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Karate Terminology

This page contains a brief glossary of some of the more commonly used Japanese terminology KUGB Karateka will need on their way to gaining Black Belt.

The glossary includes the Japanese words / phrases, and their English translation, used during training sessions and gradings, and students should familiarise themselves with these terms alongside the KUGB Grading Syllabus.

Your club instructor(s), Sensei, will use these terms often, helping you to understand their meanings and pronunciations. Any questions should be discussed with your club instructor.

Terminology - General Terms

JAPANESE

Dojo
Sensei
Rei
Migi
Kamae-te
Mawatte
Gi
Kime
Kihon
Kumite
Jodan
Chudan
Gedan

ENGLISH

Training Hall
Instructor
Bow
Right
Move to ready position
Turn
Karate Suit
Focus
Basic Techniques
Sparring
Head
Middle Body
Lower Body

JAPANESE

Dojo Kun
Seiza
Yoi
Hidari
Hajime
Obi
Kiai
Kata
Zanshin
Oss

ENGLISH

Dojo Code
Kneel
Ready
Left
Start / Begin
Belt
Martial Shout
Formal exercises
Awareness
Acknowledgement

Terminology - Dachi / Stances

JAPANESE

Heiko dachi
Musubi dachi
Kiba dachi
Kokutsu dachi

ENGLISH

Natural stance
Informal stance
Straddle stance
Back stance

JAPANESE

Heisoku dachi
Zenkutsu dachi
Shiko dachi

ENGLISH

Feet together stance
Front stance
Open leg / Sumo stance

Terminology - Uke / Blocks

JAPANESE

Gedan Barai
Soto Uke
Shuto uke
Nagashi uke
Empi uke
Morote uke

ENGLISH

Downward block
Outside block
Knife hand block
Sweeping block
Elbow block
Augmented block

JAPANESE

Age Uke
Uchi Uke
Tate shuto uke
Haishu uke
Juji uke
Kakewake uke

ENGLISH

Rising block
Inside block
Vertical knife hand block
Back hand block
X block
Wedge block

Terminology - Uchi / Strikes

JAPANESE

Age empi uchi
Mawashi empi uchi
Tate empi uchi
Uraken uchi
Nukite
Haito uchi

ENGLISH

Rising elbow strike
Round elbow strike
Downward elbow strike
Back fist strike
Spear hand trust
Ridge hand strike

JAPANESE

Yoko empi uchi
Ushiro empi uchi
Shuto uchi
Tetsui uchi
Teisho uchi

ENGLISH

Side elbow strike
Reverse elbow strike
Knife hand strike
Hammer fist strike
Palm heel strike

Terminology - Tsuki / Punches

JAPANESE

Kara/Choku tsuki
Kizami tsuki
Kagi tsuki
Sanbon tsuki

ENGLISH

Straight punch
Front hand punch
Hook punch
Three punch combination

JAPANESE

Oi tski
Gyaku tsuki
Ren tsuki

ENGLISH

Stepping punch
Reverse punch
Two punch combination

Terminology - Geri / Kicks

JAPANESE

Mae geri
Yoko geri kekomi
Ushiro geri
Ren geri

ENGLISH

Front Kick
Side thrust kick
Back kick
Kicking combinations,
stepping between kicks

JAPANESE

Yoko geri keage
Mawashi geri
Hiza geri
Nidan geri

ENGLISH

Side snap kick
Roundhouse kick
Knee kick
Two kicks with same leg,
without step between

Terminology - Kumite / Sparring

JAPANESE

Sanbon Kumite
Kihon Ippon Kumite
Kaishi Ippon Kumite

ENGLISH

Three step sparring
Basic one-step sparring
Reaction sparring

JAPANESE

Gohon Kumite
Jiyu Ippon Kumite
Jiyu Kumite

ENGLISH

Five step sparring
Semi-free style sparring
Free style sparring