Japanese Judo words to help your child learn.

Judo is from Japan, as such the words we use in Judo are in Japanese. This can be difficult for children as the foreign words can be scary and off putting. learning these new words can also be fun and exciting for children, especially if a parent can help them learn.


Below is a list of Judo words that are common in clubs and that helping your child learn can help them progress in Judo and enjoy it too.



Hajime (hah – jim – eh) = Start

This is Japanese for begin, most instructors will shout this when they want a class to start doing whatever activity they have been set.


Matte (Mat – eh) = Stop

This one is really important, it means stop. It is used to control classes but also for safety reasons. An instructor may shout Matte if they see a student getting into a potentially dangerous situation. It’s key that your child knows this one. It means stop, stop right now, not after this throw, NOW!


Rei (Ray) = Bow

In Japanese culture, respect is shown by bowing. Bowing is often compared to the european custom of shaking hands. When the instructor says Rei, it means your child should bow. Bowing is a sign of respect to the person you are training with, or to the instructor, etc. THERE IS NO RELIGIOUS MEANING. This is a common mistake, bowing in Judo is not a form of worship, it is like shaking hands… a sign of friendship and respect.


Tachi-Waza (tah – she – wah – za) – Standing techniques.

Tachi-Waza are the throwing techniques of judo, all those down from a standing position. In a club the instructor may say Tachi-Waza to tell people to do standing Judo practise.


Ne-Waza (Nay – wah – za) – Ground techniques.

Ne-Waza are the techniques we do on the ground, so the term my be used by the instructor to indicate to the class they should wrestle on the ground or practise something on the ground.


Sensei (Sen – say) = Instructor

This word in Japanese describes a teacher, so is typically used to describe (or address) the Judo instructor/coach. Some clubs insist that the instructor be referred to as Sensei.


Randori (Ran – door – e) = Free practise

This is open practise, where the children can try their throws (or groundwork techniques) on one another. In other arts it might be called sparring perhaps. The aim is to try new techniques, to refine your throws in a more realistic situation. It is not a fight! It is not a contest. It should be mutually beneficial, with both partners gaining equally.


Kata (Kah – Tah) = Formal Practise

Kata describes formal training sequences. Very common in martial arts, Kata are set patterns of techniques used to teach/learn. There are a small selection (about 8) of official Judo Kata and a infinite number of unofficial kata, which often are not even described as kata. Any pre-arranged sequence of techniques can be called a kata, they are used to help people learn.


Shiai (She – eye) = Contest

Shiai is contest Judo, be it in the club or at events. Shiai is where your child tests what they have learnt against people who are trying to prevent themselves being thrown. It is where children compete against one another, medals can be won, etc. It is first and foremost an opportunity to try your Judo against a new person, which will help you make your technique even better. It is also where we make some close friends!


More terminology will follow in later posts….


Photo from: http://www.flickr.com/photos/emotionblog/112581077/


This entry was posted by lancew on Tuesday, June 26th, 2007 at 11:41 pm and is filed under Judo . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

One Comment

  1. […] an earlier post we covered some basic Judo terminology ( http://www.judo4parents.com/2007/06/26/japanese-judo-words-to-help-your-child-learn/ ) in this post we shall cover some more words and phrases that it helps to […]

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