• Karate Terminology

    Below is a fairly complete list of Japanese terms and their approximate English translation. This list is intended to give new students a quick guide to terms that may be used in class and a close estimate of the pronunciation.

    NOTE: This is by no means a complete list of karate terms in Japanese. 

    Fortunately, perfect pronunciation is not necessary for practicing karate ;-)

     

    English

    Japanese

    Pronunciation

     

    Stances

    Tachikata

    tah-chee-kah-tah

     

    Natural Stance

    Shizen-Tai

    she-zen-tie

     

    Feet-together stance

    Heisoku-dachi

    hi-so-ku da-chee

     

    Informal attention Stance

    Musubi-dachi

    mu-su-be da-chee

     

    Straddle leg Stance
    (Horse Stance)

    Kiba-dachi

    key-ba da-chee

     

    Front Stance

    Zenkutsu-dachi

    zen-koot-su da-chee

     

    Back Stance

    Kokutsu-dachi

    ko-koot-su da-chee

     

    Diagonal Horse Stance

    Sochin-dachi

    so-chin da-chee

     

    Square Stance

    Shiko-dachi

    she-ko da-chee

     

    Cross leg Stance

    Kosa-dachi

    ko-sa da-chee

     

    Half moon Stance

    Hangetsu-dachi

    han-get-su da-chee

     

    Hour glass Stance

    Sanchin-dachi

    san-chin da-chee

     

    Cat leg Stance

    Neko ashi dachi

    neh-ko a-she da-chee

     

    One legged Stance

    Sagi ashi-dachi

    sa-gee a-she da-chee

     

    Kneel

    Seiza

    say-zah

     

    Fighting Position

    Kamae

    kah-my

     

    Punching

    Tsuki-Waza

    t-sue-key wa-za

     

    Straight Punch

    Choko-zuki

    cho-ko zoo-key

     

    Vertical fist Punch 

    Tate-zuki

    ta-tay zoo-key

     

    Thrust Punch

    Kizami-zuki

    key-za-me zoo-key

     

    Rising Punch

    Age-zuki

    a-gay zoo-key

     

    Roundhouse Punch

    Mawashi-zuki

    muh-wa-she zoo-key

     

    Hook Punch

    Kage-zuki

    ka-gay zoo-key

     

    Close Punch

    Ura-zuki

    oo-ra zoo-key

     

    Lunge Punch

    Oi-zuki

    oi zoo-key

     

    Reverse Punch

    Guyaku-zuki

    Ga-ya-koo zoo-key

     

     

     

     

     

    Two-handed punches

    Morote-zuki

    more-oh-tay zoo-key

     

    Wide U Punch

    Yama-zuki

    yah-ma zoo-key

     

    U Punch

    Awase-zuki

    ah-wa-say zoo-key

     

    Parallel Punch

    Heiko-zuki

    hay-koh zoo-key

     

    Scissors Punch

    Hasami-zuki

    ha-sa-me zoo-key

     

    Striking*

    Uchi Waza

    oo-chee wah-zah

     

    Knife hand Strike

    Shuto-uchi

    shoe-toe oo-chee

     

    Ridge hand Strike

    Haito-uchi

    hi-toe oo-chee

     

    Elbow Strike

    Empi-uchi

    em-pee oo-chee

     

    Back-fist Strike

    Uraken-uchi

    oo-rah-ken oo-chee

     

    Palm heel Strike

    Taisho-uchi

    tie-show oo-chee

     

    Kicking*

    Keri Waza

    kay-ree wah-zah

     

    Front Kick

    Mae-geri

    my gay-ree

     

    Front Snap Kick

    Mae-geri-keage

    my gay-ree kay-ah-gay

     

    Front Thrust Kick

    Mae-geri-kekomi

    my gay-ree kay-koh-mee

     

     

     

     

     

    Side Kick

    Yoko-geri

    yoh-ko gay-ree

     

    Side Snap Kick

    Yoko-geri-keage

    yoh-koh gay-ree kay-ah-gay

     

    Side Thrust Kick

    Yoko-geri-kekomi

    yoh-koh geh-ree kay-koh-mee

     

     

     

     

     

    Back Kick

    Ushiro-geri

    oo-shee-roh gay-ree

     

    Back Snap Kick

    Ushiro-geri-keage

    oo-shee-roh gay-ree kay-ah-gay

     

    Back Thrust Kick

    Ushiro-geri-kekomi

    oo-shee-roh gay-ree kay-koh-mee

     

     

     

     

     

    Roundhouse Kick

    Mawashi-geri

    mah-wah-she gay-ree

     

    Crescent Kick

    Migazuki-geri

    me-ka-zoo-kee gay-ree

     

    Stomping Kick

    Fumikomi

    foo-me-koh-me

     

    Side Stomping Kick

    Yoko-Fumikomi

    yoh-koh foo-me-koh-me

     

     

     

     

     

    Inside Snapping Kick

    Namigaeshi

    nah-me-guy-she

     

    Knee Kick

    Hiza-geri

    he-zah geh-ree

     

    Flying Side Kick

    Yoko-tobi-geri

    yoh-koh toe-be gay-ree

     

    Front Instep Kick

    Kin-geri

    kin gay-ree

     

    Blocking*

    Uke Waza

    oo-kay wah-zah

     

    Downward Block

    Gedan-barai

    gay-don ba-rye

     

    Outside Block

    Soto-ude-uke

    so-toe oo-day oo-kay

     

    Rising Block

    Age-uke

    ah-gay oo-kay

     

    Dropping Block

    Otoshi-uke

    oh-toe-she oo-kay

     

    Inside Block

    Uchi-uke

    oo-chee oo-kay

     

    Knife hand Block

    Shuto-uke

    shoe-toh oo-kay

     

    Upside-down Forearm
    Block

    Osai-uke

    oh-sigh oo-kay

     

    X-Block

    Juji-uke

    joo-jee oo-kay

     

    Scooping Block

    Tsukui-uke

    t-sue-kwee oo-kay



    *Due to the large amount of striking, kicking, and blocking techniques only the fundamental ones are listed here. 

    General Terms

     

    English

    Japanese

    Pronunciation

     

    Left

    Hidari

    he-dah-ree

     

    Right

    Migi

    mee-gee

     

    Forms

    Kata

    kah-tah

     

    Sparring

    Kumite

    koo-me-tay

     

    Fundamentals(basics)

    Kihon

    key-hone

     

    Lower Level

    Gedan

    gay-don

     

    Middle Level

    Chudan

    choo-don

     

    Upper Level

    Jodan

    joe-don

     

    Reverse

    Gyaku

    ga-yah-koo

     

    Forward Lunge

    Oi

    oi

     

    Focusing

    Kime

    kee-may

     

    Begin

    Hajime

    ha-jee-may

     

    Backward

    Ushiro

    oo-shee-roh

     

    Assume natural stance
    (Shizen-tai)

    Yoi or (yame)

    yoi (yah-may)

     

    Do you understand?

    Wakarimasu?

    Wah-kah-ree-ma-suh

     

    Eyes Closed

    Mokoso

    moh-kuh-so

     

    Eyes Open

    Mokoso-yame

    moh-kuh-so yah-may

     

    Bow

    Rei

    ray

     

    Excuse Me

    Shitsu rei shimasu

    she-t-soo ray she-ma-suh

     

    Teacher

    Sensei

    sen-say

     

    Senior

    Senpai

    sen-pie

     

    Thank You (Formal)

    Arigato Gozaimasuta

    ah-ree-gah-toe go-zai-ma-shuh-tah

     

    Yes-Get up

    Hai-tate

    hi tah-tay

     

    Uniform

    Do-Gi

    doh-gee

     

    Place where karate
    Is practieced

    Dojo

    doh-joe

     

    Belt

    Obi

    oh-be

     

    Yell!

    Kiai

    kee-eye

     

    Remaining Spirit

    Zanshin

    zahn-shin

     

    Deep Breathing(Relax)

    Shin Ko Kyu

    shin-koh-key-you

     

    Front two knuckles

    Seiken

    say-ken

     

    Ball of the foot

    Koshi

    koh-she

     

    Edge of foot

    Sokuto

    soh-kuh-toe

     

    Heel of foot

    Kokuto

    koh-kuh-toe

     

    Yes!

    Oss

    oh-ss

     

    Turn (180 degrees)

    Mawate

    mah-wah-tay

     

    Turn (90 degrees)

    Hontai

    hohn-tai

     

    Empty

    Kara

    kah-rah

     

    Free

    Jiyu

    jee-you

     

    Hips Back

    Hanmi

    han-mee

     

    Hips Forward

    Zemi

    zeh-mee

     

    Center(movement)

    Tanden

    tahn-den

    Numbers

     

    English

    Japanese

    Pronunciation

     

    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

     

    Ten

    Ju

    joo