Empire Dojo

10 Essential Words and Phrases in Japanese Jujutsu

Empire Dojo, a renowned center for learning Japanese Jujutsu, not only imparts martial arts skills but also immerses its practitioners in the rich Japanese culture. Understanding and incorporating Japanese words and phrases is an integral part of the training, fostering respect, discipline, and a deeper connection to the art. In this blog post, we’ll explore the ten most commonly used Japanese words and phrases at Empire Dojo, shedding light on their phonetic pronunciation and their significance within the dojo.

  1. Reiho (Ray-ho):
    1. Meaning: “Etiquette” or “Manners”
    2. Significance: Reiho emphasizes the importance of respect and courtesy within the dojo. Practitioners learn to bow correctly, showing respect to instructors, fellow students, and the art itself. Reiho sets the tone for a disciplined and harmonious training environment.
  2. Anza (Ahn-zah):
    1. Meaning: “Sitting cross-legged”
    2. Significance: Anza is a posture used during discussions, ceremonies, and meditation. It symbolizes attentiveness and mindfulness. Students adopt anza during instruction sessions, promoting focus and engagement.
  3. Seiza (Say-zah):
    1. Meaning: “Proper sitting”
    2. Significance: Seiza is a formal way of sitting on one’s knees with the back straight. It’s often used during ceremonies, meditation, and when receiving instructions. Seiza instills discipline and attentiveness, promoting a sense of calm and respect.
  4. Sensei (Sen-say):
    1. Meaning: “Teacher” or “Instructor”
    2. Significance: Sensei is a term of respect used to address instructors. It reflects the acknowledgment of the teacher’s wisdom and experience. Students show respect to their Sensei through proper etiquette and attentive listening.
  5. Senpai (Sen-pie):
    1. Meaning: “Senior” or “Senior student”
    2. Significance: Sempai refers to senior students who guide and assist junior practitioners. It embodies the hierarchical structure within the dojo, encouraging a supportive learning environment. Junior students learn from their sempai while fostering a sense of camaraderie.
  6. Kiai (Kee-aye):
    1. Meaning: “Spirit shout”
    2. Significance: Kiai is a vocal expression of energy and focus during movements. It’s used to channel one’s inner strength and intimidate opponents. Practitioners at Empire Dojo incorporate kiai to enhance the effectiveness of their techniques and to develop mental fortitude.
  7. Randori (Rahn-doh-ree):
    1. Meaning: “Free practice” or “Sparring”
    2. Significance: Randori involves practicing techniques in a dynamic, unscripted manner. It enhances adaptability and reflexes. Students engage in randori sessions to test and refine their skills against varying opponents.
  8. Dojo (Doh-joh):
    1. Meaning: “Training hall” or “Place of the way”
    2. Significance: Dojo is the sacred space where martial arts training takes place. It represents a space for learning, self-improvement, and the cultivation of character. The dojo is considered a sanctuary where practitioners strive for excellence.
  9. Gi (Gee):
    1. Meaning: “Uniform” or “Training outfit”
    2. Significance: The gi is the traditional uniform worn during Jujutsu training. It symbolizes equality among practitioners and provides a sense of discipline. The gi also serves a practical purpose, allowing for comfortable and unrestricted movement.
  10. Zanshin (Zahn-shin):
    1. Meaning: “Remaining mind” or “Awareness”
    2. Significance: Zanshin is the state of continued awareness and readiness even after completing a technique. It emphasizes the importance of being alert and prepared for any follow-up actions. Zanshin extends beyond the physical aspect, encouraging a heightened state of mental awareness.


Embracing these Japanese words and phrases at Empire Dojo not only adds authenticity to the practice of Jujutsu but also instills valuable principles of respect, discipline, and mindfulness. By understanding and incorporating these elements, practitioners not only master the physical techniques but also develop a deeper connection to the cultural roots of Japanese martial arts.