Glossary of Karate Terminology

This page contains a brief glossary of some of the more commonly used Japanese terminology that are used during training.  The club instructors will help you to understand their meanings and the pronunciations.


General Terms

Japanese Translation Japanese Translation
Dojo Training Hall Dojo Kun Dojo code
Sensei Instructor Seiza Kneel
Rei Bow Yoi Ready
Migi Right Hidari Left
Kamae-te Move to ready position Hajime Start/begin
Mawatte Turn Yame Finish/stop
Gi Karate suit Obi Belt
Kime Focus Kiai Martial shout
Kihon Basic techniques Kata Formal exercises
Kumite Sparring Jodan Head
Chudan Middle body Gedan Lower body
Zanshin Martial state of mind or awareness Oss Respectful greeting or acknowledgment or understanding of a command


Japanese Translation Japanese Translation
Heiko dachi Natural stance Heisoku dachi Feet together stance
Musubi dachi Informal stance Zenkutsu dachi Front stance
Kiba dachi Straddle stance Shiko dachi Open leg/Sumo stance
Kokutsu dachi Back stance


Japanese Translation Japanese Translation
Gedan Barai Downward block Age Uke Rising block
Soto Uke Outside block Uchi Uke Inside block
Shuto uke Knife hand block Tate Shuto uke Vertical knife hand block
Nagashi uke Sweeping block Haishu uke Back hand block
Empi uke Elbow block Juji uke X block
Morote uke Augmented block Kakewake uke Wedge block


Japanese Translation Japanese Translation
Kara/Choku tsuki Straight punch Oi tsuki Stepping punch
Kizami tsuki Front hand punch Gyaku tsuki Reverse punch
Kagi tsuki Hook punch Ren tsuki Two punch combination
Sanbon tsuki Three punch combination


Japanese Translation Japanese Translation
Age empi uchi Rising elbow strike Yoko empi uchi Side elbow strike
Mawashi empi uchi Round elbow strike Ushiro empi uchi Reverse elbow strike
Tate empi uchi Downward elbow strike Shuto uchi Knife hand strike
Uraken uchi Back fist strike Tetsui uchi Hammer fist strike
Nukite Spear hand thrust Teisho uchi Palm heel strike
Haito uchi Ridge hand strike


Japanese Translation Japanese Translation
Mae geri Front kick Yoko geri keage Side snap kick
Yoko geri kekomi Side thrust kick Mawashi geri Roundhouse kick
Ushiro geri Back kick Hiza geri Knee kick
Ren geri Kicking combinations stepping between Kicks Nidan geri Two kicks with same leg without step between


Japanese Translation Japanese Translation
Sanbon Kumite Three step sparring Gohon Kumite Five step sparring
Kihon Ippon Kumite Basic one-step sparring Jiyu Ippon Kumite Semi-free style sparring
Kaishi Ippon Kumite Reaction sparring Jiyu Kumite Free style sparring