The North Cotswolds Aikido Club

Classes are held at Naunton Village Hall, in the North Cotswolds.
See the Find Us page for details.

Resources for the Aikido practitioner

Dojo Etiquette

Entering the Dojo. Have your keikogi on and obi(belt) tied properly. Just inside the door perform a bow towards the picture of O-Sensei (the Shomen). Go to the corner of the tatami and perform a kneeling bow, again towards the picture of O-Sensei.

The Bow. Remain seated on your heels (kneeling). Place the left hand then the right on the tatami in front of you so that the two thumbs and index fingers form a triangle.

When the Sensei or appointed instructor enters the dojo all members should line up in the kneeling position facing the picture of O-Sensei.

Starting the Class. All bow with Sensei towards the Shomen, then return Sensei's bow saying "Onegaishimasu" . Follow his lead during warming-up exercises.

During Class. Perform a standing bow to your partner both before and at the end of a period of practise. If the Sensei should teach you and your partner individually it is proper to perform a bow afterwards. While the Sensei is working with your partner kneel on the tatami. Make sure your keikogi remains tied properly during practise and that you remain adequately covered.

Coming Late / Leaving Early Wait before entering or leaving the dojo until the Sensei is not demonstrating. Wait at the side of the tatami to ask Sensei's permission to come on the tatami. Perform the proper kneeling bow when coming onto or leaving the tatami. If leaving early, ask Sensei's permission first.

End of the Lesson Follow the lead as for 'starting the class' but when returning the Sensei's bow say "Domo Arigato Gozaimashita" . Allow the Sensei to leave the mat first - and thank your partners.

Leaving the Dojo Perform kneeling and standing bows similar to the format for 'entering the dojo' but in reverse order.

Wear Zori (Sandals) to and from the tatami - always leave them neatly by the side of the tatami while you are practising.

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For help with the pronunciation of any of the Japanese words used in aikido visit the AikiWeb site here.

Postures & technique types
   Tachi-waza Standing (both Tori & Uke)
  Tori The partner receiving the attack
  Uke The partner doing the attack
  Suwari-waza Sitting (both Tori & Uke)
  Hanmihandachi-waza Tori sitting & Uke standing
  Nage-waza Throwing or projection techniques
  Kansetsu-waza Joint/pinning techniques
  Atemi-waza Striking/hitting techniques
  Ai-hanmi Both Tori & Uke in same posture
  Gyaku-hanmi Uke in opposite stance to Tori
  Katate dori Wrist grip
  Kata dori Shoulder grip
  Hiji dori Sleeve grip at elbow
  Mune dori Lapel held at mid-chest area
  Morote dori Wrist gripped by both hands
  Ryote (Ryo) Use of two hands to attack and grip
  Ryo katate dori Both wrists held
  Ryo kata dori Both shoulders held
  Ushiro Gripped or 'done' from behind an opponent
  Ushiro ryo katate dori Both wrists gripped from behind
  Ushiro eri dori Collar gripped from behind
  Kubishime Strangle/choke
  Ushiro katate dori Kubishime Neck choke from behind with one hand, and other hand holding at wrist
  MuneDakishime Bear hug (usually from behing - ushiro)
  Shomenuchi Front downward strike to head
  Yokomenuchi Strike to side of head
  Tsuki Punch or strike to body
  Jodan tsuki Punch to head
  Chudan tsuki Punch to stomach/chest
  Gedan tsuki Punch to groin
  Geri Kick (jodan/chudan/gedan)
Defence Techniques
  Ikkyo First principle (arm pinning technique)
  Nikyo Second principle (arm pinning technique)
  Sankyo Third principle (wrist pinning technique)
  Yonkyo Fourth principle (arm pinning technique)
  Gokyo Fifth principle (usually used against a knife attack)
  Hijishime (Rokyo) Sixth principle (elbow lock against the joint)
  Iriminage Entering body throw
  Tenchinage 'Heaven and earth' throw
  Shihonage 4-direction throw
  Uchi-kaitenage Rotary throw initiated from the front
  Soto-kaitenage Rotary throw initiated from the side
  Kotegaeshi Wrist (outward turn) throw or pin
  Kokyunage Breath throw
  Sukumen Breath throw (under head/chin)
  Koshinage Hip throw
  Aiki otoshi Body drop
  Sumi otoshi Corner drop
  Ude-garami Elbow lock - and throw
  Juji-garami Crossed elbows throw

Kata gatame

Shoulder lock and throw (or pin) to ground
  Aikinage 'Harmony' throw - no pre-control technique used
  Mai Ukemi Forward fall/roll
  Ushiro Ukemi Backward fall/roll
  Shikko Knee walking
  Irimi Tenkan Entering and turning outwards
  Taisabaki Circular blending motion
  Tsugi Ashi 'Glide' walking
  Torifune Boat-rowing exercise - with Ki-ai
  Ikkyo Shihogiri 4-direction turning
Exercises with a partner
  Suwari-waza Kokyu-ho Sitting posture - and practise of extending power through breathing out
  Hi-shin-undo Back stretch
  Tai-no-henko Basic blending (tenkan) exercise
  Ki-no-nagare Tai-no-henko as a flowing movement
Everything else
  Irimi Entering into an attack from your partner
  Tenkan Entering (with a turn) to the side or back of your partner
  Omote Moving across the front of your partner
  Ura Moving to the outside of your partner - normally with a turn
  Ninin dori Practise with 2 ukes attacking
  Sannin dori Practise with 3 ukes attacking
  Jiyu-waza Free style attack and defence with 2 or more ukes
  Tanto-dori Defence against a knife (tanto) attack
  Tachi-dori Defence against a sword (bokken) attack
  Jo-dori Defence against a staff (jo) attack
Dan Grades
  shodan first degree black belt
  nidan second degree black belt
  sandan third degree black belt
  yodan fourth degree black belt
  godan fifth degree black belt
  rokudan sixth degree black belt
  shichidan / nanadan seventh degree black belt


Some humorous Aikido definitions courtesy of AikidoFAQ.

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The handling and use of weapons - particularly the Bokken (wooden sword) and Jo (wooden staff) - forms an important adjunct and element of a student's understanding of the principles of aikido. Demonstration of the use of the bokken and jo (as used by tori) is an optional part of gradings instead of ninin-dori/futari-gaeki. The Kai Shin Kai has a number of Senseis who are able to teach (for example) :

Bokken Suburi The 7 basic sword cuts
Bokken Awase Partner blending practice
Bokken Kumitachi Kata practice with a partner
Jo Suburi The 20 basic Jo movements
Jo Kata The 13, 31, 25 and 22 count katas
Kumi-Jo Jo against Jo - blending practice
Ken-tai-Jo Sword against Jo partner practice


YouTube Below are links to YouTube videos of Morihiro Saito Sensei (1928-2002) demonstrating Jo & Bokken. Morihiro Saito was one of the founder's most dedicated and longest serving students who created the weapons 'routines' that we practice today based upon the founder's teachings.

7 Ken Suburi

20 jo suburi

13 jo kata

13 jo awase

31 jo kata

31 kumi jo pt1

31 kumi jo pt2

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Tying and Folding a Hakama

The following illustrate how to tie and fold a hakama :

How to tie your belt YouTube

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Kneeling (Seiza)


Miscellaneous Japanese words used in Aikido

ai Principle of harmony with others
arigato Thank you
arigato gozaimashita Thank you for everything
bokken (ken) Wooden practice sword
budo/bushido Code of the Samurai
dame 'don't do that' or 'no good' etc
dan Black belt rank
domo arigato Thank you very much
dojo Training hall
gi (keikogi) Practice suit
hakama Divided skirt worn over the gi
hanmi Posture/stance
hara (tanden) Your centre/stability
hidari Left
hajime Begin, start or go
irimi Positive entering movement/step
kamae Ready posture (ready to attack)
kata Set form of movements
katana Japanese sword
keiza Kneeling - but up on toes
ki Spirit/energy
kokyu Breath power
kyu A rank below dan
mai-ai Relative distance between partners
migi Right
omote Moving to or across the front of an opponent
rei / ritsurei Salutation (bow)
ryu School
sensei Instructor/teacher
seiza Kneeling posture
shikko Knee walking
taisabaki Circular motion, blending with an attacker
tatami Practice mat
tegatana The side of the hand ("handblade")
tenkan Circular motion - outward turning
tsugi-ashi A follow-up step (forwards or backwards) without the feet crossing
ura Turning to the outside of uke (opposite of omote)
yame Stop or end/finish
zanshin Preparedness/readiness/awareness


11 (10+1)
20 (2x10)
and so on...

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Grading syllabus

What are Kai Shin Kai examiners and instructors looking for?

  • Correctness of technique in the 4 postures of :
    Irimi (or Omote) from hidari and migi hanmi
    Tenkan (or Ura) from hidari and migi hanmi
  • Effectiveness of technique and quality of tai-sabaki
  • Posture - stability and good use of tanden (centre)
  • Mai-ai - correct distance between partners, relative to speed and type of attack
  • Flow and flexibility
  • Zanshin (readiness and alertness)
  • Ki (spirit)
  • Manner, attitude and general Dojo etiquette (eg correct rei to the Shomen, examiners and training partners)

During gradings the examiners are not looking for perfection but, overall, will expect candidates to achieve a 70% rating in all aspects, with allowances made for age, sex and specific handicaps.

5th Kyu (Yellow belt) - minimum 30 hours training
Selection of exercises from:

Tai-sabaki Tsugi-ashi Tori-fune
Ukemi Shikko Tai-no-henko

Techniques from ai-katate-dori (irimi and tenkan) using the following defences:

Ikkyo Nikyo Shiho Nage
Iriminage Kotegaeshi Sukomen

Ninin-dori (from ai-katate-dori)

4th Kyu (Orange belt) - minimum 50 hours training from 5th Kyu
Selected techniques from 5th Kyu syllabus plus techniques from the following attacks:

Ai-katate-dori Gakyu-katate-dori Chudan-tsuki
Shomenuchi Yokomenuchi  
using the following defences:
Ikkyo Nikyo Iriminage
Kokyunage Kotegaeshi Sukomen
Shihonage Tenchinage Sumi-otoshi

Ninin-dori (using above attacks) or:

Weapons: Bokken suburi Nos 1-4 and Jo-suburi Nos 1-5

3rd Kyu (Green belt) - minimum 60 hours training from 4th Kyu
Selected techniques from 5th and 4th Kyu syllabus plus techniques involving the following additional attacks:

Kata-dori Kata-dori-shomenuchi Ryote-dori
Ushiro-ryote-dori Ushiro-ryo-kata-dori  
and the following additional defences:
Sankyo Yonkyo Mai-otoshi

Ninin-dori (using above attacks) or:

Weapons: Bokken suburi and Jo-suburi

2nd Kyu (Blue belt) - minimum 70 hours training from 3rd Kyu + attendance of minimum one Kai Shin Kai / BAB course in the preceding 12 months.
Selected techniques from 5th to 3rd Kyu syllabus plus techniques involving the following additional attacks:

Hiji-dori Jodan-tsuki  
Morote-dori Ushiro-hiji-dori  
and the following additional defences:
Gokyo Hiji-shime Kaitenage

Escape from being held by 2 attackers (morote-dori grip)

Ninin-dori (using above attacks) or:

Weapons: Bokken awase and Jo-suburi / kata

1st Kyu (Brown belt) - minimum 100 hours training from 2nd Kyu + attendance of minimum two Kai Shin Kai courses in the preceding 12 months including the mandatory KSK pre-grading course.
Selected techniques from 5th to 2nd Kyu syllabus plus techniques involving the following additional attacks:

Mune-dori Mune-dori-shomenuchi Ryo-mune-dori
Ushiro-eri-dori Ushiro-katate-dori-kubishime  
and the following additional defences:
Juji-garami Aiki-otoshi Aiki-nage Koshinage

Tanto-dori (from named attacks/defences)

Ninin-dori (free attacks) or:

Weapons: Bokken (ki-musubi-no-ken) and Jo kata (13 or 31 count)

1st DAN - minimum 12 months from 1st Kyu + attendance of minimum two Kai Shin Kai courses in the preceding 12 months including the mandatory KSK pre-grading course.
Selected techniques from 5th to 1st Kyu syllabus plus techniques involving the following additional attacks:

Mune-dori-jodan-tsuki Ushiro-mune-dakeshime Gedan-geri (kick)
and the following additional defences:
Ude-garami Kata-gatame Juji-garami

Defence against weapons - disarming techniques using 2 of the following : Bokken, Jo or Chain

Futari-gaeki (as spirited ninin-dori), or

Weapons: Bokken kumi-tachi/kumi-jo (content to be agreed with examiners before start of grading)

Click the image below for a higher-definition, printable syllabus sheet :

Club Forms

PDF Document Club Membership Application Form

PDF Document Club Membership Medical Declaration

PDF Document KSK Membership Form



Please refer to our safeguarding page.


Tel: 07554 252021


For a full list of Kai Shin Kai dojos please visit the Kai Shin Kai website

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