Martial Arts Glossary

Martial Art Glossary (Currently under revision)

This is a general glossary of martial art terms and definitions. As a martial art practitioner, one must study and become familiar with various martial art terms, definitions and styles. Whether your martial art style is Karate, Kung-Fu, Capoeria, Judo, Ju-Jitsu, Aikido, etc., our terms and definitions should give you information that should be of benefit as you continue your journey of self-development.



Arnis-Form of Filipino stick fighting.


Black Belt-Typically the highest rank of many martial art systems. It is important to note that some martial art styles and systems have different ranking methods and that black belt is not always the highest rank. In addition, for the systems that have black belt as the highest rank, typically there are also additional levels called degrees which signify the level of black belt ranking.


Capoeira– Brazilian form of martial arts known for its dance like movements and acrobatic kicks.

Chi– Known in th e martial arts and in the eastern medicine as the energy source in the body that continually moves in cycles throughout the day.

Chi-Gung-Internal martial art practiced in China, Tibet and other countries. Primarily a science/art dealing with utilizing internal chi energy.

Chin-Na– Form of martial art from China, known for the manipulation of joint locks and pressure points to incapacitate the opponent.

Commitment-Term used to define or measure your intention behind a strike or technique.



Escrima– Form of Filipino fighting art that uses sticks and open hand techniques.



Gi– Japanese for uniform that a martial art student wears in class.




Judo– Japanese martial art that is considered the sport part of Ju-Jitsu. The sport known for its heavy emphasis on throws.

Ju-Jitsu– Japanese martial art that utilizes locks, throws, punches, kicks and pressure points.


Kali- Filipino martial art system

Kajukenbo– A martial art system developed in Hawaii in the 1940’s, which is a blend of Tang Soo Do, Judo, Ju-Jitsu, Kenpo Karate, Kung-Fu and Filipino fighting arts.

Karate– Means “empty hand” in Japanese. Modern karate has its origins in prior martial arts systems developed in both China and Japan. The subsequent blend of these martial influences first surfaced in Okinawa, after which it was brought to mainland Japan and gained in popularity during the first-half of the 20th century.

Kali– Filipino form of martial art.

Karate– Japanese term that means “empty hand”. In Chinese, the term means, “China’s Way”.

Kempo– Martial art system, of which James Mitose is considered one of the modern day founders and developers.

Kenpo– A name for multiple martial arts that developed in Hawaii due to cross-cultural exchange between practitioners of Ryukyuan martial arts, Chinese martial arts, Japanese martial arts and multiple additional influences.

Kung-Fu– A Chinese martial art system that has been developed over hundreds of years and has over numerous styles or branches. Kung-Fu can also be used in contexts completely unrelated to martial arts, and refers colloquially to any individual accomplishment or skill cultivated through long and hard work.


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