Budō Jiten − Martial Arts Dictionary
This dictionary is the result of my personal research to develop a martial arts vocabulary based on the living traditions of Ti, as taught by my teacher Onaga Yoshimitsu Kaichō at the Shinjinbukan School. Unauthorized reproduction, translation into other languages or sale of these materials constitutes a copyright violation.
Written by Jimmy Mora
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Lit. Standing form. Until the 20th century, Okinawans were not concerned to name their karate stances and techniques. Therefore, the majority of names given to the stances were derived from Japanese Martial Arts. The most common stances in Okinawan Karate are: heisoku dachi , heikō dachi, jigotai, kokutsu dachi , musubi dachi , naihanchi dachi
Lit. Standing striking board. Tachi Machiwara, or Standing Machiwara is one of the trademarks of the Shinjinbukan School. It is common to refer to the Tachi Machiwara simply as Machiwara. It is considered one the oldests training tools used in Ti. In the old days Okinawan built the Tachi Machiwara mostly outdoors digging a hole into the gound and supporting the wooden board with two large stones.
The Outdoors Machiwara offers a unique feel and recoil on every hand strike. Nowadays, Tachi Machiwara are mostly built indoors, bolted to the floor, or sometimes, using a base attached to the wall. This type of training should only be carried out under the direct supervision of a qualified instructor. Any misuse of the Tachi Machiwara can cause serious injuries.
Lit. Standing triking or punching board.
This is the proper use of the Dōjō floor, which must be kept clean, neat and organized at all times. Therefore, all students must remove their shoes prior to entering the Dōjō. And they must understand their proper place in the layout of the floor. In addition, all students are required to do sōji (clean the Dōjō floor) at the end of class.
Lit. Bring down or pull down technique. It refers to the take down techniques used in Japanese martial arts.
Japanese prononciation of the ancient indigenous Okinawan martial art from which preceded modern karate.
Lit. Sole of the foot.
Lit. Qualified, suitable, occasional, rare or capable.
Lit. Iron Armor. Okinawan weapon used in Kobudō. It is held with a closed fist and made to fit the hand width. It has several protruding points by the knuckles. Tekko could be made of iron, aluminium, steel, or wood.
Lit. Change direction or course. Tenshin is one of the three basic elements of Ti. It is used to generate an effortless and powerful body movement and acceleration. One of the trademarks of the Shinjinbukan School is the use of tenshin to create an immense thrust for each tsuki (hand strike) and keri (foot strike).
Tenshin is commonly defined as "Body Displacement". This is a very superficial definition because tenshin is more than just moving from point A to point B. Tenshin could be compared to the breath of life: "Without air, we can't live. And without tenshin we can't move or use our body efficiently". In fact, tenshin is directly connected to the use of breathing techniques. For this and other reasons, a more holistic definition of tenshin would be: "The most efficient method of body mechanics used to generate body movement".
Furthermore, according to Onaga Kaichō, "Our bodies do not move back and forth, but only left or right". The reasoning behind this approach is that we do not have four legs. Consequently, we do not have front or back legs, only left and right.
Lit. Hand(s). The ancient indigenous Okinawan martial art which preceded modern karate. Ti is the essence of Karate and the foundation of the Shinjinbukan curriculum.
Lit. Ti practitioner (Okinawan dialect). The term Tichikayā could also be described in Japanese as "Ti moteru hito". It refers to a person who holds the knowledge of Ti. In the Shinjinbukan School, and for those who follow the path of Ti, the term "Tichikayā" is preferred to that of Karateka, and this is reflected by the official song of the Shinjinbukan School.
Lit. Sparring. The term Ti Gumi is "suggested" for use with beginner students in order to move away from Kumite by introducing basic ideas from Kakie and Iri Kumi. In the early 20th century several authors described a free-style sparring in Okinawan Karate with the term Ti Gumi. In Uchinaguchi (the Okinawan dialect), the word Ti Gumi is written with the same Kanji (Chinese characters) as Kumite but in reverse order. Listed below are a few personal perspectives of Ti Gumi.
Lit. The Art or skill of the hand. Ti Jutsu is a generic term used during the early 20th century, when the term Karate had not yet been adopted by the Okinawans. It implies some amount grappling techniques without fighting on the ground.
Lit. Handheld striking board. Ti Machiwara, or Handheld Machiwara is one of the trademarks of the Shinjinbukan School. Due to its small size, it provides a lot of flexibility for a practitioner. Training using a Ti Machiwara could be done at the Dōjō as well as at home or while riding a train or a bus. The use of Ti Machiwara allows a beginner student to focus in the correct wrist and elbow position. For an advanced student, Ti Machiwara, provides the ability to practice on small movable target that represents the opponent's vital points. This type of training should only be carried under the direct supervision of a qualified instructor. Any misuse of the Ti Machiwara can cause serious injuries.
Lit. Handheld striking or punching board.
Tobiundō (alt. tobiundou, Tobiundo)
Lit. Jumping exercises. These jumping drills target the muscles used for keri (foot strike) and are not a “jumping game” or the typical fighting moves used in sports Karate. The body mechanics mechanics of Tobiundō targets the core, calves and ankle muscles; while maintaining a straight seichūshin (body center axis) and avoiding swinging the arms or stomping the floor with the heels.
The term Tobiundō is not explicitely used by Onaga Yoshimitsu Kaichō. The drills listed below are typical examples of different types of Tobiundō practiced at the Shinjinbukan Honbu Dōjō in Okinawa. The nanes of these drills are also not explicitely used by Onaga Kaichō, but they are based on commonly used Japanese terminology. The descriptions in English may provide some helpful insight about these drills.
Tōde (alt. Tode, Toude)
Lit. The Tang (China) hand.
Tōde Jutsu (alt. Tode Jutsu, Toude Jutsu)
Lit. The Art or skill of the Tang (China) hand.
Tōdi (alt. Toudi, Todi)
Lit. The Tang (China) hand. The Okinawans used the term Tōdi instead of Karate before their martial arts was introduced to mainland Japan. Since the word Tōdi means Chinese Hand, it had to be changed to the name karate, using more “modern” characters: 空手. This was more than a departure in terminology but part of the standarization and cultural changes of the Meiji Period (1868 — 1912). These socio-political changes brought Okinawan culture and government under Japan and away from China's sphere of influence.
Lit. High grade, classy.
See Tomari Ti
Lit. The Tomari Hand. An early form of Okinawan Karate that originated in the town of Tomari. Tomari Ti is not a style of Ti, as many Karate books written in the late 20th century have asserted. By contrast, there are no historical sources from the 19th century or earlier to support any claim that Tomari Ti was a style of Ti.
Between the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the first Karate styles were beginning to emerge. At the time Karate curriculums and stylizations were in an early stage of development, and no official names were given to each style. Instead, names like Tomari Ti were used to group practitioners by geographic location. Hence Tomari Ti was used as a generic name for an early style of Karate that was still in development at that time.
During the early 20th century, practitioners were not concerned with written explanations. Therefore, it is necessary to keep into account the cultural differences that existed between the Okinawan dialect, known as Uchinaguchi, spoken by the early Karate masters, and the standard Japanese language later adopted for all standard Karate terminology.
A pure lineage of Tomari Ti didn’t continue past the early 20th century, but it was mixed into modern styles, like Matsubayashi Ryū. Chintō is one of the forms from the Tomari Ti tradition still practiced by many Karate styles.
Lit. To hault, to stop.
An Okinawan weapon used in Kobudō.
Lit. A thrust, a lunge, to pierce, a stab. A Karate hand strike. In the Shinjinbukan school, there is lot of emphasis on tsuki training. Tsuki is often misunderstood as a punch. Onaga Sensei defines a punch as fast push. On the other hand, a tsuki is a hand technique that goes through the opponent’s body.
つき、 けり、 てんしん
tsuki, keri, tenshin
Lit. Hand strike, foot strike and changing direction. Tsuki (hand strike), Keri (foot strike), Tenshin (changing direction or movement) are the three basic elements of Ti. Every technique, every Kata, every block, every attack or counter attack are just a combination of "Tsuki, Keri, Tenshin". For example, a block doesn't really exist, because it is only a combination of these elements. Hence, "Tsuki, Keri, Tenshin" are the building blocks of the Shinjinbukan System.
To use, to handle, to manipulate, to employ, to need, to want. The term tsukau is used to indicate that a technique has a real life application rather that a theoretical example.
An Okinawan weapon used in Kobudō. It resembles a police baton with a handle. However, in all traditional weapon styles tunfa is practiced with a set of two – one on each hand. It originated in Okinawa as an improvised weapon, which was a wooden handle taken from a millstone used for grinding grains.
Lit. The Tang (China) hand.
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Shinjinbukan.com is a free resource sponsored by the Shinjinbukan Foundation. The statements on this site represent my own personal understanding of Onaga Yoshimitsu Kaichō's teachings. Therefore, I do not claim to speak on his behalf. As one more of his students, I am eager to share his living and oral traditions.