“Simultaneous Scoring Technique.” No point awarded to either contestant. Referee brings fists together in front of the chest.
“Red Scores Ippon.” The Referee obliquely raises his arm on the side of the winner (as in …NO KACHI).
AKA NO KACHI
“Red Wins!” The Referee obliquely raises his arm on the side of the winner.
Name given to all leg and foot techniques..
Striking techniques that are normally used in conjunction with grappling and throwing techniques.
“Warning without penalty.” This may be imposed for attended minor infractions or for the first instance of a 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.
“A little more time left.” An audible signal will be given by the time keeper 30 seconds before the actual end of the bout.
Joined Hand Block.
U Punch.Also referred to as MOROTE ZUKI.
A stance found in ITOSU-KAI SHITO-RYU. It is a natural “Walking” stance with the weight over the center.
A long stick used as a weapon (approximately 6 feet long).
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 so far as possible.
A study of the techniques and applications in KATA.
Midsection. 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).
A punch to the midsection of the opponent’s body.
COUNTING TO 10 IN JAPANESE
Level, Rank or Degree. Black Belt rank. Ranks under Black Belt are called KYU ranks.
Way/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.
Literally “place of the Way.” Also “place of enlightenment.” The place where we practice Karate. 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 and thank the instructor and those with whom you’ve trained.
A Wooden oar used by the Okinawans which was improvised as a weapon.
Floor pattern of a given kata.
- One the Black Belt level KATA, translated as “The Flight of a Sparrow”.
- Elbow. Sometimes referred to as HIJI. EMPI UCHI elbow strike (also called HIJI-ATE)
“Extension.” After a draw, the match goes into overtime. Referee reopens match with command “SHOBU HAJIME.”
Immovable Stance. Also referred to as SOCHIN DACHI.
“Not enough power”
Stomp kick, usually applied to the knee, shin, or instep of an opponent.
Crane Stance, sometimes referred to as TSURU ASHI DACHI and SAGI ASHI DACHI.
special training camp.
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 UDE UKE
Low Forearm Block.
A punch to the lower section of the opponent’s body.
Training uniform.In most other traditional Japanese and Okinawan Karate Dojo, the GI must be white and cotton.
GO NO SEN
The tactic where one allows the opponent to attack first so to open up targets for counterattack.
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.
GYAKU MAWASHI GERI
Reverse Roundhouse Kick.
A natural stance, feet positioned about one shoulder width apart, with feet pointed slightly outward.
A strike with the back of the hand.
A block using the back of the hand.
“Begin”. A command given to start a given drill, Kata, or Kumite.
A Black Belt level Kata.
“Master.” An honorary title given to the highest Black Belt of an organization, signifying their understanding of their art.
“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 tot he face of the offender at a 45 degree angle and announces a victory for the opponent.
“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 of the offender parallel to the floor.
“Judgment.” Referee calls for judgment by blowing his whistle and the Judges render their decision by flag signal.
“Winner by decision”.
Sweeping technique with the arm.
A natural stance. Feet positioned about one shoulder width apart, with feet pointed straight forward. Some Kata begin from this position.
“Parallel Punch” (A double, simultaneous punch).
An informal attention stance. Feet are together and pointed straight forward.
“Elbow”, also known as Empi.
A blocking action using the elbow.
elbow strike (also called EMPI-UCHI)
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.
“Draw.” Referee crosses arms over chest, then uncrosses and holds arms out from the body with the palms showing upwards.
HITOSASHI IPPON KEN
A blocking action using the knee.
A term used to refer to the central dojo of an organization.
HORAN NO KAMAE
“Egg in the Nest Ready Position.” A “ready” position used in some KATA where the fist in covered by the other hand.
evasion of an oncoming attack through the course of removing the body from the line of attack.
“One Knuckle Fist”.
One step sparring.
One finger spear hand
One point match, used in tournaments.
to penetrate, to enter. Usually describes moving closer to the opponent than the attack as you close in defense.
JIYU IPPON KUMITE
One step free sparring. The participants can attack with any technique whenever ready.
Wooden staff about 4′-5′ in length. The JO originated as a walking stick.
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).
“Exit from fighting area.” The Referee points with his index finger at a 45 degree angle to the area boundary on the side of the offender.
JOGAI HANSOKU CHUI
“Fourth and Final Exit from the fighting area.” Fourth exit from the fighting area causes victory to the opponent.
JOGAI HANSOKU CHUI
“Third exit from fighting area”. Referee uses two hand signals with announcement “AKA (or SHIRO) JOGAI HANSOKU CHUI”. He first points with his index finger to the match boundary on the side of the offender, then to the offender’s abdomen. An IPPON is awarded to the opponent.
“Second exit from fighting area.” WAZA-ARI penalty is given to the opponent.
Victorious. (E.g., AKA KACHI) in a tournament.
Open hand. This refers to the type of blow which is delivered with the open palm. It can also be used to describe other hand blows in which the fist is not fully clenched.
A two handed block using the outer surface of the wrist to neutralize a two-handed attack, such as a grab.
Wrist joint strike. Also known as “KO UCHI.”
Wrist Joint Block. Also known as KO UKE.
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 so far as possible to maintain a positive and strong mental bearing in Karate.
A command given by the instructor for students to get into position.
Techniques of resuscitating people who have succumbed to a shock to the nervous system.
“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.
“The Way of Karate”. This implies not only the physical aspect of Karate, but also the mental and social aspects of Karate.
A practitioner of Karate.
A “form” or prescribed pattern of movement.
Snap Kick. (Literally, Kick upward).
- Training. The only secret to success in Karate.
- Joined Fingertips.
“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 for which a warning has previously been given in that bout, or for infractions not sufficiently serious enough to merit HANSOKU-CHUI. Referee points with his index finger to the feet of the offender at an angle of 45 degrees.
Thrust Kick ( Literally, Kick Into/Straight ).
“Fist Law.” A generic term to describe fighting systems that uses the fist. In this regard, KARATE is also KEMPO.
The technique with silent KIAI. Related to meditation.
Mind. Spirit. Energy. Vital-force. Intention. (Chinese “chi”) The definitions presented here are very general. KI is one word that cannot be translated directly into any language.
“Attention”. Musubi Dachi with open hands down both sides.
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. Manifestation of KI (simultaneous union of spirit and expression of physical strength).
Straddle / Horse stance. Also known as NAIFANCHI or NAIHANCHI DACHI.
“Renunciation.” The Referee points one index finger towards the contestant.
Focus of Power.
KO BO ICHI
The concept of “Attack-Defence Connection”.
Wrist joint strike. Also known as KAKUTO UCHI.
“Crane Block” or “Arch Block”. Same as KAKUTO UKE.
A student junior to oneself.
“Spirit, Heart.” In Japanese culture, the spirit dwells in the Heart.
A stance which has most of the weight to the back. Referred to in English as Back Stance.
The method of resuscitating a person who has lost consciousness due to strangulation or shock.
“knowledgeable person,” and usually this title is conferred at rokudan or shichidan, depending on system.
“Grade”. Any rank below Shodan.
Pressure Point techniques.
Proper distancing or timing with respect to one’s partner. Since Karate techniques always vary according to circumstances, it is important to understand how differences in initial position affect the timing and application of techniques.
MAAI GA TOH
“not proper distance”
MAE ASHI GERI
Kicking with the front leg.
Forward Elbow Strike.
MAE GERI KEAGE
Front Snap Kick. Also referred to as MAE KEAGE.
MAE GERI KEKOMI
Front Thrust Kick. Also referred to as MAE KEKOMI.
A feeling of absolute sincerity and total frankness, which requires a pure mind, free from pressure of events.
“Learning by imitating.” A method of studying movement and techniques by following and imitating the instructor.
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).
MAWASHI EMPI UCHI
Circular Elbow Strike. Also referred to as MAWASHI HIJI ATE.
MAWASHI HIJI ATE
Circular Elbow Strike. Also referred to as MAWASHI EMPI UCHI.
A command given by the instructor for students to turn around.
“I could not see.” A call by a judge to indicate that a given technique was not visible form his/her angle.
Meditation. Practice often begins or ends with a brief period of meditation. The purpose of meditation is to clear one’s mind and to develop cognitive equanimity. Perhaps more importantly, meditation is an opportunity to become aware of conditioned patterns of thought and behavior so that such patterns can be modified, eliminated or more efficiently put to use.
Reinforced Block. One arm and fist support the other arm in a block.
Double Punch. Punching with both fists simultaneously.
MOTO NO ICHI
“Original Position.” Contestants, Referee and Judge return to their respective standing lines.
Students without black-belt ranking.
“Warning for lack of regard for ones own safety.” Referee points one index finger in the air at a 60 degree angle on the side of the offender.
“I welcome you to train with me,” or literally, “I make a request.” This is said to one’s partner when initiating practice.
OTOSHI EMPI UCHI
An elbow strike by dropping the elbow. Also referred to as Otoshi Hiji Ate.
OYAYUBI IPPON KEN
Applications interpreted from techniques in Kata, implicated according to a given condition.
“Respect”. A method of showing respect in Japanese culture is the Bow. It is proper for the junior person bows lower than the senior person.
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.
A stance with feet making a ‘L-shape.’
Practice Tournament. Competitors are critiqued on their performances.
“A person who has mastered oneself.” This person is considered an expert instructor. This status is prerequisite before attaining the status as KYOSHI. Renshi is usually given at yodan to rokudan, depending on the system.
SAGI ASHI DACHI
One Leg Stance. Also referred to as GANKAKU DACHI or TSURU ASHI DACHI.
An Okinawan weapon that is shaped like the Greek letter ‘Psi’ with the middle being much longer.
Three Step Sparring.
Three Point match. Used in tournaments.
Raising of the hand either to strike, grab, or block.
Bull Strike. A hand technique delivered with the base of the SHUTO (Knife hand).
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 the class.
A senior student.
SEN NO SEN
Attacking at the exact moment when the opponent attacks.
SEN SEN NO SEN
Attacking before the opponent attacks. Preemptive attack.
Teacher. It is usually considered proper to address the instructor during practice as “Sensei” rather than by his/her name. If the instructor is a permanent instructor for one’s DOJO or for an organization, it is proper to address him/her as “Sensei” off the mat as well.
A match or a contest (Event).
Formally recognized Instructor who has not yet be recognized as a SENSEI. Assistant Instructor.
A formal title meaning, approximately, “master teacher.”
“Disqualification.” This is a disqualification from the actual tournament, competition, or match. The opponent’s score is raised to SANBON. In order to define the limit of SHIKKAKU, the Referee Council must be consulted. 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 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!”
Square Stance. A stance often used in Goju-Ryu and Shito-Ryu.
Natural Position. The body remains relaxed but alert.
“Start the Extended Bout.”
SHOBU SANBON HAJIME
“Start the Bout”
Front or top of head. Also the designated front of a Dojo.
“Judges Called.” The Referee beckons with his arms to the Judges.
Immovable Stance. Also referred to as FUDO DACHI.
Edge of foot. This term is often used to refer to the side thrust kick.
Outside (Forearm) Block.
Techniques from a sitting position.
TAIMING GA OSOI
“Not proper timing”
Upward Elbow Strike.
TATE URAKEN UCHI
Vertical back-fist attack.
Vertical Punch. A fist punch with the palm along a vertica lplane.
A Stance with the feet in a ‘T-shape.’
Palm Heel Strike.
Hammer Strike. Also called KENTSUI.
A farm tool developed into a weapon.
“Unacceptable as scoring techniques.” As HIKIWAKE, but culminating with the palms facing downwards towards body.
Catching technique. A blocking technique by seizing the opponent’s weapon, arm, or leg. Used often for grappling techniques.
A punch or thrust (esp. an attack to the midsection).
TSURU ASHI DACHI
Crane Stance, also referred to as GANKAKU DACHI and SAGI ASHI DACHI.
“Fight On!” Resumption of fighting ordered when unauthorized interruption occurs.
“Resume Fighting – Begin!” Referee standing upon his line, steps back into ZENKUTSU DACHI and brings the palms of this hands toward each other.
“Resume Fighting – Begin!” Referee standing upon his line, steps back into ZENKUTSU DACHI and brings the palms of this hands toward each other.
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 (and sometimes to personal service to the SENSEI of the dojo).
UCHI MAWASHI GERI
Inside Roundhouse Kick.
An uppercut punch used at close range.
USHIRO EMPI UCHI
Striking to the rear with the elbow.
A block where the path taken is similar to the yoko-uke. Imagine wiping a wall in front of you with your palm in a half-circle. At the end of the block the hand is angled slightly to the outside.
Mountain Punch. A wide U-shaped dual punch.
Stop! YASUMI Rest. A term used by the instructor to have the students relax, normally following a long series of drills.
YOKO GERI KEAGE
Side Snap Kick. Also referred to as YOKO KEAGE.
YOKO GERI KEKOMI
Side Thrust Kick. Also referred to as YOKO KEKOMI.
YOKO MAWASHI EMPI UCHI
Striking with the elbow to the side.
YOKO TOBI GERI
Flying Side Kick.
Black belt holder (any rank).
The traditional Japanese bow from the kneeling position.
Lit. “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.
Forward Leaning Stance.