Japanese and English Terminology

In keeping with the traditional nature of our system, Japanese terms are used in practice. You are expected to recognize the instructions routinely given during class and to learn the Japanese and English names for all the techniques you are taught. The following are terms that should be familiar at the level of nanakyu (yellow belt); there are many others, but these represent the basis of karatedo training.


Keoskite                    Attention

Rei                         Bow

Hajime                      Begin

Mawate                      Turn around

Yame                        Stop (immediately)

Tome                        Return to original location

Yoi                         Return to ready stance

Tachi zen                   Standing meditation

Zazen                       Seated meditation

Seiza                       Formal seated position (kneeling)

Agura                       Informal seated position

                                              (feet in front)


1        ichi                  6        roku

2        ni                    7        shichi

3        san                   8        hachi

4        shi                   9        ku

5        go                    10       ju


Onigashimasu                Please teach me.

Gokorosan                   Thank you for doing what was 


Domo arrigato gozai-imasu   Thank you very much.

Osu (Oosss!)                Let's train hard and persevere!

Hai                         Yes

Iie (ee yeh)                No

Ohiyo gozai-imasu           Good morning.

Konnichi wa                 Good day.

Kon bon wa                  Good evening (after dark)


Kihon waza                  Basic techniques

Kata                        Formal exercises

Kumite                      Sparring

Kubudo                      Weapons training

Ippon kumite                One-step sparring

Renzoku kumite              Free sparring

TACHI WAZA (Theory and practice of standing)

Zenkutsu dachi              Front-leaning stance

Kokutsu dachi               Back-leaning stance

Kiba dachi                  Horse-riding stance

Neko ashi dachi             Cat stance

Heisoku dachi               Formal attention stance

Musubi dachi                Informal attention stance

Yoi dachi                   Ready stance

Teiji dachi                 T stance

Reinoji dachi               L stance

UKE WAZA (Theory and practice of defense)

Age uke                     Rising block

Gedan barai                 Downward parry

Uchi uke                    Middle block (outside of forearm)

Soto uke                    Middle block (inside of forearm)

Shuto uke                   Knifehand block

Heiwan uke                  High forearm block

Osae uke                    Pressing block

Morote uke                  Supported block

Juji uke                    Cross block

Kakiwake uke                Wedge block

TSUKI WAZA (Theory and practice of punching)

Seiken                      Fist

Hon tsuki                   Frontal punch

Gyaku tsuki                 Reverse punch

Oi tsuki                    Lunge punch

Nidan tsuki                 Double punch

Gedan tsuki                 Punch to lower target

Chudan tsuki                Punch to middle target

Jodan tsuki                 Punch to upper target

GERI WAZA (Theory and practice of kicking)

Ashi                        Foot

Kekomi                      Thrusting kick

Keage                       Snapping kick

Mae geri                    Front kick

Yoko geri                   Side kick

Mawashi geri                Roundhouse kick

Mikazuki geri               Cresant kick

Ushiro geri                 Back kick

Tobi geri                   Jumping kick

Kin geri                    Groin kick

Ago geri                    Chin kick

UCHI WAZA (Theory and practice of striking)

Shuto uchi                  Knifehand strike

Hiiji uchi or empi uchi     Elbow strike

Hiza uchi                   Knee strike

Nukite uchi                 Spearhead strike

Tettsui uchi                Hammerfist strike

Uraken uchi                 Backfist strike

UKEMI WAZA (Theory and practice of falling)

KANSETSU WAZA (Theory and practice of joint techniques)

NAGE WAZA (Theory and practice of throwing techniques)


Budo                        Way of martial arts

Dojo                        Training gym (place of the Way)

Bushido                     Way of the samurai (bushi)

Gi                          Practice uniform

Taitaikyo                   Dojo etiquette

Kohai                       A student junior to oneself

Sempai                      Senior student

Yudansha                    Black belt

Sensei                      Teacher

Uke                         One who receives a technique

Tore                        One who executes a technique

Ai uchi                     Mutual killing

Ai nuke                     Mutual preservation

Bunkai                      Applications of kata techniques

Irimi                       To enter into an attack

Tenkan                      To turn and dissipate an attack

Tai sabaki                  To evade and counterattack

Kuzushi                     Balance, body alignment

Tanden or hara              Center of the body

Miai                        Distancing

Musubi                      Harmony

Gedan                       Low target (groin)

Chudan                      Middle target (solar plexus)

Jodan                       High target (lower part of face)

Ki                          Spirit, energy, life force, mind

Kiai                        Spirit-unifying shout

Kime                        Focus of power

Isshin                      One heart or mind

Zanshin                     Reflecting heart or mind

Mushin                      No heart or mind

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