Numbers | General | Standing Forms | Blocks | Hand Techniques (punches and other striking techniques) | Kicks | Sparring | Throwing Techniques

  • Pronunciation keys of Japanese terms are given in parentheses.
  • How to read Japanese in English alphabet (rōmaji):
    English vowels a=ah, i=ee, u=oo, e=eh and o=oh
  • A macron or a line over a vowel indicates that it is pronounced for twice the length of the vowel without a macron or a line. Sometimes an “h” is added instead, as in Mr. Ohshima’s name. The first “o” in Mr. Ono’s name, on the other hand, is not lengthened. Ohno and Ono are two different names. However, these sounds are just approximations and there are some exceptions.
  • Please note that the pronunciation keys given here are only approximations and are primarily designed for the members in the U.S. and Canada. They may not necessarily be helpful for the members of international affiliates.
  • Hiroko Mori has recorded each term twice — first slowly, then natural speed. Click each Japanese term to hear the recording.


One ichi (ee-chee)
Two ni (nee)
Three san (sahn)
Four shi (shee)
Five go (goh)
Six roku (roh-koo)
Seven shichi (shee-chee)
Eight hachi (hah-chee)
Nine ku (koo) / kyū (kyoo)
Ten (joo)


Head instructor/Master instructor (of an organization) *(see Notes at the end) shihan (shee-hahn)
Instructor *(see Notes at the end) sensei (sehn-seh-ee)
Training hall dōjō (doh-joh)
Training uniform keiko gi (keh-ee-koh gee)/gi (gee)
Training uniform belt obi (oh-bee)
Vocal expulsion of air kiai (kee-ah-ee)
Black Belt rank dan (dahn)
White/Brown belt rank kyū (kyoo)
Meditation mokusō (moh-koo-soh)
Bow rei (reh-ee)/lei (leh-ee)
Assume stance kamaete (kah-mah-eh-teh)
Get ready yōi (yoh-ee)
Begin hajime (hah-jee-meh)
Pivot/assume opposite direction kaette (kah-eht-teh)
Stop yame (yah-meh)
At ease yasume (yah-soo-meh)
Basic training kihon (kee-hohn)
Formal exercise/forms kata (kah-tah)
Sparring kumite (koo-mee-teh)
Escape techniques torite (toh-ree-teh)
Throwing techniques nagewaza (nah-geh-wah-zah)
Foot sweep ashibarai (ah-shee-bah-rah-ee)
Maximum effectiveness/ focus of techniques kime (kee-meh)
Pulling hand hikite (hee-kee-teh)
Breathing center in lower abdomen tanden (tahn-dehn)
Getting into the opponent irimi (ee-ree-mee)
Elbow Attacks enpi (ehn-pee)/ empi(ehm-pee)
Jumping-in attack tobikomi (toh-bee-koh-mee)
Continuous Techniques renzoku waza (rehn-zoh-koo wah-zah)
Punching board makiwara (mah-kee-wah-rah)
Staff (boh)

Standing Forms:

Tachikata (tah-chee-kah-tah) Tachi (tah-chee) changes to dachi (dah-chee) when used after other words.
Front stance zenkutsu-dachi (zehn-koo-tsoo-dah-chee)
Back stance kōkutsu-dachi (koh-koo-tsoo-dah-chee)
Horse riding stance kiba-dachi (kee-bah-dah-chee)
Immovable stance fudō-dachi (foo-doh-dah-chee)
Cat stance nekoashi-dachi (neh-koh-ah-shee-dah-chee)
Natural stance shizentai (shee-zehn-tah-ee)
Close-leg stance heisoku-dachi (heh-ee-soh-koo-dah-chee)
Half-facing stance hanmi-dachi (hahn-mee-dah-chee)
Open-leg stance hachiji-dachi (hah-chee-jee-dah-chee)


Uke (oo-keh) Harai (hah-rah-ee) changes to barai (bah-rah-ee) when used after other words. Harai is one kind of block.
Downward block gedan-barai (geh-dahn-bah-rah-ee)
Rising block age-uke (ah-geh-oo-keh)
Forearm block ude-uke (oo-deh-oo-keh)
Hammer block tetsui-uke (teh-tsoo-ee-oo-keh)/tettsui-uke (teht-tsoo-ee-oo-keh)
Knife-hand block shutō-uke (shoo-toh-oo-keh)
Cross-arm block jūji-uke (joo-jee-oo-keh)
Two-hand block morote-uke (moh-roh-the-oo-keh)
Palm-heel block teishō-uke (teh-ee-shoh-oo-keh)

Hand Techniques

Te Waza (teh-wah-zah) Thrust tsuki (tsoo-kee) changes to zuki (zoo-kee) when used after other words.
Lunge punch oi-zuki (oh-ee-zoo-kee)
Reverse punch gyaku-zuki (gyah-koo-zoo-kee)
Jab maete (mah-eh-teh)
Continuous punches alternating hands bari-bari (bah-ree-bah-ree)
Continuous punching attacks renzoku-zuki (rehn-zoh-koo-zoo-kee)/ren-zuki (rehn-zoo-kee)
Punching with horse riding stance kibadachi-zuki (kee-bah-dah-chee-zoo-kee)
Double punch morote-zuki (moh-roh-teh-zoo-kee)
Hook punch kagi-zuki (kah-gee-zoo-kee)
Palm-heel teishō (teh-ee-shoh)
Rising punch age-zuki (ah-geh-zoo-kee)

Striking Techniques

Uchi Waza (oo-chee-wah-zah)
Back-fist strike uraken-uchi (oo-rah-kehn-oo-chee)
Bottom-fist strike tetsui-uchi (teh-tsoo-ee-oo-chee)/ tettsui-uchi (teht-tsoo-ee-oo-chee)
Knife-hand strike shutō-uchi (shoo-toh-oo-chee)
Spear-hand nukite (noo-kee-teh)
Two-finger spear-hand nihon-nukite (nee-hohn-noo-kee-teh)
Fore-fist seiken (seh-ee-kehn)
Fore-knuckle fist hiraken (hee-rah-kehn)
One-knuckle fist ippon-ken (eep-pohn-kehn)
Middle finger/knuckle fist nakadaka-ken (nah-kah-dah-kah-kehn)
Ridge-hand haitō (hah-ee-toh)


Keri (keh-ree) Keri (keh-ree) changes to geri (geh-ree) when used after other words.
Front kick mae-geri (mah-eh-geh-ree)
Round kick mawashi-geri (mah-wah-shee-geh-ree)
Side-thrust kick yokogeri-kekomi (yoh-koh-geh-ree-keh-koh-mee)
Side-up kick yokogeri-keage (yoh-koh-geh-ree-keh-ah-geh)
Crescent kick mikazuki-geri (mee-kah-zoo-kee-geh-ree)
Stamping kick fumikomi (foo-mee-koh-mee)
Rear kick ushiro-geri hiro_geri.mp3″> (oo-shee-roh-geh-ree)
Double front kick nidan-geri (nee-dahn-geh-ree)
Flying front kick tobi-geri (toh-bee-geh-ree)
Flying side-thrust kick tobi-yokogeri (toh-bee-yoh-koh-geh-ree)
Front kick with front leg maeashi-geri (mah-eh-ah-shee-geh-ree)
Front-thrust kick maeashi-kekomi (mah-eh-ah-shee-keh-koh-mee)
Continuous kicks renzoku-geri (rehn-zoh-koo-geh-ree)
Foot edge sokutō (soh-koo-toh)
Heel kakato (kah-kah-toh)
Kneecap hizagashira (hee-zah-gah-shee-rah)


Kumite (koo-mee-teh) Kumite (koo-mee-teh) often becomes gumite (goo-mee-teh) when used after other words.
Basic one-time sparring kihon ippon gumite (kee-hohn eep-pohn goo-mee-teh)
Free one-time sparring jiyū-ippon gumite (jee-yoo-eep-pohn goo-mee-teh)
Three-time sparring sanbon gumite (sahn-bohn goo-mee-teh)
Five-time sparring gohon gumite (goh-hohn goo-mee-teh)
Free-style jiyū kumite (jee-yoo koo-mee-teh)
Upper body jōdan (joh-dahn)
Middle body chūdan (choo-dahn)
Lower body gedan (geh-dahn)
Distance, timing, and other things between opponents ma (mah)
Match shiai (shee-ah-ee)
Bow rei (reh-ee) / lei (leh-ee)
One point match shōbu ippon (shoh-boo eep-pohn)
Begin hajime (hah-jee-meh)
Stop yame (yah-meh)
Clash aiuchi (ah-ee-oo-chee)
I award no point torimasen (toh-ree-mah-sehn)
Continue tsuzukete (tsoo-zoo-keh-teh)
One more time mō ichido (moh ee-chee-doh)
End of match soko made (soh-koh mah-deh) / sore made (soh-reh mah-deh)
Half-point waza ari (wah-zah ah-ree)
Point ippon (eep-pohn)
Two half-points equal one point waza ari awasete ippon (wah-zah ah-ree ah-wah-seh-teh eep-pohn)
Draw hikiwake (hee-kee-wah-keh)
Red aka (ah-kah)
White shiro (shee-roh)
Red is the winner aka no kachi (ah-kah noh kah-chee)
Referee shinpan (sheen-pahn) / shimpan (sheem-pahn)

Throwing Techniques

Nagewaza (nah-geh-wah-zah)
to topple a folding screen Byōbudaoshi (byoh-boo-dah-oh-shee)
spinning top Komanage (koh-mah-nah-geh)
encircle the neck Kubiwa (koo-bee-wah)
half wheel Katawaguruma (kah-tah-wah-goo-roo-mah)
‘v’ turning swallow Tsubamegaeshi (tsoo-bah-meh-gah-eh-shee)
to spear a ball Yaridama (yah-ree-dah-mah)
to push off a cliff Taniotoshi (tah-nee-oh-toh-shee)
to encircle with the arm Udewa (oo-deh-wah)
to hammer upside down Sakatsuchi (sah-kah-tsoo-chee)
Performer of the technique tori (toh-ree)
Receiver of the technique uke (oo-keh)
Falling techniques ukemi (oo-keh-mee)

For more information on nagewaza, please refer to Karate-Dō Kyōhan, pages 227-232.


When Shihan or Sensei is used as an honorific or a title, there are a few important things one needs to be aware of:

  • Shihan or Sensei is attached to the end of the person’s family name, e.g., Ohshima Shihan (not Shihan Ohshima), Ohshima Sensei (not Sensei Ohshima)
  • According to the Japanese culture, it is not appropriate to call oneself Shihan or Sensei, or introduce oneself with the title Shihan or Sensei, e.g., Instructor John Doe shouldn’t call himself Shihan, Sensei, Doe Shihan or Doe Sensei. His students can, but he shouldn’t.
  • The same thing applies to the honorific san (meaning Mr., Mrs., or Miss). Mr. John Doe shouldn’t call himself Doe-san or John Doe-san. San can be attached only to the end of others’ names.

Revised and adapted by Hiroko Mori (September 2004, audio added October 2009)
Audio voice recordings by Hiroko Mori. Conversion to MP3 and linkages by John Schoneboom.