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Karate has deep roots in the Japanese language and culture and although the language of instruction is English, many of the terms used are Japanese. This includes the names of punches, kicks, blocks etc. as well as technical terms with no English words.
Newcomers need not worry about learning Japanese - after a few weeks in the dojo, the sounds and meanings will become almost second nature.

Karate Glossary

The following is a partial list of some common Japanese terms used in Karate study.


Age:Lift up (Rising technique)
Age-Uke: (Jodan-uke): Upper block
Age-zuki: Upward punch
Ate-waza: Hitting techniques


Choku: Straight
Chudan: Middle
Chudan-choku-zuki: Middle straight punch
Chudan-shuto-uke: Middle knife-hand block

Dachi: Stance
Dojo: Gym, training hall. Literally 'Way Place'

Empi: Elbow
Empi uchi: Elbow strike

Fudo-dachi: Inverted parallel stance
Fumikomi: Downward (stomping) kick

Gedan: Low
Gedan-kekomi: Low thrust kick
Gedan-zuki: Low punch
Gedan-Uke: Low block
Gi: Karate Uniform
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Gyaku-zuki: Reverse punch

Hachiji-dachi: Natural stance (hip width 45 foot angle)
Haishu: Back hand (open hand)
Haishu uchi: Back hand strike
Haishu uke: Back hand block
Haisoku: Upper part of foot
Haito: Ridge hand
Haito uchi: Ridgehand strike
Hajime: Begin or start (command given ofr sparring competition)
Hangetsu-dachi: Half-moon Stance
Hanmi: Forward Stance with hip at 45
Heiko-dachi: Parallel stance
Heisoku-dachi: Informal attention stance
Hidari: Left
Hiji: Elbow
Hiji-ate: Elbow strike
Hiji-uchi: Elbow strike
Hiraken: Hand technique where the fingers are bent at the first finger joint
Hittsui: Knee
Hizagashira: Knee cap

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Ju-Kumite: Free Sparring
Jodan: Upper
Jodan-age-uke: Upper/upward block
Jodan-choku-zuki: High straight punch
Jodan-kekomi: High thrust kick
Jodan-mae-geri: High front kick
Juji-uke: Crossed-Hand block

Kagi-zuki: Hook punch
Kaisho: Open hand
Kakuto: Heel
Karate: Empty Hand
Kata: Form (Sequence or movement)
Keage: Snap Kick
Kekomi: Thrust Kick
Kentsui: Outside edge of the hand when clenched
Keri (Geri): Kick
Keri-waza: Kicking technique
Kiba-dachi: Horse stance
Kihon-Kumite: Basic Sparring
Kizami-zuki: Jab
Kokutsu-dachi: Back stance (70 weight on the back leg, 30 on the front)
Ko-Shi: Ball of the foot
Kumite: Sparring


Mae-ashi-geri: Kick with the front leg
Mae-empi-uchi: Front elbow strike
Mae-geri: Front kick
Mae-geri-keage: Front snap kick
Mae-hiji-ate: Forward elbow strike
Makiwara: A board rooted in the ground used to hit to practice focus
Mawashi-geri: Roundhouse kick
Mawashi-zuki: Roundhouse punch
Migi: Right
Mikazuki-geri: Crescent kick (Kick with the inside of the foot)
Modotte: Command to return to original spot or posture. (Competition command)
Mokuso: Meditation

Nai-wan: Nami-ashi-geri: Crecent kick (block) Neko-ashi-dachi: Nukite: knife hand strike (palm flat, strike with finger tips)

O-Sensei: Founding sensei of the style (Tsuyoshi Chitose for Chito Ryu Karate)
O-Uchi Mawashi geri: Roundhoouse kick (From back leg)


Rei: Bow Ren zuki: Continuous punches Rohai: Kata Name Ryote: Double (strike or block) Ryu San: Kata Name Rinten: Full turn (techniques involving a turn of 360°)

Seiza: Sit (command)
San Shin: Kata Name
Shi Ho Hai: Kata Name
San Shi Riu: Kata Name
Seisan: Kata Name
Soto (uke): Outside (block)
Sukui Uke: Scooping block
Sayuzuki: Double strike (usually in shiko dachi)

Tai sabaki: body movement (evasive techniques)
Tettsui uchi: Strike with bottom of closed fist (aka kensui uchi)
Tenshin: Kata Name
Te-Hodoki: Hand release techniques
Te: Hand (kara-TE = empty hand)
Tsuki: punch (aka Zuki)
Tanden: Lower abdomen, seat of Ki or Chi
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Uke: Block
Ura: Upside down or inverted


Yoko: Side Yame: Stop (command)
Yoi: Begin (command)
Yama Zuki: Y-Block (one hand down, one hand over head)

Zuki: punch (aka Tsuki)

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