Japanese Terminology and Definitions used in Shotokan Karate

GENERAL TERMS

KarateEmpty Hands Karate DoThe Way of Karate
KaratekaPractitioner of Karate DojoSchool or training room
SenseiTeacher SempaiSenior
KohaiJunior KyuRank
GiUniform ObiBelt
HaiYes Osu"I understand and will try my best." Also used to show respect.
DoWay BudoWay of combat
ZanshinPoise and control KimeFocus
KihonFundamentals KiaiSpirit shout/focus of spiritual energy
KataPractice form EmbusenFloor pattern/lines of a kata
MaaiDistance BunkaiApplication (interpretation) of kata techniques
KumiteSparring/fighting Ippon kumiteOne-step sparring
Yakusoku kumite"Promise" premeditated sparring Gohon kumiteFive-step sparring
Jiyyu kumiteFree sparring WazaTechnique
DachiStance Tsuki (Zuki)Punch
UchiStrike UkeBlock
GeriKick Ashi-barai Foot sweep
KamaePosture Yori-ashi Sliding the feet
Tai-sabakiBody shifting Shotokan"House of Shoto" ; "pine sea"; pen name of Funakoshi.
DomoArigato Gozaimashita"Thank-you very much" Onegai Shimasu"I welcome you to train with me" Literally: " I make a request." Said to one's partner when initiating practice.

MAJOR CONCEPTS

Zanshin: Awareness; Continuing mind/heart - connotes "following through" a technique while maintaining awareness Sen: Initiative
Sen no sen: Seizing the initiative earlier; Attacking at the same moment your opponent attacks. Go no sen: Seizing the initiative later; Allowing your opponent to attack first so as to open up target for counter-attacks.
Sen sen no sen: Seizing the opponents sen no sen; Attacking before your opponent attacks-a preemptive attack Ikken Hissatsu: "To kill with one blow"
Karate ni sente nashi: Karate does not include the first move. Karate wa sente nari: Karate is the first move.
Shorin (kata): Quick movement, emphasizing speed Shorei (kata): Slow, strong movement, emphasizing strength
Sun-dome: Stopping a technique just prior to contact (three centimeters)   

COMMANDS

Narande: Line up Seiretsu: Line up by rank
Yoi: Ready Yame: Stop
Yasume: Relax (or ready position) Sensei ni: Face towards the teacher
Otaigai ni: Face towards each other Shomen ni: Face towards the front
Rei: Bow Seiza: Meditation position-kneeling
Age-te: Hands up (cover position) Mawatte: Turn around
Hajime: Begin Naore: Return to Shizen-tai

DIRECTIONS

Mae: Front Yoko: Side
Ushiro: Back Tate: Vertical
Mawashi: Round Jodan: Head high level
Chudan: Mid-high level Gedan: Low level; Down
Migi: Right Hidari: Left
Tobi: Jump Gyaku: Reverse
Age: Rising Uchi: Inner
Soto: Outer Otoshi: Dropping
Sokumen: Side   

DACHI WAZA (STANCES)

Kamae:Posture (Yoi) Heisoku dachi: Formal Attention Stance (Yoi)
Zenkutsu dachi: Front Stance Kokutsu dachi: Back Stance
Kiba dachi: Straddle Stance Fudo dachi: Fighting Stance
Musubi dachi: Informal Attention Stance (feet in a 'V") Hachiji dachi: Open-legged Stance (Yoi)
Shizen-tai dachi: Natural Stance Neko-ashi dachi:Cat Stance
Renoji dachi: "L" Stance Kosa dachi: Cross-legged Stance
Hangetsu dachi: Wide Hour-glass Stance Migi Ashi Orishiku: Right Leg Kneeling
Hidari Ashi Orishiku: Left Leg Kneeling   

UKE WAZA (BLOCKS)

Age uke: Rising block Gedan uke: Down block
Soto ude uke: Outside forearm block Uchi ude uke: Inside forearm block
Shuto uke: Knife block Morote uke: Augmented block
Kakiwaki uke: Reverse wedge block (Heian 4) Juji uke: X block
Kosa uke: Cross block (Uchi/gedan uke-Heian 3) Manji uke: Hi/low block (Heian 5)
Tate shuto uke: Vertical knife-hand block (Heian 3) Haishu uke: Back-hand block (Heian 5)
Empi uke (or Hiji uke): Elbow block (Heian 3) Osae uke: Pressing block (Heian 2, 3)
Otoshi uke: Dropping or falling block (Heian 2, 3) Nagashi Uke: Sweeping block (Tekki, Jion)
Haiwan Nagashi Uke: Sweeping back-arm block Te Nagashi Uke: Sweeping hand block (parry) (Heian 5)
Sukui Uke: Scooping block (Bassai, Chinte) Sokumen Awase Uke: Side combined block (Bassai-Dai)
Tsukami Uke: Grasping block (Bassai-Dai, Jion) Awase Shuto Age Uke: Combined rising knife-hand block (Kanku-Dai)
Ryowan Uchi Uke: Double inside block( Jion, Bassai-Sho) Seiryuto Uke: Ox-Jaw block

GERI WAZA (KICKS)

Mae geri keage: Front snap kick Mae geri kekomi: Front thrust kick
Yoko geri keage: Side snap kick Yoko geri kekomi: Side thrust kick
Mawashi geri: Round kick Ushiro geri: Back thrust kick
Fumikomi geri: Stomping kick (Heian 3, 5) Uchi mikazuki geri: Inside crescent kick
Soto mikazuki geri: Outside crescent kick Tobi geri: Flying kick
Name ashi geri: Returning wave kick (Tekki 1) Hiza geri: Knee kick/strike
Nidan geri: Double kick (Kanku-Dai)   

TSUKI WAZA (PUNCHES)

Oi tsuki: Lunge punch Gyaku tsuki: Reverse punch
Kizami tsuki: Jab Choku tsuki: Straight punch
Kagi tsuki: Hook punch Oi-gyaku tsuki: Lunging reverse punch
Ura tsuki: Close punch Morote tsuki: Parallel punch
Ren tsuki: Double punch San tsuki: Triple punch
Age tsuki: Rising punch Gedan tsuki: Downward punch
Yama tsuki: Wide "U" punch Awase tsuki: "U" punch
Otoshi tsuki: Dropping punch (Empi) Ippon Ken tsuki: One-knuckle fist punch (Hangetsu)

UCHI WAZA (Strikes)

Tettsui Hammer-fist strike Kumade Uchi: Bear Claw Strike
Uraken Uchi: Backfist Strike Hiraken Uchi: Foreknuckle Strike
Teisho Uchi: Palm Heel Strike Ippon Nukite Uchi: Single Finger Strike
Nihon Nukite Uchi: Two Finger Strike (Fork) Shuto Uchi: Knife Hand Strike
Soto Shuto Uchi: Outside Knife Hand Strike Uchi Shuto Uchi: Inside Knife Hand Strike
Shihon Nukite Uchi: Spear Hand Strike Gyaku Haito Uchi:Reverse Backfist Strike
Haito Uchi: Backfist Strike Empi Uchi: Elbow Strike
Mawashi Empi Uchi: Round Elbow Strike Mae Empi Uchi: Front Elbow Strike
Otoshi Empi Uchi: Downward Elbow Strike Ushiro Empi Uchi: Back Elbow Strike
Yoko Empi Uchi: Side Elbow Strike Yoko Mawashi Empi Uchi: Side Roundhouse Elbow Strike
Tate Empi Uchi: Upward Elbow Strike Hiza Age Ate: Rising Knee Strike
Washide Uchi: Eagle Beak Strike Koko Uchi: Tiger Mouth Strike
Haishu Uchi: Back Hand Strike   

KATA

Taikyoku: First Cause Heian: Peaceful mind
Tekki: Iron Knight Bassai: Storm the Fortress
Sho: Lesser, small Dai: Greater, big
Jion: Bhuddist temple name; Gratitude for the Bhudda (2nd Kyu) Kanku: To look at the sky (2nd Kyu)
Hangetsu: Crescent or Half moon (1st Kyu) Empi: Flying Swallow (1st Kyu)
Chinte: Extraordinary Hands (Nidan) Jitte: Ten Hands (Nidan)
Gankaku: Crane on a rock (Sandan) Sochin: To keep the peace; Grand Suppression (Sandan)
Nijushiho: Twenty-four steps (Sandan) Shorei Kata: Light and quick; emphasizing agility and speed
Shorin Kata: Slow, hard, and strong; emphasizing muscles and strength   

BODY PARTS

KenFist Ippon KenSingle-point index-finger Fist
Tate KenVertical Fist TeHand
KaishuOpen hand TekubiWrist
TeishoPalm heel UdeForearm
Empi (also Hiji)Elbow AshiLeg
AshikubiAnkle Hiza (also Hitsui)Knee
EnshoBack of the heel HeisukoTop (instep) of the foot
TeisokuBottom of the foot KakatoHeel of the foot
KoshiBall of the foot SokutoOuter edge (knife) of the foot
TsumasakiToe tips AtamaHead
WanArm NaiwanBack of Arm
KataShoulder Jiku AshiPivot leg
JodanHead - level ChudanMid - level
GedanLower - level   

Colors

Shiro: White Ki: Yellow
Ao: Blue Midori: Green
Murasaki: Purple Cha: Brown
Kuro: Black Aka: Red

COUNTING

Ichi: One Ni: Two
San: Three Shi: Four
Go: Five Roku: Six
Shichi: Seven Hachi: Eight
Ku: Nine Ju: Ten
NiJu: Twenty NiJu-Go: Twenty-five
Hyaku: One Hundred Ippon: First
Yon: Fourth Gohon: Fifth

Tournament Terms

Sanbon Shobu: Three point Match Sanbon Shobu Hajime: Start the Match
Shiai-jo: Ring (size = 8-10 meters square) Wazari: Half point
Ippon: Full point Jogai: Out of Bounds
Ai-uch: Clash Uchi-majiri: Brawl (melee)
Jikan: Time (Aka/Shiro) No Kachi: (R/W) Victorious
Fusen-gachi: Victory by default Hantei: Decision
Hansoku: Disqualify Hikiwake: Draw
Chui: Warning Keikoku: Severe warning
Shiro: White Aka: Red

WEAPONS

Bo: Long staff Jo: Short staff
Sai: forked knife (Jitte) Nunchaku: Thrasher (two sticks joined by a chain)
Kama: Sickles Tonfa: Batons
Shinai: Bamboo sword Bokken: Wooden sword

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last Updated : May 2008