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Karate Terminology

Uke (Blocks)

  • age uke rising block
  • gedan barai lower level sweeping block
  • soto ude uke outside forearm block
  • shuto uke knife hand block
  • teisho uke palm heel block

Uchi (Strikes)

  • empi uchi elbow strike
  • shuto uchi knife hand strike
  • teisho uchi palm heel strike
  • tettsui uchi hammer fist strike
  • uraken uchi back fist strike
  • tate-vertical yoko-horizontal

Kumite (Sparring)

  • jo dan head level
  • chu dan stomach level
  • ge dan lower level
  • sanban kumite three-step sparring
  • ippon kumite one-step sparring
  • jiyu ippon kumite semi-free sparring
  • jiyu kumite

Dachi (Stances)

  • Fudo Dachi Rooted stance (sometimes called Sochin dachi)
  • Hachiji dachi Open leg stance (a.k.a. - Yoi position)
  • Hangetsu dachi Half-moon stance (wide hourglass)
  • Heisoku dachi Informal attention stance (closed feet)
  • Kiba dachi Straddle leg stance (a.k.a. - side or horse stance)
  • Kokutsu dachi Back stance
  • Kosa dachi Crossed-feet stance
  • Neko ashi dachi Cat stance
  • Sanchin dachi Hourglass stance (small)
  • Shizen tai Natural stance
  • Sochin dachi/fudo dachi Rooted stance
  • Zen kutsu dachi Front stance

Tsuki (Punches)

  • gyaku zuki reverse punch
  • oi zuki step-in punch
  • oi zuki sanbon zuki 1 step, 3 punches
  • kage zuki hook punch
  • kizami zuki jab punch

Geri (Kicks)

  • mae geri front kick
  • mae geri keage front snap kick
  • mae geri kekomi front thrust kick
  • mawashi geri roundhouse kick
  • yoko geri side kick
  • nukite spear hand yoko geri keage side snap kick
  • yoko geri kekomi side thrust kick
  • ushiro geri back kick
  • rengeri double kick
  • tobi geri jumping kick

Counting

  • ichi 1
  • ni 2
  • san 3
  • shi 4
  • go 5
  • roku 6
  • shichi 7
  • hachi 8
  • ku 9
  • ju 10

Additional Karate Terminology

  • Anza: sitting cross-legged (see Seiza)
  • Bo: 6’ wooden staff (a weapon commonly seen in karate dojos)
  • Bokken: wooden training sword
  • Budo: martial ways
  • Bujutsu: martial methods
  • Bunkai: kata appplications
  • Chudan: middle level - waistline to collarbone (see Jodan)
  • Deshi: sudden; starting explosively (also - a student of a martial art)
  • Do: lit. ‘way’; a way of living
  • Dojo: a place where a ‘way’ is studied
  • Empi: elbow
  • Fumi-ashi: stepping
  • Hai: yes; I understand; I agree (see Iiye)
  • Hajime: begin
  • Hara: the lower abdomen
  • Heian: a beginning series of kata, usu. translated as “peaceful mind”, also an era of Japanese history dating 794 - 1190
  • Hidari: left (see Migi)
  • Hiki-te: literally means “drawing hand”, but more commonly referred to as the pulling arm
  • Ippon Kumite: one-point sparring
  • Iiye: no (see Hai)
  • Jiyu Kumite: free sparring
  • Jodan: upper level - face (see Chudan)
  • Kamae: ‘guard’, ‘posture’, ‘stance’ - a ready position
  • Karate: this is two words, Kara - empty, and Te - hand(s).
  • Kata: form, formalized exercises symbolizing karate principles
  • Kiai: an exhalation, usually accompanied by a short, sharp shout, used for unifying
  • one’s mind, body and spirit in the execution of a finishing blow
  • Kihon: basic training drills
  • Kime: focusing all of one’s mental and physical energy at the point of impact of a technique in order to make a finishing blow
  • Kizami: forward side of the body
  • Kohai: a student who began training after you (see Sempai)
  • Kumite: sparring or fighting practice
  • Maai: roughly translated as “distance between opponents”
  • Makiwara: a device for developing punching and striking technique
  • Mawate: turn
  • Migi: right (see Hidari)
  • Mokuso: silence your thoughts (meditation)
  • Nage: throw
  • Nukite: spear hand
  • Okuri-ashi: shifting method where the front foot moves first (see Tsugi-ashi); Also known as Yori-ashi
  • Rei: bow
  • Seiza: A formal sitting position
  • Sempai: a student who began training before you (see Kohai)
  • Sensei: teacher
  • Shinai: practice sword made of split bamboo
  • Shomen: front
  • So: yes, do it like that
  • Tate: vertical
  • Todome: finishing blow
  • Tsugi-ashi: shifting method where the back foot moves first (see Okuri-ashi)
  • Tsuki: thrust (loosely translated to mean ‘punch’ in English)
  • Uke: receive (loosely translated to mean ‘block’ in English)
  • Yame: stop, finish
  • Yoi: prepare
  • Zanshin: two words: Zan = keep & Shin = mind; i.e. - mental follow through after