General Terms and Techniques

Most terms and techniques used in Karate have their roots in military Japanese language or in the dialect of Okinawa where Karate originated:

  • Ashi waza – Kicking techniques
  • Atemi waza – Striking techniques
  • Chudan – Middle/Stomach level
  • Dan – Black belt rank
  • Dan/Kyu System – The grading system in Karate, represented by coloured belts and dan numbers
  • Dojo – Karate training hall
  • Dojo Kun – A set of guidelines for the karateka to follow in training and in everyday life
  • Gedan – Lower level body
  • Geri – Kick
  • Gi – Karate suit
  • Go – Five
  • Hachi – Eight
  • Hai – Yes
  • Hajimi – Begin
  • Heian Kata – Basic kata consisting of between 20 and 27 different moves
  • Hidari – Left
  • Hyaku – One hundred
  • Ichi – One
  • Jodan – Head level
  • Ju – Ten
  • Karatedo – Empty hand way
  • Karateka – Someone who practices Karate
  • Kari – Half rank
  • Kata – Forms or patterns of techniques
  • Kiai – Shout of the spirit which marks the climax and final blow of a kata sequence.
  • Kihon – Basic moves
  • Kizami – Leading side
  • Kime – The ability to concentrate the greatest amount of force at the point of attack (punch, kick or strike) or defence (block)
  • Kobudo Kata – Forms using weapons
  • Kumite – Sparring
  • Kyu – Nine
  • Mae – Front
  • Matte – Stop
  • Mawatte – Turn
  • Migi – Right
  • Mudansha – Literally meaning ‘one without dan,’ this is the name given to lower graded Karateka.
  • Nana – Seven
  • Ni – Two
  • Obi – Karate belt
  • Ossu – Masculine greeting
  • Rei – Bow
  • Roku – Siz
  • San – Three
  • Seiza – Formal sitting posture
  • Sempai – Senior student
  • Sensei – Karate instructor
  • Shi – Four
  • Shiai – A tournament
  • Shisei – Posture
  • Tatame – A mat for training
  • Tekki Kata – Advanced kata consisting of up to 70 different moves.
  • Tokui – Favourite
  • Tzuki – Punch
  • Uchi – Strike
  • Uke – Block
  • Yamay – Return to ready position
  • Yame – Stop
  • Yoko – Side
  • Yudansha – Literally meaning ‘one with dan,’ this is the name given to the highest grade of Karateka marked by a black belt.
  • Waza – Technique
  • Zanshin – Continuation of energy/ follow through