Learning Resources

Learning Japanese terminology is part of learning judo.

Understanding Judo Commands

A significant number of judo commands and expressions have their origins in Japan. Familiarizing yourself with Japanese judo terminology will enable you to comprehend the instructions given by your judo teacher or coach during practice.

Promotion Requirements

Acquiring proficiency in these terms is essential for successfully advancing through your assessments and achieving promotion to the next belt rank.

Acquiring knowledge of Japanese will enhance your understanding of various aspects of judo, including the names of throws, equipment, groundwork, standing judo terms, competition scores and commands, body parts, as well as the values of judo spirit and courage.


  Ashi – Foot

Ashi Waza – Foot techniques

Batsugun – Instant promotion

 Budo – Martial ways

 Bushido – Way of the warrior

 Fusegi – Escapes

 Dan – Black belt rank

Fusen Gachi – Win by default

 Goshin Jutsu – Art of self defense

Hajime – Begin

Hando no Kuzushi – Unbalancing by reaction

  Hansoku-make – Most serious penalty, disqualification

Hantei – Referee call for judge’s decision

Happo no Kuzushi – Kuzushi in 8 directions

Hidari – Left

Hiji – Elbow

 Hikite – Pulling hand/usually the hand gripping a sleeve

Hiki-wake – No decision–tie or draw

Hiza – Knee

 Ippon – Victory in one move, one point

 Jigotai – Defensive posture

Jikan – Referee call to stop the clock

 Joseki – Place of honor, upper seat

 Ju no Kata – Forms of gentleness

 Ju no Ri – Principle of flexibility or yielding

 Judoka – One who studies Judo

 Kaeshi Waza – Counter techniques

Kake – Completion or execution of technique

 Kansetsu Waza – Joint locking techniques

 Kappo – Resuscitation techniques

 Kata – Forms

 Katame no kata – Forms of grappling

Kiai – To gather spirit with a shout

 Kime no Kata – Forms of Self Defense (Combat Forms)

 Ki o tsuke – Attention

 Kodansha – High ranking judoka — 5th dan and above

 Kodokan – Judo institute in Tokyo where Judo was founded

 Koshi Waza – Hip techniques

 Koshi – Hip

 Kubi – Neck

 Kumikata – Gripping methods

 Kuzure – Modified hold

 Kuzushi – Unbalancing the opponent

 Kyu – Student rank

 Mae Ukemi – Falling forward

 Mae – Forward, front

 Masutemi Waza – Back sacrifice throws

 Mate – Stop (wait)

 Migi – Right

 Mudansha – Students below black belt rank

 Mune – Chest

 Nagekomi – Repetitive throwing practice

 Nage no Kata – Forms of throwing

 Nage Waza – Throwing techniques

 Nage – Throw

 Ne Waza – Techniques on the ground

  Obi – Judo Belt

  Osaekomi – Pin, referee call to begin timing

  Osaekomi Toketa – Escape, stop timing of hold

  Osaewaza – Grappling techniques

  Randori Waza – Techniques of free practice

  Randori – Free practice

  Rei – Bow

  Renraku waza – Combination techniques

  Ritsurei – Standing bow

  Seiryoku Zenyo – Principle of maximum efficiency

 Seiza – Formal kneeling posture

 Sensei – Teacher, instructor

 Shiai jo – Competition area

 Shiai – Contest

 Shido – Penalty

 Shihan – Title for a model teacher or “teacher who sets the standard” (i.e. Kano-shihan)

 Shime Waza – Choking techniques

 Shinpan – Referee

 Shintai – Moving forwards, sideways & backwards

 Shisei – Posture

 Shizentai – Natural posture

  Shomen – Dojo front

  Sode – Sleeve

 Sono Mama – Stop action; command to freeze

Sute Geiko – Randori throwing practice against a higher level judoka with no resistance

 Sutemi Waza – Sacrifice techniques

 Sore Made – Finished, time is up

 Sono Mama – Stop action; command to freeze

 Sutemi Waza – Sacrifice techniques

 Tachi Waza – Standing techniques

 Tai Sabaki – Body control, turning

 Tatami – Mat

 Tekubi – Wrist

 Te Waza – Hand techniques

 Te – Hand, arm

 Tokui Waza – Favorite or best technique

 Tori – Person performing a technique

 Tsugi Ashi – Walking by bringing one foot up to another

 Tsukuri – Entry into a technique, positioning

 Tsurite – Lifting hand

 Uchikomi – Repeated practice without completion

 Ude – Arm

 Uke – Person receiving the technique

 Ukemi – Breakfall techniques

 Ushiro Ukemi – Falling backward

 Ushiro – Backward, rear

 Waki – Armpit

Waza – Technique

Waza ari Awasete Ippon – Two waza-ari together for ippon

 Waza Ari – Near ippon or half point

 Yoko Kaiten Ukemi – Sideways rolling break fall

 Yoko Sutemi Waza – Side sacrifice throws

 Yoko Ukemi – Falling sideways

 Yoko – Side

 Yoshi – Resume action, continue

 Yubi – Finger

 Yudansha – Person who earned the black belt

 Yusei Gachi – Win by judge’s decision

 Zarei – Kneeling salutation

 Zenpo Kaiten Ukemi – Forward rolling break fall

Zubon – Pants