Terminology Headers AAge Zuki — Rising punch.

Aiuchi — “Simultaneous Scoring Technique.” No point awarded to either contestant. Referee brings fists together in front of chest.

Aka — Red.

Aka (Shiro) Ippon — “Red (White) Scores Ippon.” The Referee obliquely raises arm on the side of the winner.

Aka (Shiro) No Kachi — “Red (White) Wins!” The Referee obliquely raises arm on the side of the winner.

Ashi Barai – Foot sweep.

Ashi Waza — Name given to all leg and foot techniques.

Atemi Waza — Striking techniques that are normally used in conjunction with grappling and throwing techniques.

Atenai Yoni — “Warning without penalty.” This may be imposed for minor infractions or for the first minor infraction. The Referee raises one hand in a fist with the other hand covering it at chest level and shows it to the offender.

Atoshi Baraku — “A little more time left.” An audible signal will be given by the time-keeper 30 seconds before the end of the bout.

Attate Iru — “Contact!”

Awase Uke — Joined hand block.

Awase Zuki — “U” punch. Also referred to as Morote Zuki.

Terminology Headers B Bo — Staff. A long stick used as a weapon (approximately 6 feet long).

Bogyo Roku Kyodo — Six Defense Actions. A basic drill of the Japan Karate-do Ryobu-Kai. Uses the old names of techniques such as Age Te, Harai Te (or Gedan Barai), Soto Yoko Te, Uchi Yoko Te, and Sukui Te.

Budo — Martial Way. The Japanese character for “Bu” (martial) is derived from characters meaning “stop” and (a weapon like a) “halberd.” In conjunction, then, “Bu” may have the connotation “to stop the halberd.” In Karate, there is an assumption that the best way to prevent violent conflict is to emphasize the cultivation of individual character. The Way (Do) of Karate is thus equivalent to the Way of Bu, taken in this sense of preventing or avoiding violence as possible.

Bunkai — A study of the technique and applications in Kata.

Terminology Headers CChoku Zuki — Straight punch.

Chudan — Mid-section. During the practice of Kihon Ippon Kumite (one-step, basic sparring), the attacker will normally announce where he/she will attack: Jodan, Chudan, or Gedan (Upper-level, Mid-level, or Lower-level).

Chudan Zuki — A punch to the mid-section of the opponent’s body.

Chui — “Warning.”

Terminology Headers DDan — Level, Rank, or Degree of black belt. Ranks under black belt are called Kyu ranks.

Do — Way or path. The Japanese character for “Do” is the same as the Chinese character for Tao (as in “Taoism”). In Karate,  the connotation is that of a “Way” of attaining enlightenment or a “Way” of improving one’s character through traditional training.

Dojo — Literally “place of the Way.” Also “place of enlightenment.” The place where karate is practiced. Traditional etiquette prescribes bowing in the direction of the designated front of the Dojo (Shomen) whenever entering or leaving the Dojo.

Domo Arigato Gozaimashita — Japanese for “thank you very much.” At the end of each class, it is proper to bow to thank the instructor and those with whom one has trained.

Terminology Headers EEkku — A wooden oar used by the Okinawans which was improvised into a weapon.

Embusen — Floor pattern of a given kata.

Empi — (1) Black belt level Kata, translated as “Flight of a Sparrow.” (2) Elbow. Sometimes referred to as Hiji.

Empi Uchi — Elbow strike (also called Hiji-ate).

Encho-sen — “Extension.” After a draw, the match goes into over-time. The Referee reopens the match with the command “Shobu Hajime.”

Terminology Headers FFudo Dachi — Immovable stance. Also referred to as Sochin Dachi.

Fujubun — “Not enough power.”

Fukushin Shugo — “Judges conference.”

Fumikomi — Stomp kick, usually applied to the knee, shin, or instep of an opponent.

Terminology Headers GGankaku Dachi — Crane stance, sometimes referred to as Tsuru Ashi Dachi and Sagi Ashi Dachi.

Gasshukua — Special training camp.

Gedan — Lower section. During the practice of Kihon Ippon Kumite (one-step, basic sparring), the attacker will normally announce where he/she will attack Jodan, Chudan, or Gedan (Upper-level, Mid-level, or Lower-level).

Gedan Barai — Downward block.

Gedan Ude Uke — Low forearm block.

Gedan Zuki — A punch to the lower section of the opponent’s body.

Gi (Do Gi) (Keiko Gi) (Karate Gi) — Training uniform. In most traditional Japanese and Okinawan Karate Dojo, the Gi must be white and cotton (synthetics with cotton is allowed). The only marking or “decoration” allowed is usually the school and/or organization patch. The patches are often placed on the left breast area.

Gohon Kumite — Five step, basic sparring. The attacker steps in five consecutive times with a striking technique with each step. The defender steps back five times, blocking each technique. After the fifth block, the defender executes a counter-strike.

Go No Sen — The tactic where one allows the opponent to attack first in order to open up targets for counter-attack.

Gyaku Mawashi Geri — Reverse roundhouse kick.

Gyaku Zuki — Reverse punch.

Terminology Headers HHachiji Dachi — A natural stance, with feet positioned about one shoulder width apart and pointed slightly outward.

Hai — “Yes.”

Haishu Uchi — A strike with the back of the hand.

Haishu Uke — A block using the back of the hand.

Haito Uchi — Ridge-hand strike.

Hajime — “Begin.” A command given to start a given drill, Kata, or Kumite.

Hangetsu — Black belt level Kata.

Hangetsu Dachi — “Half-moon” stance.

Hanshi — “Master.” An honorary title given to the highest black belt of an organization, signifying their understanding of their art.

Hansoku — “Foul.” This is imposed following a very serious infraction. It results in the opponent’s score being raised to Sanbon. Hansoku is also invoked when the number of Hansoku Chui and Keikoku imposed raise the opponent’s score to Sanbon. The Referee points with his index finger to the face of the offender at a 45 degree angle and announces a victory for the opponent.

Hansoku Chui — “Warning with an Ippon penalty.” This is a penalty in which Ippon is added to the opponent’s score. Hansoku Chui is usually imposed for infractions for which a Keikoku has previously been given in that bout. The Referee points with his index finger to the abdomen of the offender and parallel to the floor.

Hantei — “Judgment.” Referee calls for judgment by blowing his whistle and the Judges render their decision by flag signal.

Hantei Kachi — “Winner by decision.”

Harai Te — Sweeping technique with the arm.

Harai Waza — Sweeping techniques.

Hasami Zuki — Scissor punch.

Heiko Dachi — A natural stance. Feet are positioned about one shoulder width apart and pointed straight forward. Some Kata begin from this position.

Heiko Dachi (Higaonna Line) — A Heiko Dachi stance where the left foot is turned slightly inward while the rear foot is straight.

Heiko Zuki — “Parallel punch.” A double, simultaneous punch.

Heisoku Dachi — An informal attention stance. Feet are together and pointed straight forward.

Henka Waza — Techniques used after Oyo Waza is applied. Waza is varied and many, dependent on the given condition.

Hidari — “Left.”

Hiji — “Elbow.” Also known as Empi.

Hiji Ate — Elbow strike. Also called Empi Uchi.

Hiji Atemi — Elbow strikes.

Hiji Uke — A blocking action using the elbow.

Hiki Te — The retracting (pulling and twisting) arm during a technique. It gives the balance of power to the forward-moving technique. It can also be used as a pulling technique after a grab, or a strike backward with the elbow.

Hikiwake — “Draw.” Referee crosses arms over chest, then uncrosses and holds arms out from the body with the palms showing upwards.

Hiza Geri — Knee kick.

Hiza Uke — A blocking action using the knee.

Honbu Dojo (Hombu Dojo) — A term used to refer to the central Dojo of an organization.

Horan Kamae — “Egg in the Nest Ready Position.” A “ready” position used in some Kata where the fist is covered by the other hand.

Terminology Headers IInansu — Evasion of an on-coming attack through the course of removing the body from the line of attack.

Ippon Kumite — One-step sparring.

Ippon Nukite — A stabbing action using the extended index finger.

Ippon Shobu — One point match used in tournaments.

Irimi — To penetrate or to enter. Usually describes moving closer to the opponent with an attack as you close in defense.

Terminology Headers JJikan — “Time.”

Jiyu Ippon Kumite — One-step free sparring. The participants can attack with any technique, whenever they are ready.

Jiyu Kumite — Free sparring.

Jo — Wooden staff, about 4 – 5 feet in length. The Jo originated as a walking stick.

Jodan — Upper-level. During the practice of Kihon Ippon Kumite (one-step, basic sparring), the attacker will normally announce where he/she will attack:  Jodan, Chudan, or Gedan (Upper-level, Mid-level, or Lower-level).

Jogai — “Exit from fighting area.” The Referee points with his index finger at a 45 degree angle to the area boundary on the offender’s side.

Jogai Hansoku Chui — “Fourth and final exit from the fighting area.” This fourth infraction gives victory to the opponent.

Jogai Keikoku — “Second exit from fighting area.” Waza Ari penalty is given to the opponent.

Juju Uke — “X” block.

Jun Zuki — The Wado-ryu term for Oi-Zuki.

Terminology Headers KKachi — Victorious (e.g. Aka Kachi in a tournament).

Kagi Zuki — Hook punch.

Kaisho — Open hand. This refers to the type of blow that is delivered with the open palm. It can also be used to describe other hand blows in which the fist is not fully clenched.

Kake Te — Hook block.

Kakiwake — A two-handed block using the outer surface of the wrist to neutralize a two-handed attack, such as a grab.

Kakushi Waza — “Hidden techniques.”

Kakuto Uchi — Wrist joint strike. Also known as “Ko Uchi.”

Kakuto Uke — Wrist joint block. Also known as Ko Uke.

Kamae — A posture or stance either with or without a weapon. Kamae may also connote proper distance (Ma-ai) with respect to one’s partner. Although “Kamae” generally refers to a physical stance, there is an important parallel in Karate between one’s physical and one’s psychological bearing. Adopting a strong physical stance helps to promote the correlative adoption of a strong psychological attitude. It is important to try as much as possible to maintain a positive and strong mental bearing in Karate.

Kamae Te — A command given by the instructor for students to get into position.

Kappo — Techniques of resuscitating people whom have succumbed to a shock to the nervous system.

Karate — “Empty hand.” When Karate was first introduced to Japan, it was called “To-De.” The characters of Tode could be pronounced; however, the meaning of Tode is Chinese hand.

Karate-do — “The Way of Karate.” This implies not only the physical aspect of Karate, but also the mental and social aspects of Karate.

Karateka — A practitioner of Karate.

Kata — A “form” or prescribed pattern of movement. Also means “shoulder.”

Keage — Snap kick. (Literally, to kick upward.)

Keiko — (1) Training. (2) Joined fingertips.

Keikoku — “Warning with Waza Ari penalty in Sanbon Shobu.” This is a penalty in which Waza Ari is added to the opponent’s score. Keikoku is imposed for minor infractions, but for which a warning has previously been given in that bout; also given for infractions not sufficient enough to merit Hansoku Chui. Referee points his index finger to the feet of the offender at a 45 degree angle.

Kekomi — Thrust kick. (Literally, to kick into / straight into.)

Kempo — “Fist Law.” A generic term to describe fighting systems that use the fist. In this regard, Karate is also Kempo.

Kensei — The technique with silent Kiai. Related to meditation.

Kentsui — Hammer fist. Also known as Tettsui.

Kentsui Uchi (or Tettsui Uchi) — Hammer fist strike.

Keri (or Geri) — Kick.

Ki — Mind. Spirit. Energy. Vital-force. Intention. (Chinese “chi.”) The definitions presented here are very general. Ki is a word that cannot be translated exactly into any language.

Kiai — A shout delivered for the purpose of focusing all of one’s energy into a single movement. Even when audible Kiai are absent, one should try to preserve the feeling of Kiai at certain, crucial points within Karate techniques.

Kiba Dachi — Straddle (or “horse”) stance. Also known as Naifanchi or Naihanchi Dachi.

Kihon — (Something that is) fundamental. Basic techniques.

Kiken — “Renunciation.” The Referee points one index finger towards the contestant.

Kime — Focus of power.

Ki-O-Tsuke — “Attention.” Musubi Dachi with open hands down on both sides.

Kizami Zuki — Jab punch.

Ko Bo Ichi — The conept of “Attack-Defense Connection.”

Ko Uchi — Wrist joint strike. Also known as Kakuto Uchi.

Kohai — A student junior to oneself.

Kokoro — “Spirit, heart.” In Japanese culture, the spirit dwells in the heart.

Kokutsu Dachi — “Back” stance. A stance in which most of the weigth is on the back leg.

Kosa Dachi — Crossed-leg stance.

Koshin — Rearward.

Kumade — Bear hand.

Kyoshi — “Knowledgeable person.” This title is usually conferred at rokudan or shichidan, depending on the system.

Kyu — “Grade.” Any rank below Shodan.

Kyusho Waza — Pressure point techniques.

Terminology Headers MMa-ai — Proper distancing or timing with respect to one’s partner. Since Karate techniques always vary according to the circumstances, it is important to understand how differences in initial positioning impact the timing and application of techniques.

Ma-ai ga toh — “Not the proper distance.”

Mae — Front.

Mae Ashi Geri — Kicking with the front leg.

Mae Empi — Forward elbow block.

Mae Geri Keage — Front snap kick. Also referred to as Mae Keage.

Mae Geri Kekomi — Front thrust kick. Also referred to as Mae Kekomi.

Mae Ukemi — Forward fall / roll.

Makato — A feeling of absolute sincerity and total frankness, which requires a pure mind, free from pressure of events.

Manabu — “Learning by imitating.” A method of studying movement and techniques by following and imitating the instructor.

Manji Uke — A double block where one arm executes Gedan Barai to one side, while the other arm executes Jodan Uchi Uke (or Jodan Soto Yoko Te).

Matte — “Wait.”

Mawashi Geri — Roundhouse kick.

Mawat Te — A command given by the instructor for students to turn around.

Mienai — “I could not see.” A call by a judge to indicate that a given technique was not visible from his/her angle.

Migi — Right.

Mikazuki Geri — Crescent kick.

Moroto Zuki — “U” punch. Punching with both fists simultaneously. Also referred to as Awase Zuki.

Morote Uke — Augmented block. One arm and fist support the other arm in a block.

Moto No Ichi — “Original position.” Contestants, Referee, and Judges return to their respective standing lines.

Mudansha — Students with black belt ranking.

Mumobi — “Warning for lack of regard for one’s own safety.” Referee points one index finger in the air at a 60 degree angle on the side of the offender.

Mumobi Keikoku — “Warning with Waza Ari penalty.” Referee uses two hand signals with the announcement Aka (Shiro) Mubobi Keikoku. He first points with his index finger at a 60 degree angle to the side of the offender, then to the offender’s feet.

Mushin — “No mind.” The state of being that allows freedom and flexibility to react and adapt to a given situation.

Musubi Dachi — An attention stance with feet pointed slightly outward.

Terminology Headers NNagashi Uke — Sweeping block.

Nagasu — “To flow like water.” Deflection of an on-coming attack. This term describes being carried by a current in a stream. So this relates to nagashi uke in which you re-direct the attack as it moves closer to you, sweeping it just past you.

Naifanchi Dachi (Naihanchi Dachi) (Kiba Dachi) — Straddle (or “horse”) stance.

Neko Ashi Dachi — Cat stance.

Nihon Nukite — Two-finger stabbing attack.

Nidan — Second level, as in 2nd degree black belt.

Nidan Geri — Double kick.

Nukete Iru — “Out of target.”

Nukite — Spear hand.

Nunchaku — An Okinawan weapon consisting of two sticks connected by rope or chain. This was originally used by the Okinawans as a farm tool to thrash rice straw.

Terminology Headers OObi – Belt.

Oi Zuki — Lunge punch.

Onegai Shimasu — “I welcome you to train with me.” Or, literally, “I make a request.” This is said to one’s partner when initiating practice.

Osae Uke — Pressing block.

Otoshi Empi Uchi — An elbow strike by dropping the elbow. Also referred to as Otoshi Hiji Ate.

Oyo Waza — Applications interpreted from techniques in Kata.

Terminology Headers RRei — “Respect.” A method of showing respect in Japanese culture is the Bow. It is proper for the junior person to bow lower than the senior person.

Reigi — Etiquette. Also referred to as Reishiki. Observance of proper etiquette at all times (but especially observance of proper Dojo etiquette) is as much a part of one’s training as the practice of techniques. Observation of etiquette indicates one’s sincerity, one’s willingness to learn, and one’s recognition of the rights and interests of others.

Reinoji Dachi — A stance with the feet making an “L-shape.”

Rensei — Practice tournament. Competitors are critiqued on their performances.

Renshi — “A person who has mastered himself / herself.” This person is considered an expert instructor. This status is prerequisite to the status of Kyoshi. Renshi “has a name” and is no longer “one of the many,” so to speak.

Terminology Headers SSai — An Okinawan weapon that is shaped like the Greek letter ‘Psi’ with the middle being much longer.

Sanbon Kumite — Three-step sparring.

Sanchin Dachi — Hour-glass stance.

Sashite — Raising of the hand either to strike, grab, or block.

Seiken — Forefist.

Seiza — A proper sitting position. Sitting on one’s knees. Sitting this way requires acclimatization, but provides both a stable base and greater ease of movement than sitting cross-legged. It is used for the formal opening and closing of class.

Sempai — A senior student.

Sen No Sen — Attacking at the exact moment the opponent attacks.

Sensei — Teacher. It is usually considered proper to address the instructor during practice as “Sensei” rather than by his / her name.

Shiai — A match or contest (event).

Shidoin — Formally recognized instructor who has not yet recognized as Sensei. Assistant instructor.

Shihan — A formal title meaning, approximately, “master instructor.” A “teacher of teachers.” Shinan is an alternative pronunciation.

Shikkaku — “Disqualification.” This is disqualification from a tournament, competition, or match.  The opponent’s score is raised to Sanbon. Shikkaku may be invoked when a contestant commits an act which harms the prestige and honor of Karate-do and when other actions are considered to violate the rules of the tournament. Referee uses two hand signals with the announcement “Aka (Shiro) – Shikkaku.” He first points with his index finger to the offender’s face, then obliquely above and behind him. The Referee will announce with the appropriate gesture as previously given “Aka (Shiro) No Kachi!”

Shiko Dachi — Square stance. A stance often used in Goju-ryu and Shito-ryu.

Shiro — White.

Shizentai — Natural position. The body remains relaxed but alert.

Shobu Hajime — “Start the extended bout.”

Shobu Sanbon Hajime — “Start the bout.”

Shomen — Front or top of head. Also the designated front of a Dojo.

Shugo — “Judges called.” The Referee beckons with his arms to the Judges.

Shuto Te — Same as Shuto Uke. This name was used before the advent of sport karate. Used to describe one of the techniques in Bogyo Roku Kyodo.

Shuto Uke — Knife-hand block.

Sochin Dachi — Immovable stance. Also referred to as Fudo Dachi.

Sokuto — Edge of the foot. This term is often used to refer to the side thrust kick.

Soto (Ude) Uke — Outside (forearm) block.

Soto Yoko Te — Same as Uchi Ude Uke.

Sukuki Te (Sukuki Uke) — Scooping block.

Suwari Waza — Techniques from a sitting position.

Terminology Headers TTaiming Ga Osoi — “Not proper timing.”

Tai Sabaki — Body movement / shifting.

Tate Empi — Upward elbow strike.

Tate Zuki — Vertical punch. A fist punch with the palm along a vertical plane.

Tate Uraken Uchi — Vertical back-fist attack.

Teiji Dachi — A stance with feet in a “T” shape.

Teisho Uchi — Palm heel strike.

Tettsui Uchi — Hammer strike. Also called Kentsui.

Tobi Geri — Jump kick.

Tonfa — A farm tool developed into a weapon by the Okinawans.

Toranai — “No point.”

Tsukami Waza — Catching technique. Block by seizing the opponent’s weapon, arm, or leg. Used often for grappling techniques.

Tuite — Grappling skills.

Terminology Headers UUchi Deshi — A live-in student. A student who lives in a Dojo and devotes him/herself both to training and to the maintenance of the Dojo.

Uchi Mawashi Geri — Inside roundhouse kick.

Uchi (Ude) Uke — Inside (forearm) block.

Uke — Block.

Ukemi Waza — Break-fall techniques.

Uraken — Back knuckle.

Ura Zuki — Upper-cut punch used at close range.

Ushiro Empi Uchi — Striking to the rear with the elbow.

Terminology Headers WWaza — Technique(s).

Waza Ari — Half point.

Terminology Headers YYama Zuki — Mountain punch. A wide “U” shaped, dual punch.

Yame — “Stop!”

Yasumi — Rest. A term used by the instructor to have the student relax, normally following a long series of drills.

Yoi — Ready.

Yoko — Side.

Yoko Geri Keage — Side snap kick. Also referred to as Yoko Keage.

Yoko Mawashi Empi Uchi — Striking with the elbow to the side.

Yoko Tobi Geri — Jump (“flying”) side kick.

Yowai — “Weak focus.”

Yudansha — Black belt holder (of any rank).

Terminology Headers ZZanshin — Literally, “remaining mind / heart.” Even after a Karate technique has been completed, one should remain in a balanced and aware state. Zanshin thus connotes “following through” in a technique as well as preservation of one’s awareness so that one is prepared to respond to additional attacks.

Za-rei — The traditional Japanese bow from the kneeling position.

Zenkutsu Dachi — Forward stance.

Zenshin — Forward.

Zori — Japanese slippers.



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