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Karate Terms

KARATE TERMS

 

 
AGE UKE

Upward Block.

AGE ZUKI

Rising Punch.

AIUCHI

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

AKA

Red

AKA IPPON

“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.

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 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.

ATOSHI BARAKU

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

ATTATE IRU

“Contact”

AWASE UKE

Joined Hand Block.

AWASE ZUKI

U Punch.Also referred to as MOROTE ZUKI.

AYUMI DACHI

A stance found in ITOSU-KAI SHITO-RYU. It is a natural “Walking” stance with the weight over the center.

BO Staff.

A long stick used as a weapon (approximately 6 feet long).

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 so far as possible.

BUNKAI

A study of the techniques and applications in KATA.

CHOKU ZUKI

Straight Punch.

CHUDAN

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).

CHUDAN ZUKI

A punch to the midsection of the opponent’s body.

CHUI

“Warning”

COUNTING TO 10 IN JAPANESE

  1. Ichi
  2. Ni
  3. San
  4. Shi
  5. Go
  6. Roku
  7. Shichi
  8. Hachi
  9. Kyu
  10. Ju

DAN

Level, Rank or Degree. Black Belt rank. Ranks under Black Belt are called KYU ranks.

DO

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.

DOJO

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.

EKU

A Wooden oar used by the Okinawans which was improvised as a weapon.

EMBUSEN

Floor pattern of a given kata.

EMPI

  1. One the Black Belt level KATA, translated as “The 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 overtime. Referee reopens match with command “SHOBU HAJIME.”

FUDO 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.

GANKAKU DACHI

Crane Stance, sometimes referred to as TSURU ASHI DACHI and SAGI ASHI DACHI.

GASSHAKU

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

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.

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.

GYAKU MAWASHI GERI

Reverse Roundhouse Kick.

GYAKU ZUKI

Reverse Punch.

HACHIJI DACHI

A natural stance, feet positioned about one shoulder width apart, with feet 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

A 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 tot he 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 of the offender 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 positioned about one shoulder width apart, with feet pointed straight forward. Some Kata begin from this position.

HEIKO ZUKI

“Parallel Punch” (A double, simultaneous punch).

HEISOKU DACHI

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

HIDARI

“Left”.

HIJI

“Elbow”, also known as Empi.

HIJI ATEMI

Elbow Strikes.

HIJI UKE

A blocking action using the elbow.

HIJI-ATE

elbow strike (also called EMPI-UCHI)

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.

HITOSASHI IPPON KEN

Forefinger Knuckle.

HIZA GERI

Knee Kick.

HIZA UKE

A blocking action using the knee.

HONBU DOJO

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.

INASU

evasion of an oncoming attack through the course of removing the body from the line of attack.

IPPON KEN

“One Knuckle Fist”.

IPPON KUMITE

One step sparring.

IPPON NUKITE

One finger spear hand

IPPON SHOBU

One point match, used in tournaments.

IRIMI

to penetrate, to enter. Usually describes moving closer to the opponent than the attack as you close in defense.

JIKAN

“Time”.

JIYU IPPON KUMITE

One step free sparring. The participants can attack with any technique whenever ready.

JIYU KUMITE

Free Sparring.

JO

Wooden staff about 4′-5′ 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 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.

JOGAI KEIKOKU

“Second exit from fighting area.” WAZA-ARI penalty is given to the opponent.

JUJI UKE

X Block.

KACHI

Victorious. (E.g., AKA KACHI) in a tournament.

KAGI ZUKI

Hook Punch.

KAISHO

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.

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 so far 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 who 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.

KEAGE

Snap Kick. (Literally, Kick upward).

KEIKO

  1. Training. The only secret to success in Karate.
  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 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.

KEKOMI

Thrust Kick ( Literally, Kick Into/Straight ).

KENPO

“Fist Law.” A generic term to describe fighting systems that uses the fist. In this regard, KARATE is also KEMPO.

KENSEI

The technique with silent KIAI. Related to meditation.

KENTSUI

Hammer Fist

KERI

Kick.

KI

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.

KI-O-TSUKE

“Attention”. Musubi Dachi with open hands down both sides.

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. Manifestation of KI (simultaneous union of spirit and expression of physical strength).

KIBA DACHI

Straddle / Horse stance. Also known as NAIFANCHI or NAIHANCHI DACHI.

KIHON

Basic techniques

KIKEN

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

KIME

Focus of Power.

KIZAMI ZUKI

Jab Punch.

KO BO ICHI

The concept of “Attack-Defence Connection”.

KO UCHI

Wrist joint strike. Also known as KAKUTO UCHI.

KO UKE

“Crane Block” or “Arch Block”. Same as KAKUTO UKE.

KOHAI

A student junior to oneself.

KOKEN

Wrist Joint.

KOKORO

“Spirit, Heart.” In Japanese culture, the spirit dwells in the Heart.

KOKUTSU DACHI

A stance which has most of the weight to the back. Referred to in English as Back Stance.

KOSA DACHI

Crossed-Leg Stance.

KUATSU

The method of resuscitating a person who has lost consciousness due to strangulation or shock.

KUMADE

Bear hand.

KYOSHI

“knowledgeable person,” and usually this title is conferred at rokudan or shichidan, depending on system.

KYU

“Grade”. Any rank below Shodan.

KYUSHO WAZA

Pressure Point techniques.

MA-AI

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

Front.

MAE ASHI GERI

Kicking with the front leg.

MAE EMPI

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.

MAE UKEMI

forward fall/roll.

MAKOTO

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 EMPI UCHI

Circular Elbow Strike. Also referred to as MAWASHI HIJI ATE.

MAWASHI GERI

Roundhouse Kick.

MAWASHI HIJI ATE

Circular Elbow Strike. Also referred to as MAWASHI EMPI UCHI.

MAWASHI ZUKI

Roundhouse Punch.

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 form his/her angle.

MIGI

Right.

MIKAZUKI GERI

Crescent Kick.

MOKUSO

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.

MOROTE UKE

Reinforced Block. One arm and fist support the other arm in a block.

MOROTE ZUKI

Double Punch. Punching with both fists simultaneously.

MOTO NO ICHI

“Original Position.” Contestants, Referee and Judge return to their respective standing lines.

MUDANSHA

Students without black-belt ranking.

MUMOBI

“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.

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.

OYAYUBI IPPON KEN

Thumb Knuckle.

OYO WAZA

Applications interpreted from techniques in Kata, implicated according to a given condition.

REI

“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.

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 feet making a ‘L-shape.’

RENSEI

Practice Tournament. Competitors are critiqued on their performances.

RENSHI

“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.

SAI

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

SANBON KUMITE

Three Step Sparring.

SANBON SHOBU

Three Point match. Used in tournaments.

SANCHIN DACHI

Hourglass Stance.

SASHITE

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

SEIKEN

Forefist.

SEIRYUTO

Bull Strike. A hand technique delivered with the base of the SHUTO (Knife hand).

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 the class.

SENPAI

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.

SENSEI

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.

SHIAI

A match or a contest (Event).

SHIDOIN

Formally recognized Instructor who has not yet be recognized as a SENSEI. Assistant Instructor.

SHIHAN

A formal title meaning, approximately, “master teacher.”

SHIKKAKU

“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!”

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 UKE

Knife-hand Block.

SOCHIN DACHI

Immovable Stance. Also referred to as FUDO DACHI.

SOKUTO

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

SOTO UKE

Outside (Forearm) Block.

SUKUI UKE

Scooping Block.

SUWARI WAZA

Techniques from a sitting position.

TAI SABAKI

Body movement/shifting.

TAIMING GA OSOI

“Not proper timing”

TATE EMPI

Upward Elbow Strike.

TATE URAKEN UCHI

Vertical back-fist attack.

TATE ZUKI

Vertical Punch. A fist punch with the palm along a vertica lplane.

TEIJI DACHI

A Stance with the feet in a ‘T-shape.’

TEISHO UCHI

Palm Heel Strike.

TETTSUI UCHI

Hammer Strike. Also called KENTSUI.

TOBI GERI

Jump Kick.

TONFA (TUNFA)

A farm tool developed into a weapon.

TORANAI

“No Point”

TORIMASEN

“Unacceptable as scoring techniques.” As HIKIWAKE, but culminating with the palms facing downwards towards body.

TSUKAMI WAZA

Catching technique. A blocking technique by seizing the opponent’s weapon, arm, or leg. Used often for grappling techniques.

TSUKI

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.

TSUZUKETE

“Fight On!” Resumption of fighting ordered when unauthorized interruption occurs.

TSUZUKETE HAJIME

“Resume Fighting – Begin!” Referee standing upon his line, steps back into ZENKUTSU DACHI and brings the palms of this hands toward each other.

TSUZUKETE HAJIME

“Resume Fighting – Begin!” Referee standing upon his line, steps back into ZENKUTSU DACHI and brings the palms of this hands toward each other.

TUITE

Grappling skills.

UCHI UKE

Inside Block.

UCHI 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 (and sometimes to personal service to the SENSEI of the dojo).

UCHI MAWASHI GERI

Inside Roundhouse Kick.

UKE

Block.

UKEMI WAZA

Breakfalling techniques.

URA ZUKI

An uppercut punch used at close range.

URAKEN

Back Knuckle.

USHIRO EMPI UCHI

Striking to the rear with the elbow.

USHIRO GERI

Back Kick.

WA-UKE

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.

WAZA

Technique(s).

WAZA ARI

“Half point”

YAMA ZUKI

Mountain Punch. A wide U-shaped dual punch.

YAME

Stop! YASUMI Rest. A term used by the instructor to have the students 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 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.

YOWAI

“Weak Focus”

YUDANSHA

Black belt holder (any rank).

ZA-REI

The traditional Japanese bow from the kneeling position.

ZANSHIN

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.

ZENKUTSU DACHI

Forward Leaning Stance.

ZENSHIN

Forward.

ZORI

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