Glossary

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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.

Numbers

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)

General

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)

Blocks

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)

Kicks

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)

Sparring:

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.

*Notes

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, updated to HTML5 Sept 2014)
Audio voice recordings by Hiroko Mori. Conversion to MP3 and linkages by John Schoneboom & Mike Lyon.