THE JAPANESE language relies heavily on context, leaving much to interpretation. The
following definitions are relevant to karate, though they may possess broader meaning
outside the martial arts. Further study will reveal some of these intricacies.

Pronunciation Guide:
A as in father O as in oatmeal
I as in ink U as in flute
E as in they AI as in eye


Hai – Acknowledgement; yes!
Hajime – Begin
Hidari – Left
Hikite – Pulling hand
Kamae – Fighting or guarding posture
Kata – “Life”; a pattern of movement and technique
Ki’ai – “Spirit Harmony” yell adds to breath and focus to technique
Jiyu kumite Freestyle sparring
Ki o tsuke – Attention!
Kiritsu – Stand!
Matte – Stop!
Mawatte – Turn around (180˚)!
Migi – Right
Mokuso – Meditation; the command to meditate
Naorei – Return to attention and bow
Otagai ni rei – Class bowing to show courtesy to each other

Rei – Bow
Seiretsu – [Line Up] Prepare to bow
Seiza – Kneel
Senpai – Senior also sempai
Sensei – “One who has been born before”; teacher
Sensei ni rei – Class bowing to show courtesy to teacher
Yame – Stop
Yoi – Prepare

Counting 1-10 in Japanese


Aihanmi – Open stance toward training partner
Budo – The way of the warrior
Bunkai – Analysis, breakdown; often referring to the application of kata
Bushido – Warrior code
Chudan – Middle level
Dan – Black belt ranking
Do – Way, indicates a path to be followed in life
Dojo – Place where we study the way/place of learning
Domo Arigato Gozaimashita – Thank you very much for everything
Gedan – Low level

Gi – Training uniform
Gyakuhanmai – Reversed, or closed stance
Hiji – Elbow
Jodan – High level
Jokenzuke – Conditioning
Judo – “Gentle way”; a school of martial arts utilizing throws and takedowns
Jujutsu – “Gentle technique”; a traditional Japanese art with various schools
Kanji – Japanese writing where each symbol represents a concept
Karate – Originally “Chinese hand”; also, “empty hand”
Karate-do – The way of the empty hand
Karate-ka – Karate student
Kenjutsu – Sword technique
Kette – Add kick to kihon waza
Ki – The energy of being; a bioelectric force flowing through the body. Some martial arts attempt to
connect this with one’s spirit or intention.
Kihon – Basic or standard
Kohai – Junior
Kokoro – Heart; Mind; Spirit; all of the above
Koshi – Pelvic area (hips)
Kumite – Sparring
Kuro obi – Black belt
Kyu – Rank under black belt
Mae – Front
Mudansha – Kyu ranks
Mushin – No mind. State of mind with no conscious thought.
Obi – Belt
Pinan- “Peace and tranquility”; series of 5 kata used throughout Karate-do
Reigi – Courtesy
Shindo Yoshin Ryu – New Willow Heart Style, an old school Japanese martial art
Wado – The way of harmony
Wado ryu – The school of Wado
Waza – Technique
Yudansha – Students holding black belt rank
Zanshin – Awareness; “the mind that remains”
Zarei – Kneeling bow
Zuki – From tsuki meaning punch or thrust.

——————— WADO CONCEPTS ———————
Chinshin – Dropping body
Inasu – Change direction of attack
Irimi – Entering
Kuzushi – Off-balancing
Maai – Combative distance
Meotote – husband/wife hand
Nagashi – Sweeping
Tai sabaki – Body management
Torre – Attacker
Uke – Receiver, defender, or block
Ukemi – Act of receiving; break fall


Tsuki waza — Punching Techniques
Awasezuki – “U” punch
Gyakuzuki – Reverse hand punch
Gyakuzuki no tsukkomi – Reverse hand lunge punch
Junzuki – Forward punch
Junzuki no tsukkomi – Front hand lunge punch
Kagizuki – Hook punch
Kozaimazuki – Front hand jab
Nagashizuki – Off-line sweeping punch
Seikenzuki – Punch with the fist
Tatezuki – Vertical fist punch
Tobikomizuki – Jumping lunge punch
Tsuki – Thrust, or to punch
Urazuki – Inverted punch
Yamazuki – Mountain punch similar to awasezuki

Keri waza — Kicking Techniques
Ashibarai – Foot sweep
Fumikomigeri – Stomping kick
Hizageri – Knee kick
Kakato – Heel of the foot
Keage – Snap
Kingeri – Groin kick made with the top of the foot
Maegeri – Front kick
Maetobigeri – Flying or jumping front kick

Mawashigeri – Circular kick; roundhouse kick
Mikazukigeri – Crescent kick made from the outside to the inside using the sole of the foot
Namigaeshi – Returning wave kick as found in Naihanchi kata
Nidangeri – Double kick
Sokuto – Knife edge of foot
Soto mikazukigeri – Outside crescent kick using side of foot, moving inside to outside
Ura mawashigeri – Hook kick
Ushirogeri – Rear kick
Yokogeri – Side kick

Uke waza — Blocking Techniques
Chudan uke – Mid level block
Gedan barai – Lower level sweep
Gedan uke – Low level block
Heishuuke – Back hand block
Hijiuke – Elbow block
Jodanuke – Upper level receiving/block
Jujiuke – Cross block or “x” block
Kakeuke – Hook block
Nagashiuke – Sweeping block or slip block
Osaeuke – Press block made by softly pressing down with the palm or back of the open hand.
Otoshiuke – Dropping block made by throwing the arm down on top of the attack
Shutouke – Knife hand block
Sotouke – outside receiving, or outside block
Uchiuke – Inside receiving, or inside block

Tachi waza — Stance Techniques
Chintodachi – Chinto stance
Dachi – Stance
Gyaku nekoashidachi – Reverse cat stance
Gyakuzuki tsukkomidachi – Reverse lunge punch stance
Gyakuzukidachi – Reverse punch stance
Hachijidachi – Ready stance
Hanmi nekoashidachi – Half side-facing cat stance
Hanshikodachi – Half horse stance
Heikodachi – Parallel stance
Heisokudachi – Closed-toe stance
Jigotai dachi – Wide parallel stance
Junzukidachi – Forward punch stance
Kibadachi – Horse rider stance
Kokutsudachi – Back stance
Kosadachi – Crossing stance
Mahanmi nekoashidachi – Full side-facing cat stance
Musubi dachi – Attention stance
Naihanchi dachi – Naihanchi stance
Ryoashi tsumasakidachi – “Stand on toes” with both heels raised
Sagiashidachi – Crane stance
Shikodachi – Open horse stance
Shizentai – Natural stance
Shomen (mami) nekoashidachi – Front-facing cat stance
Tate seisandachi – Vertical seisan stance
Tsumasaki dachi – “Stand on toes” with back heel raised; the drop in kusanku
Yoko seisandachi – Sideways seisan stance

Uchi waza — Striking Techniques
Age Empi Uchi – Rising elbow strike
Empi – Elbow strike
Haisho – Back hand strike
Haito – Ridge hand
Hasamuiuchi – Scissor strike
Ippon ken – Strike made with index knuckle protruding
Ippon nukite – One finger strike
Kagizuki – Hook punch
Kiuteki – Groin rip
Nakadaka ippon ken – Strike made with middle knuckle
Oyayubi ippon ken – Strike with thumb
Shuto – Knife hand strike
Tate ken – Vertical punch
Teisho/Shotei – Palm heal strike
Tetsui – Hammer fist strike
Uchi – Strike
Uraken – Back fist
Yohan nukite – Four finger spear hand strike”