, worn hanging from the belt edge down

Tanto – Knife

Tessen – Iron fan

Tsuba – Sword guard (hilt)

Shoto – Short sword

Wakazashi - Short sword

Yari – Spear

Yoroi – A suit of armour


Ashi Ori – Break the leg

Atemi – Strike; striking the vital points

Atsu – Press

Batto – The flowing motion of sword drawing and cutting. The “art of drawing the long sword”.

Bojutsu – Art of using six foot staff fighting methods

Boshi ken – Thumb drive fist

Budo taijutsu- Unarmed combat methods of the Bujinkan

Dakentaijutsu – Striking, punching, kicking body methods

Dori – To seize, catch

Fudo ken – Clenched fist

Furi – To spin or twirl

Ganseki nage – To drop a big rock

Geri – Kick

Goroshi – To kill

Gyaku – Reverse; joint manipulation

Hodoki – Free, loosen, unbind, get untied

Hojojutsu – Binding techniques using a rope or cord to restrain prisoners

Iai – Motion of drawing a sword and cutting

In – To hide

Jime – To constrict, tighten, choke

Jojutsu – Techniques of using a jo

Jujutsu – Techniques of flexibility; art of flexibility

Junan taiso – Body conditioning and flexibility

Jutaijutsu – Grappling methods, throws, locks, holds, soft body method

Kaeshi – To turn over, throw

Kaiten – Rolling; overturn

Kata – Shoulder; arranged forms; single, one; style, type, pattern

Keri – To kick also geri

Kesa giri - Diagonal cut

Kiai – Spirit shout; a focused, directed yell

Kiri – To cut; also a mist, fog

Kihon happo - The fundamental 9 ways

Kogoroshi – Killing the child (little finger)

Koppojutsu - Bone striking method

Koshijutsu – Organ and muscle strikes

Kudaki – Crush, break, smash; shatter

Kyojitsu - Play of truth and deception; a feint

Kyojutsu tenkan ho - interchange of falsehood and reality

Kyudo – Archery; way of the bow

Mae geri – Front kick

Muto dori – Unarmed against a sword

Nagashi – Receiving flow; parry; deflect

Nage – To throw

Ori – To break

Otoshi – To drop

Oyagoroshi – Killing the parent (the thumb)

Randori – Freestyle rotational practice

Ryote – Two-handed

Sabaki - Evasion, footwork

Sanshin no kata - Three hearts movement methods

Seishin-Tanren – To “polish one’s spirit” through hard training

Shako ken - Claw and palm strike

Shinken gata – Real fighting form or feeling

Shikan ken – Extended knuckle fist

Shime – To choke, constrict, tighten

Shishin ken – Finger needle strike

Shitan ken – Thumb pressure strike

Shomen uchi – Forehead strike

Sokugyaku – Ball of foot kick

Sokuho kaiten – Sideways roll

Sokuho tobi – Sideways leap

Sokuyaku – Foot strike

Sokugyaku – Toe strike

Tai sabaki – Body evasion; natural movements for evading attacks

Taihenjutsu – Body changing arts: rolling, leaping, silent movement, tumbling, breakfalls

Taijutsu – Body techniques, unarmed combat methods

Taiso – Flexibility exercise; stretches

Tobi – Leaping and jumping skills

Tobi keri – Leaping kick

Tori – To seize, catch; the one applying the technique

Tsuki - Thrust, punch

Uchi – Inside; to attack, defeat, destroy, conquer, strike

Uke nagashi – Receiving the attack; receiving flow

Ukemi – The act of taking a controlled fall when thrown; receiving techniques in kata; breakfalls

Ura – Inside, back, hidden; concepts that are not obvious

Yoko aruki – Sideways walking

Zenpo geri – Forward stamp kick

Zenpo kaiten – Forward roll