Karate Terminology 101

CONTENTS

COUNTING KICKING TECHNIQUE SOME BASIC TERMS
BASIC TECHNIQUE HAND TECHNIQUE OTHER WORDS AND PHRASES
STANCES BLOCKING TECHNIQUE  

 

COUNTING
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1.   Ichi (ee-chee)- One 11.  Ju Ichi (joo ee-chee)- Eleven
2.  Ni (nee)- Two 12.  Ju Ni (joo nee)- Twelve
3.  San (san)- Three 13.  Ju San (joo san)- Thirteen
4.  Shi (she)- Four 14.  Ju Shi (joo she)- Fourteen
5.  Go (go)- Five 15.  Ju Go (joo go)- Fifteen
6.  Roku (row-ku)- Six 16.  Ju Roku (joo row-ku)- Sixteen
7.  Shichi (see-chee)- Seven 17.  Ju Shichi (joo see-chee)- Seventeen
8.  Hachi (ha-chee)- Eight 18.  Ju Hachi (joo ha-chee)- Eighteen
9.  Ku (koo)- Nine 19.  Ju Ku (joo koo)- Nineteen
10.  Ju (joo)- Ten 20.  Ni Ju (nee joo)- Twenty


KIHON WAZA (key-hone wah-zah)-BASIC TECHNIQUE

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Gedan Barai (geh-dahn bah-rye)- downward block
Jodan Uke (jo-dahn oo-key) - upward block
Nai Hanchi Dachi (niee hahn-chee dah-chee)- Horse Stance. Both feet will move out to the side of the body instead of front or back. Pretend that you are riding a horse. Once the legs are out to the side, bend the knees and drop the buttocks closer to the floor. Both feet should be pointing forward. Keep your back straight.
Neko Ashi Dachi (nee-koh dah-chee)- This name means "cat stance". Stand with your feet together. Point one straight and turn the other foot to an angle (45 angle). Take the foot that is straight and move it out one step, letting only the ball of the foot touch the floor. Now bend the back leg so that at least 80% of your weight is on it. From this position, you should be able to lift your front leg and balance on your back leg.
Moro Ashi Dachi (moor-oh aah-she dah-chee) Fighting stance.
Seisan Dachi (say-san dah-chee)- Forward Stance. This stance is similar to the zenkutsu dachi, but it's length is shorter. Both feet should be turned slightly inward.
Shotei Uke (sho-tye oo-key)- palmheel block
Shuto Uke (shoo-to oo-key - knifehand block
Soto Uke (so-toh oo-key)- outward middle forearm block
Uchi Uke (oo-chee oo-key) - inward block
Yaku Zuki (ya-koo zoo-key) - reverse Punch

DACHI (da-chee) - STANCES
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The word dachi (da-chee) will usually be used when referring to a stance.
Fudo Dachi (foo-do dah-chee)- Immovable stance. This stance is formed from the front stance (zenkutsu dachi) by bending the back leg slightly and twisting the hips so that the trunk is rotated away from a full front position.
Gankaku Dachi (gahn-kah-koo) - Crane Stance, sometimes referred to as Tsuru Ashi Dachi and Sagi Ashi Dachi.
Hachiji Dachi
(ha-chee-jee dah-chee)- Natural Stance. Feet shoulder width apart and hands slightly out in front of you.
Heisoku Dachi (hay-sow-koo dah-chee)- Feet Together Stance. Feet together and hands on your side. 
Iaigoshi Dachi
(ee-yii go-she dah-chee)- Kneeling stance. One foot on the floor and the opposite knee on the floor, both pointing in the same direction.
Ippon Ashi Dachi (ee-pon aah-she dah-chee)- one legged stances.
Kokutsu Dachi (ko-kot-sue dah-chee)- Back stance. Keep feet in a similar position to zenkutsu. Most of your weight is on the back leg.
Kosa Dachi (co-sah dah-chee)- Hooked or crossed legged stance. The feet will be together, little toe to little toe. One knee will fit into the back of the other knee. Both knees will stay bent.
Moro Ashi Dachi (moor-oh aah-she dah-chee) Fighting stance.
Musubi Dachi (moo-sue-bee dah-chee)- a heisoku dachi with the toes pointed outward.
Nai Hanchi Dachi (niee hahn-chee dah-chee)- Horse Stance. Both feet will move out to the side of the body instead of front or back. Pretend that you are riding a horse. Once the legs are out to the side, bend the knees and drop the buttocks closer to the floor. Both feet should be pointing forward. Keep your back straight.
Neko Ashi Dachi (nee-koh dah-chee)- This name means "cat stance". Stand with your feet together. Point one straight and turn the other foot to an angle (45 angle). Take the foot that is straight and move it out one step, letting only the ball of the foot touch the floor. Now bend the back leg so that at least 80% of your weight is on it. From this position, you should be able to lift your front leg and balance on your back leg.
Seisan Dachi (say-san dah-chee)- Forward Stance. This stance is similar to the Front Stance (zenkutsu dachi), but it's length is shorter. Both feet should be turned slightly inward.
Seiza (say-zah)- Sitting, kneeling. Both feet should be underneath the buttocks with both great toes touching. Hands can either on the upper thigh or on the knee.
Shiko dachi (she-koh dah-chee)- This stance is performed the same as the nai hanchi dachi but instead of the feet pointing straight forward, they are pointed out and away from the body.
Zenkutsu dachi (zen-koo-tsue dah-chee)- Front Stance. One leg forward and one leg back, shoulder width apart. The front knee will be bent until you can't see your toes and the back leg will be straight. Both feet should be pointing forward.

TE WAZA (tay wah-zah) -HAND TECHNIQUES
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Age Zuke (ah-geh zoo-key) rising punch
Awase Zuki
(ah-wah-say zoo-key) - U Punch. Also referred to as Morote Zuki.
Empi Uchi
(em-pee oo-chee)- elbow strike.
Gyaku Zuki (gya-koo zoo-key)- reverse punch.
Haishu (hi-shoo)- back of hand.
Haito (hi-toe)- knife hand.
Hiji Ate (he-gee ah-tay)- elbow smash.
Hike Te (hee-key tay)- withdrawing hand, the hand on the hip.
Kaku Zuki (kah-koo zoo-key)- square punch, ex. Nai Hanchi Shodan.
Kakuto (kah-koo-toe)- bent wrist.
Kentsui (ken-t-sue-ee)- hammer fist.
Morote Zuki (moh-row-tay zoo-key)- double punch.
Nukite (noo-key-tay)- spear hand.
Oi Zuki (oh-ee zoo-key)- lunge punch.
Seiken Zuki (say-ken zoo-key)- straight punch.
Shi Zuki (shee zoo-key)- beak thrust.
Shuto (shoo-toe)- knife hand
Tate Zuki (tah-tay zoo-key)- vertical punch.
Teisho (tay-show) OR Shotei (show-tay)- palm heel.
Tettsui (tay-t-sue-ee)- hammer fist.
Tsuki Te (tsu-key tah)- hand strike
Uchi Te (oo-chee tay)- the hand doing the striking.
Ura Zuki (oo-rah zoo-key)- close punch.
Uraken (ree-kin)- back fist.
Yama Zuki (yah-mah zoo-key)- U punch.
Zuki (zoo-key)- punch.


UKE (oo-key)- BLOCKS
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Age Uke (Ah-geh oo-key) upward block
Awase Uke
(ah-wah-say oo-key) - joined Hand Block
Chudan Uke
(chew-dahn oo-key)- outward middle forearm block
Gedan Barai (geh-dahn bah-rye)- downward block
Hasami Uke (ha-sah-may oo-key)- scissor block.
Jodan Uke (jo-dahn oo-key) - upward block
Kosa Uke (co-sah oo-key)- cross block.
Morote Uke (moe-row-teh oo-key)- augmented forearm block, wedge block
Shotei Uke (sho-tye oo-key)- palmheel block
Shuto Uke (shoo-toh oo-key - knifehand block
Soto Uke (so-toh oo-key)- inward middle forearm block
Uchi Uke (oo-chee oo-key) - inward block


GERI WAZA (ah-she wah-zah)-KICKING TECHNIQUES
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Geri (geh-rhee)- kick.
Fumakomi (foo-mah-ko-mee)- side stomp kick.
Kansetsu Geri (can-set-sue geh-rhee)- kicks aimed at joints.
Keage (key-ah-gay)- snap.
Kekomi (key-ko-mee)- thrust.
Mae Geri (mah-eh geh-rhee)- front kick.
Mae Geri Kakato (mah-eh geh-rhee kah-kah-toe)- front kick with the heel.
Mae Geri Koshi (mah-eh geh-rhee ko-she)- front kick with the ball of the foot.
Mawashi Geri (mah-wha-she geh-rhee)- round kick with the top of the foot.
Mawashi Geri Koshi (mah-wha-she geh-rhee ko-she)- round kick with the ball of the foot.
Mikazuki Geri (mik-ah zoo-key geh-rhee)- crescent kick.
Sokuto Geri (sow-koo-too geh-rhee)- side kick with the blade or edge of the foot.
Ushiro Geri (oo-she-row geh-rhee)- back kick.
Yoko Geri (yoh-koh geh-rhee)- side kick with the heel.

Parts of the Body
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Atama (ah-tah-mah)- head.
Ashi (ah-she)- foot and/or leg.
Empi (en-pe)- elbow
Hana (hah-nah)- nose
Hiji (he-gee)- elbow.
Hittsui (hit-sue-ee) OR Hiza (he-zah)- knee.
Kakato (kah-kah-toe)- heel
Hara (hah-rah)- In Japanese culture, the center of a persons being/consciousness. Located approximately two inches below the navel.
Karada (kah-rah-dah)- body
Ken (ken)- fist.
Koshi (ko-she)- ball of the foot
Kubi (koo-bee)- neck
Me (meh)- eye.
Mune (moo-nee)- chest.
Nodo (no-dough)- throat.
Shinki (sheen-key)- nerve.
Sokuto (sow-kow-too)- edge of the foot
Suigetsu (see-gets)- solar plexus
Te (tay)- hand.
Tekubi (tay-koo-bee)- wrist
Ude (oo-day)- forearm

BASIC TERMS
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The following basic terms can be used in different phrases or even to form sentences. If you have any questions about the pronunciation of any of these terms, please ask.
Age (ah-gay)- rising.
Anza (ah-n-zah)- cross leg sitting.
Ashi (ah-she)- foot and/or leg.
Atama (ah-tah-mah)- head.
Ate (ah-tay)- smash.
Atemi (ah-tay-mee)- concentrated destructive power.
Barai (bah-rye)- to parry.
Bogu (bo-goo)- protective equipment used during fighting or practicing with weapons.
Bu (boo)- military.
Budo (boo-doe)- military way or way of fighting (ex. Judo, Kendo, Kyudo, Karate-do, Kobudo).
Budoka (boo-doe-kha)- military art practitioner.
Bunkai (boon-ki)- hidden meaning, an interpretation of the techniques performed in kata.
Chikara (chee-kha-rha)- strength.
Chudan (chew-dahn)- middle, ex. chest and stomach area.
Chuden (chew-den)- intermediate level of instruction.  Usually when pertaining to bunkai instruction.
Do
(doe)- way.
Dojo (doe-joe)- school. Literally "place of the Way." Also "place of enlightenment." The place where we practice Karate. Traditional etiquette prescribes bowing in the direction of the designated front of the dojo (Shomen) whenever entering or leaving the dojo.
Embusen (em-boo-sen) - floor pattern of a given kata.

Empi (en-pe)- elbow
Gedan (geh-dahn)- low, ex. anything below the obi.
Genki (gehn-key)- vigor; energy.
Hajime (ha-gee-may)- begin.
Hana (hah-nah)- nose
Hanshi (hahn-shee) - "Master." An honorary title given to the highest Black Belt of an organization, signifying their understanding of their art.
Hara
(hah-rah)- In Japanese culture, the center of a persons being/consciousness. Located approximately two inches below the navel.
Hidari (he-dah-ray)- left.
Hiji (he-gee)- elbow.
Hittsui (hit-sue-ee) OR Hiza (he-zah)- knee.
Jodan (joe-dahn)- high, ex. the head.
Ju (joo)- flexibility.
Kakato (kah-kah-toe)- heel
Kamae (kah-may)- fighting posture.
Kan (con)- house or hall.
Karada (kah-rah-dah)- body
Karategi (kah-rah-teh-gee)- a uniform.
Karateka (kah-rah-teh-kah)- Someone who practices karate.
Kata (kah-tah)- The formal patterns that are the backbone of karate training. Kata develops form, style, balance, speed, and control. Kata trains the individual in alertness of mind and body.
Ken (ken)- fist.
Kenpo (kem-po) OR Kempo (kem-po)- "Law of the Fist"
Ki (key) OR Qi (key)- intrinsic energy, a hidden strength that everyone possesses.
Kiai (kee-ii)- "spirit joining".
Kiotsuke (key-oot-skay)- a command given to stand in musubi dachi (a heisoku dachi with the toes pointed outward and hands by your side).
Kobudo (ko-boo-doe)- weapons.
Koshi (ko-she)- ball of the foot
Kotekitae (koh-tey-key-tay)- a traditional method of body conditioning.
Kubi (koo-bee)- neck
Kumite (koo-me-tay)- fighting.
Kuzushi (koo-zoo-she)- to unbalance.
Kyu (quu)- the rank under black belt.
Kyusho (kuu-show)- striking point, vital point
Maai (mah-aye)- distancing.
Makiwara (mah-key-war)- a hard object used for striking, usually made of wood or braided straw, used to strengthen hands and improve focus.
Matte (mat-tay)- stop.
Mawate (may-wah-tay)- turn.
Me (meh)- eye.
Migi (me-gee)- right.
Mokuso (mok-so)- meditate.
Muchimi (moo-chee-me) To "stick" or "adhere" to an opponent without actually grabbing. Muchimi is mostly done with the forearms, though other parts of the body (in particular, the legs) are also used.
Mune
(moo-nee)- chest.
Nage (nah-gay)- throw.
Nodo (no-dough)- throat.
Obi (o-be)- belt.
Okinawa Te (o-key-nah-wah tay)- the original Okinawa fist art.
Okuden (oh-koo-den) - "Secret Teaching". Usually used in relation to instruction in bunkai.
Rei
(ray)- formal bowing.
Reigi Zaho (ray-gee zah-hoe)- courtesy or manners.
Renshu (rin-shoe)- to train, practice, drill, etc.
Ryu (roo)- school.
Ryu-ha (roo-ha)- style.
Senpai (sin-pie)- senior student
Sensei (sin-say)- teacher or "those who have gone before"
Shihan (shee-hahn)- "teacher of teachers" senior instructor or dojo director
Shinki (sheen-key)- nerve.
Shita (she-tah)- down.
Shoden (show-den) - basic level of instruction. Usually used in relation to instruction in bunkai.
Skashi
(skah-she)- to avoid.
Sokuto (sow-kow-too)- edge of the foot
Suigetsu (see-gets)- solar plexus
Tachimas (tah-key-mahs)- to rise or stand up.
Tai Sabaki (tie sah-bah-key)- body movement
Te (tay)- hand.
Tekubi (tay-koo-bee)- wrist
Tori (toe-ree)- a term given to the "aggressor" when working with a partner.
Tuite (too-it-tay)- grappling techniques
Ude (oo-day)- forearm
Uke (oo-key)- a term given to the "defender" when working with a partner.
Ukemi (oo-kee-me)- break fall.
Uye (oo-ee)- up.
Waza (wah-zah)- technique.
Yame (yah-may)- stop.
Yoi (yoo-ee)- command given to stand in ready stance.
Za Rei (zah ray)- kneeling bow.


KUMITE (Koo-me-teh) Sparring Terms
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Aiuchi (a-ee-oo-chee) - "Simultaneous Scoring Technique." No point awarded to either contestant. Referee brings fists together in front of the chest.
Aka (ah-kah) - Red
Shiro (shee-roh) - White
Aka (or Shiro) Ippon (ee-pohn) - one full point.  "Red (White) Scores Ippon." The Referee obliquely raises his arm on the side of the winner
Aka (Shiro) No Kachi -"Red (White) Wins!" The Referee obliquely raises his arm on the side of the winner.
Ashi Barai -  Foot Sweep
Ashi Waza - Name given to all leg and foot techniques
Atemi Waza - Striking techniques that are normally used in conjunction with grappling and throwing techniques.
Atenai Yoni - "Warning without penalty." This may be imposed for attended minor infractions or for the first instance of a minor infraction. The Referee raises one hand in a fist with the other hand covering it at chest level and shows it to the offender.
Atoshi Baraku
-
"A little more time left." An audible signal will be given by the time keeper 30 seconds before the actual end of the bout.
Attate Iru - "Contact"
Chui - "Warning"

Encho-Sen - "Extension." After a draw, the match goes into overtime. Referee reopens match with command "Shobu Hajime."
Fujubun - "Not enough power"
Fukushin Shugo - "Judges Conference"
Hajime - "Begin". A command given to start a given drill, Kata, or Kumite.

Hansoku - "Foul." This is imposed following a very serious infraction. It results in the opponent's score being raised to Sanbon. Hansoku is also invoked when the number of Hansoku-Chui and Keikoku imposed raise the opponent's score to Sanbon. The Referee points with his index finger to the face of the offender at a 45 degree angle and announces a victory for the opponent.
Hansoku Chui - Warning with an Ippon penalty. This is a penalty in which Ippon is added to the opponent's score. Hansoku-Chui is usually imposed for infractions for which a Keikoku has previously been given in that bout. The Referee points with his index finger to the abdomen of the offender of the offender parallel to the floor.
Hantei - "Judgment." Referee calls for judgment by blowing his whistle and the Judges render their decision by flag signal.

OTHER WORDS AND PHRASES
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...o misete kudasaimasu ka?- Can you show me...
...o oshiete kudasaimasu ka?- Can you tell me...
...wa doko desu ka (wah doh-koh des kah)- Where is....
Arigato (ah-ree-gah-toe)- thank you.
Chaku-gan (cha-koo-gan)- focused eye contact.
Dekimasen (day-kee-mah-sen)- I cannot do (it).
Dekimashita (day-kee-mahssh-tah)- I did (it).
Dekimasu (day-kee-mahss)- I can do (it).
Dekimasu ka? (day-kee-mahss kah)- Can you do (it)?
Desu ka (des kah)- is it.
Do itashimashite (doe-ee-tah-she-mahssh-tay)- You're welcome.
Domo arigato gozaimasu (doe-moe ah-ree-gah-toe go-zi-mahs)- thank you very much.
Genki desu. Anata wa? (gen-kee dess ah-nah-tah wah)- I'm fine. And you?
Gomennasai (go-men-nah-sigh)- Sorry.
Hai (hi)- yes
Hanshi (hahn-she)- master, a martial arts master of 9th Dan or higher who is recognized as the head of a particular system.
Ie desu ka? (eee des kah)- Is it okay?
Iie (ee-a)- no
Irasshaimase! (ee-rah-shy-mah-say)- Welcome!
Joseki (joe-say-key)- upper side; for yudansha (black belt).
Kaiseki (ki-say-key)- analysis of kata.
Kamiza (kah-me-zah)- upper seat; senior side of practice area.
Kime (ke-mee)- focusing technique.
Konbon wa (cone-bon wah)- good evening
Konnichi wa (cone-ich-ee wah)- good afternoon
Kore o yakushite kudasaimasu ka?- Could you translate this?
Kore wa doyo imi desuka?- What does this mean?
Kore wa ii desu ka? (koe-ray wah ee dess kah)- Is this okay?
Koshi o ireru (ko-she o ee-re-roo)- "putting in the hip."
Kyohan (key-hahn) OR Kihon (key-hone) - basics (punching, kicking, blocking, etc.)
Kyoshi (key-o-she)- an expert teacher or senior teacher in the martial arts who is awarded their "senior teachers license". Sometimes also referred to as Shihan (she-hahn).
Menjo (men-joe) - rank certification.
Mo ichi-do (moe ee-chee-doe)- one more time
Mudansha (moo-dhan-sha)- kyu rank under yudansha.
O-genki desu ka? (Oh-gen-kee dess-kah)- How are you?
Ohayo gozaimasu (o-hi-o go-zi-mahs)- good morning.
Onegai shimasu (o-neh-guy she-mahs)- please teach us.
Oyasumi nasai (o-yaa-soo-me naa-sii)- good night.
Renshi (ren-she)- a polished expert, a martial artist who is 4th Dan or higher and is awarded their "teachers license".
Reshiki (ray-she-key)- ceremony.
Senpai ni mawate (sin-pie nee may-wah-tay)- turn to senpai
Senpai ni rei (sin-pie nee ray)- bow to the senpai
Sensei ni mawate (sin-say nee may-wah-tay)- turn to sensei.
Sensei ni rei (sin-say nee ray)- bow to the sensei
Shimoseki (she-moe-say-key)- lower side; for mudansha (below black belt).
Shimoza (she-moe-zah)- lower seat; practice area for kyu ranks.
Shinden ni rei (shin-den nee ray)- All bow to those who came before us.
Sore wa ii desu. (soe-ray wah eee dess)- That's fine.
Sumimasen (sue-me-mah-sen)- excuse me; pardon me.
Wakarimasen (wah-car-ee-mah-sin)- I don't understand.
Wakarimasu (wah-car-ee-mas)- I understand.
Wakarimasu ka? (wah-car-ee-mas kah)- Do you understand?
Wakarimashita (wah-kah-ree-mahss kah)- I understood; I understand.
Yudansha (you-dhan-sha)- black belt and above.

 

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