Karate Dojo Terms


There are a number of Japanese words and terms used in a dojo (school). Since many of these terms are used when someone talks about karate or other Japanese martial arts, we have provided a brief glossary of terms you are likely to encounter when reading about karate.

General Terms

Basic Terms

  • School - Dojo
  • Basics - Kihon
  • Upper body - Jodan
  • Middle body - Chudan
  • Lower body - Gedan
  • Teacher - Sensei
  • Senior Student - Senpai
  • School - Dojo
  • Ready - Yoi
  • Bow - Rei
  • Begin - Hajime
  • Stop - Yame
  • Return (to rest) - Naotte
  • Turn - Mawatte
  • Yes - Hai
  • Sit (on knees) - Seiza
  • (Breathing) Meditation - Mokuso
  • Line Drills - Ido
  • Forms - Kata
  • Please (teach me) - Onegashimasu
  • Thank You (very much) -Doomo Arigatoo (Gozaimasu)

Pronunciation

  • a - "ah"
  • i - "ee"
  • u - "oo"
  • e - "eh"
  • o - "oh"
  • ei - "ay" e.g. say
  • ai - "I"

Numbers

  1. One - ichi
  2. Two - ni
  3. Three - san
  4. Four - shi/yon
  5. Five - go
  6. Six - roku
  7. Seven - shichi
  8. Eight - hachi
  9. Nine - kyu/ku
  10. Ten - jyu/ju

Advanced terms

  • Right - Migi
  • Left - Hidari
  • Tension - Shime
  • Timing - Ma
  • Analytical thought - Yushin
  • Without consious thought - Mushin
  • Sliding step - Suri ashi
  • Changing step - Okuri ashi
  • Body shifting - Tai sabaki

Strikes - Tsuki/Uchi

Basic terms

  • Basic punch - Shomen zuki
  • Lunge punch - Oi zuki
  • Reverse punch - Gyaku zuki
  • Inverted punch - Shita zuki
  • Plam strike - Shote uchi
  • Knifehand strike - Shuto uchi
  • Circling fist - Furu uchi
  • Backfist - Riken/Ura zuki
  • Spearhand - Nukite

Advanced terms

  • One knuckle strike - ippon ken
  • Middle knuckle strike - Naka taka ken
  • Vertical fist - Tate zuki
  • Elbow strike - Hiji ate
  • Hammerhand - Tetsui

Blocks - Uke

Basic terms

  • High/rising block - Age uke
  • Middle block - Chudan uke
  • Low block - Gedan Barai
  • Hooking block - Kake uke
  • Circling block - Mawashi uke

Advanced terms

  • Forearm block - Ude uke
  • Inverted hooking block - Ura Kake uke
  • Double block - Joge uke

Kicks - Geri

Basic terms

  • Front kick - Mae geri
  • Circling kick - Mawashi geri
  • Side kick - Sokuto geri
  • Back kick - Ushiro geri
  • Groin kick - Kogan geri
  • Knee/joint kick - Kansetsu geri

Advanced terms

  • Knee strike - Hiza geri

Stances - Dachi

Basic terms

  • Ready stance - Heiko dachi
  • In-turned stance - Sanchin dachi
  • Cat-foot stance - Neko-ashi dachi
  • Forward leaning stance - Zenkutsu dachi
  • Horse stance - Shiko dachi

Advanced terms

  • Fishhook stance - Re-no-ji dachi
  • Short forward stance - Han-Zen dachi
  • Cross stance - Kosa dachi

Sparring - Kumite

Basic terms

  • Promised sparring - Yakusoku kumite
  • Upper-body only - Ran Geki
  • Free style sparring - Jiyu kumite
  • One point sparring - Ippon kumite

Advanced terms

  • Ground fighting - Newaza