Communication is an important aspect of sport. Terms used just in the BJJ sphere help to understand and express sport aspects. Here are some of the key words, terms and commands used in Brazilian Jiu-JitsuCommunication is an important aspect of sport. Terms used just in the BJJ sphere help to understand and express sport aspects. Here are some of the key words, terms and commands used in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu





Ashi – Leg

Ashi Barai –sweep

Ashi Waza – Foot and leg techniques

Atemi Waza – Striking Techniques

Ayumi-ashi – Normal walking on the mat




Bangumi – Program

Bujin – Warrior

Bushido – Way of the warrior




Chikara – Force

Chui – caution (used in contests.)

Chudan– middle (of body); torso level




Daidojuku – a system of jujitsu emphasizing techniques similar to yawara and other hand arts and emphasizing “aiki.”

Daitō-Ryū – is one of the systems studied by Morihei Uyeshiba before his founding of aikido.

Dan – Grade, step (As in shodan.)

Dōgi (Keikogi) – Practice suit (Also called judogi.)  the word “gi” is never used alone and only as the second part of a name or word.




Ebi – lobster; shrimp; prawn

Ebi jime – lobster choke

Empi – Elbow strike (The term comes from karatedo and doesn’t have really much connection to jujutsu. It literally means swallow flying.)

Eri – Lapel, collar




Fudo dachi –rooted stance

Fumi – step on; tread on

Fusegi – Defense




Gi –  To dress, uniform for practicing (Always used as suffix as in judogi or jujitsugi.)

Gi – Technical (in a practical sense), a deed

The uniform of brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Gi is strongly reminiscent of a Judogis, but the kimonos for brazilian Jiu-Jitsu are usually narrower and more body-cut to make it difficult for the opponent to grasp. Traditionally, the BJJ Gi is made of cotton, with variations. The trousers are nowadays often made of ripstop fabric. Other manufacturers also offer kimonos made from hemp, which should be particularly suitable as hemp is antibacterial, which prevents unpleasant odors.

Gakushū-Sha – To win, be victorious

Gedan – lower level

Gedan barai – downward block; lower-level sweeping block

Gedan tsuki – lower-level punch or strike




Hajime – ‘Begin!’. The command given at the beginning of a contest by the referee to the two opponents.

Hantei – reverse; opposite

Hantai gatame –  reverse hold

Hidari – left (side)

Hidari Shizentai – Left-Hand Throw

Hikiwake – A draw in a contest.  To pull apart (as in two men fighting.)

Hiza – The knee

Hiji  – elbow; often used synonymously with empi in Japanese martial arts

Hontai – Basic posture




Idori – Sitting or kneeling

Ippon – one long cylindrical object; one full point in a judo contest

Ippon-seoi-nage – One arm shoulder throw

Ippon shobu  –  A match decided on the basis of one point

ippon ken –  one-knuckle fist

ippon kumite  –  one-step sparring

ippon seoi –  one-armed shoulder; throw in judo

irimi waza –  entering techniques

Irimi – Entering (As in irimi nage in aikido of jujutsu.)




Jiu Jitsu – The gentle art; power of mind

Jikan Desu – Referee’s call in a contest denoting time is over

Jukutou – principal

Jimuchou – managing Director




Kakato – heel

kakato geri – heel kick

Kansetsu waza –Joint Locking techniques

Kata – Pre arranged stylized techniques

Kata – Shoulder

Keage – upwards kick

Keiko (Geiko) – To practice, exercise (in order to learn), to drill.

Keikomi– thrusting kick

Keri (Geri) – kick

Keri waza – kicking techniques

Ki – inner energy; spirit

Kiai –   loud shout or yell which focuses one’s ki when striking hard; literally, “harmonized inner energy”

Kihon (Hon)   –  Fundamentals

Kihon renshu  – Fundamental practice

Ko – Minor, small (As in ko uchi gari.)

Koshi – Hip; ball of the foot; waist; loin

Kubi – neck

Kumite – sparring




Ma ai – distance

Mae – front

Mae geri – front kick

Mate – Wait

Mawashi –  turning; rotating

Mawate – turnover; turn

Migi – right (side)




Nage Waza – throwing techniques

Ne Waza – ground techniques or matwork; often used interchangeably with karate

Nukite – spear-hand; literally, “(sword) drawing hand”

Nukite zuki – spear-hand thrust




O – major; compare to ko; e.g., ogoshi

Ogoshi – major/Large hip throw

Obi – belt

Osae –   immobilize, to press upon or against, to retrain, keep down  (As in osae waza.)

Otoshi –   to drop, to let fall (as in tai otoshi).  To entrap




Randori – free practice or sparring

Rei – to bow

Renshu – to drill or exercises

Ritsu Rei – standing bow

Roku – six (see numerals)

Roshi – old master, title for a man with deep Zen experience (bud. Belief)

Ryu –   a style of school in Japanese martial arts; literally, “stream”




Seiken – Forefist

Sempai – A senior member in a dojo.

Sensei – teacher

Shi Han – master or senior instructor

Shiai –     contest

Shido – Punishment, corresponds to the first time Koka, the second time Yuko, the third time Waza-ari, afterwards Hansuko-make

Shiho – every direction; literally, “four directions”

Shihan – Master (6th Dan and up, style dependent)

Shime Waza – strangulation techniques

Shuto – the ulnar edge, or knife-edge, of the hand

Sode – the sleeve

Sokuto – blade of the foot

Sore Made – fighting, that’s all

Soto – outer, outside  (As in o soto gari.)

Suri Ashi – method of movement, in which the feet do not overtake and the sole always slides on the ground




Tai-Sabaki – body management, body movement

Tanden – point just below the navel

Te – hand

Tettsui – iron hammer

Tobi – to jump. Tobi watare means to jump across, tobi komi means to jump or spring into.

Ton Fa – wooden rod with handle at right angle, used in pairs

Tori (dori)– pull; grab; grasp; take; take away; in Japanese martial arts, the one who performs or demonstrates (“takes”) a technique;

Tsugi Ashi – follow-foot movement, a form of footwork

Tsukuri – stepping into the throw




Uchi – inner; inside; e.g., ouchi gari

Ude – arm

Uke –   receiving; in Japanese martial arts, the one who “receives” a technique; also in Japanese martial arts, a block (to “receive” a strike);

Ukemi Waza – breakfalling techniques

Uki –    floating

Ura –   reverse side; back; rear

Ushiro – back; behind; rear

Ushiro Ukemi – fall back

Ushiro-dori – Attack from behind




Waza – technique, trick

Wazaari – “Almost a technique”  (A score in contest judo where the person performing the technique almost completes it enough to score the ippon, of full point.)

Wazaari awasete Ippon – Two wazaari (fast point) give Ippon (point)




Yakosoku-Geiko – side clip; throw in

Yama – mountain

Yame  – stop

Yoi – ready

Yoko – side

Yoko Geri – Side kick

Yoseki – place of honor

Yuko – evaluation, technical advantage




Za –  Japanese sect of Buddhism which places heavy emphasis on meditation and which significantly influenced the Japanese martial arts; in front; before; forwards; e.g., zenkutsu

Zarei – a seated, formal bow

Zazen – concentration seat

Zempo – forward

Zen – virtue, goodness

Zori – Sandals made of straw


Last modified: May 23, 2017

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