Terminology for all students

Terminolgy is important for the trainee and even for the experienced practitioner. Whilst we train in a Japanese art we must try and understand the terms and basic words. Some techniques or expressions have more than one name, but Japanese, as a language can have different ways of expressing the same term.

Basic Counting

Ichi One
Ni Two
San Three
Shi or Yon Four
Go Five
Roku Six
Shichi or Nana Seven
Hachi Eight
Ku or Kyu Nine
Ju Ten

Karate Style

Our karate style is called Shotokan. Shotokan was founded by the father of modern day karate, Master Gichin Funakoshi. Shoto was Master Funakoshi's pen name. When translated Shoto means pine waves which describes the sound of the wind rustling through pine trees on Mount Torao. Kan means building , school or house. So, Shotokan means Shoto's house or school of karate.

General Terms

Age Rising
Ashi Foot or leg
Aka Red (Used in competitions)
Bunkai Analysis or application of kata
Chudan Middle level
Dachi Stance
Dan Teacher or Master Grade
Deshi Student grade
Dohai Equal
Dojo Training place
Enbusen/Embusen Line of movement in kata
Gedan Lower level
Gi Karate uniform
Gyaku Reverse
Hai Yes
Hajime Start or begin
Hara Centre of the abdomen
Hidari Left
Hikite Pulling hand
Iie No
Jodan Upper level
Kamae Action
Kamaete Go into position
Karate Empty hand
Karate�Do Way of the empty hand
Karateka Karate student or one that practises Karate-Do
Kata Form or pre-arranged defence and offence movements
Kiai Shout or yell combining physical and spiritual energy
Kihon Basics
Kime Finish or focus of power and technique
Kiritsu Stand up and rise
Kohai Junior
Kumite Sparring or engagement matches
Kyu Student grade
Maai Distance
Mae Forward
Makiwara Striking board used for conditioning and focussing
Mawashi Round
Mawatte Turn
Migi Right
Mokuso Close the eyes (Meditation)
Mokuso Yame Open the eyes and end meditation
Naore Return to normal
Nintai Patience, Perseverance and Endurance
Obi Belt
Oss Greeting or Acknowledgement
Otagai Ni Rei Bow to each other
Otoshi Dropping
Rei Bow or salutation
Seiretsu Line up
Seiza Kneel or sit straight on your heels
Sempai Senior
Sempai Ni Rei Bow to Senior
Sensei Teacher or Instructor
Sensei Ni Rei Bow to Teacher
Shihan Teacher or Master of a higher rank
Shiro White (Used in competitions)
Shomen Ni Rei Bow to the front of the Dojo
Shorei (kata) Slow, strong movement, emphasizing strength
Shorin (kata) Quick movement, emphasizing speed
Sokumen Side
Soto Outside
Sun Dome To control or stop a technique 3 cm from target
Taisabaki Side stepping
Tate Vertical
Te Hand
Tobi Jump
Uchi Inside
Ushiro Backward
Waza Technique
Yame Stop immediately
Yoi Ready
Yoko Sideways
Zanshin Awareness or remaining spirit