Karate Glossary of Terms

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Confused between your Shiko Dachi and Heko Dachi then check out our karate glossary of terms to educate yourself on some of the traditional Japanese karate words that we use during our martial arts training.

It may seem daunting at first when you train with us at Brisbane Goju Karate but you should know that each martial arts instructor has gone down the same journey you are taking now and you are free to ask them as many questions as you like.

Training in Japanese not only makes training interesting by providing a mental challenge as well as a physical challenge but it also helps you to learn specific techniques over time. The karate techniques we teach are a lot different to what you might think a standard kick or punch is before you started training in karate. Tsuki (punch in Japanese) is a lot different to the idea of a punch from boxing or even Kung Fu.

Naturally this means it is a lot easier in the long run to learn karate techniques by speaking in Japanese.

Just click through the alphabet above and familiarise yourself with the terms that you are listening to during karate classes.

If certain words confuse you please feel free to ask one of the martial arts instructors at your next training session.

Arigato Gozaimasu!


AGE (ah gay)
Rising or raising

AGE HIJIATE (ah gay, hee jee ah tay)
Rising vertical elbow smash

AGE UKE (ah gay, oo kay)
Rising upper block; also known Jodan Uke

AGO (ah go)
Chin — Commonly used for correct chin positioning in sanchin dachi.

AKAOBI (ah kah oh bee)
Red belt, worn only by the Grand Master and competitors in tournaments

ANZA (ahn zaa)
Sitting cross legged on the floor; the correct way to be seated when directed by an instructor

ARIGATO GOZAIMASHITA (ah ree gah toh, goh zah ee maash tah)
‘Thank you very much’—used to acknowledge the Sensei or Shihan

ASHI (ah shee)
Foot, as in Neko Ashi, Tsugi Ashi, Sagi Ashi or the cat foot stance, shuffle foot manoeuvre, or the crane foot form

ATE KATA (ah tay, kah tah)
Exercise form describing the smashing effect of the elbow, knee or heal palm strike

AYUMI ASHI (ah yo​o mee, ah shee)
Walking step; as used in the manoeuvring exercise


BARAI (bah rah ee)
A wide swing; as in a downward block like Gedan Barai

BUNKAI (boong kah ee)
Pre-arranged interpretation of form; components of the Kata (form or pattern) demonstrated to show meaning as in a sparring exercise

BUSHI (bush ee)

BUSHIDO (bush ee, doh)
The way of the warrior; warrior way


CHAOBI (cha oh bee)
Brown belt

CHOJUN MIYAGI (cho joon, mee yah gee)
Founder of the Goju Ryu; he resided in the city of Naha, on the southern island of Okinawa (1883–1953)

CHUDAN (choo dunn)
Middle or mid section

CHUDAN SEIKEN ZUKI (choo dunn, say ken, zoo kee)
Middle thrusting punch

CHUDAN UKE (choo dunn, oo kay)
Middle block or mid section parrying block; see also Yoko Uke

CHUSHIN (choo sheen)
Pivoting; specific hip thrust for added power in the delivery of a thrusting strike

CHUSHIN HIKE ZUKI (choo sheen, hee kee, zoo kee)
Pivoting hip with thrusting punch, immediately recovering to recoiled position alongside the body and original stance; a technique designed for coordination, mobility and speed

CHUSHIN TOME ZUKI (choo sheen, toh may, zoo kee)
Pivoting hip with thrusting punch remaining extended, executed from the lowered squatting stance


DACHI (dah chee)
Stance; see also Tachi

DAN (dunn)
Black belt rating in degrees, e.g. Shodan, Nidan, Sandan; see also Yudansha (black belt grading level)

DO GI (doh, gii) or KEKO GI (kay koh, gii)

DOJO (doh joh)
Place of training


EMBU (emm boo)
Demonstration or presentation, as in performance

EMBUSEN (emm boo sen)
Demonstration line; competition terminology for where performer starts and finishes while performing Kata

EMPEI (emm pay)
Elbow strike


FU KYU KATA (foo, kee oo, kah tah)
Elementary category—Taikyoku to Gekesai Kata; this term is not necessarily used except for identifying the category of Kata

FUDO KUMITE (foo doh, koo mee tay)
Stationary sparring at arms length distance; application of this training engages two partners in basic sparring while in Hieko Dachi

FURI UCHI (foo ree, oo chee)
Roundhouse snapping strike with the back of a clenched fist; movement of the arm starts from the small of the back with a similar action of a branch withdrawn, held temporarily, then released with a swinging snap on contact


GEDAN (gay dunn)
Lower, as in lower target areas of the body

GEDAN BARAI (gay dunn, bah rah ee)
Downward block to the lower area (correct descriptive form of the downward block)

GEDAN HARAI UKE (gay dunn, haa rah ee, oo kay)
A downward block as in Gedan Barai or Gedan Harai Otoshi

GEDAN SEIKEN ZUKI (gay dunn, say ken, zoo kee)
Lower thrusting punch

GEDAN UKE (gay dunn, oo kay)
A shortened version of the command for Gedan Barai

GEKESAI BUNKAI (gay kee sigh, boong kaa ee)
Pre-arranged interpretation of the Gekesai Kata

GEKESAI DAI ICH (gay kee sigh, dah ee, itch)
Form combining the lower grade progression of movements, but expressed with a graduated precision distinct from a beginner

GEKESAI DAI NI (gay kee sigh, dah ee, nee)
The last form of the elementary grade level, similar to the Gekesai Ich form, but distinguished by its open hand techniques and the use of cat stance on

GEKESAI KATA (gay kee sigh, kah tah)
This is translated as basic form; pattern developed by the founder of Goju Ryu to supplement the manoeuvring exercises of the basic training format

GERI (gay ree)
Kick; see also Keri.

GO (goh)
Hard as in Goju (hard/soft); also number five (5) when counting in Japanese

GODAN (goh dunn)
5th dan black belt

GOGEN YAMAGUCHI (goh gan, yah mah goo chee)
10th dan Hanshi or Grand Master of the international Karatedo Goju-Kai (1909–1989)

GOJU (goh joo)
Hard and soft; also number fifty (50) when counting in Japanese

GOJU-KAI (goh joo, kah ee)
Hard and soft organisation; founded in by Gogen Yamaguchi Hanshi after salvaging the remnants of the pre-war Goju School

GOKURO SAN (goh koo roh, sun)
Teacher’s compliment of ‘Thank you for doing what they expected of you’

GOKYU (goh kee oo)
No, not a Super Seiyan Warrior from the Planet Vegeta! 5th kyu; intermediate grade level

GOSHIN JITSU (goh shee, jeet soo)
Self defence

GYAKU ZUKI (yah koo, zoo kee)
Reverse thrusting punch

GYAKUSOKU KUMITE (yah koo soh koo, koo mee tay)
Pre-arranged sparring

GYAKUTE WAZA (yah koo tay, wah zah)
Locking techniques; arresting or holding techniques contained in Kata utilised for self defence and pre-arranged sparring


HABUSHI WAZA (haa boo shee, wah zah)
Deflecting techniques, e.g. upper block, parrying block, open palm blocks, etc.

HACHI (haa chee)
Number eight (8) when counting in Japanese

HACHI KYU (haa chee, kee oo)
8th kyu grade level

HAI (haa ee)
‘Yes I understand’—an acknowledgement when assisted

HAITO UCHI (haa ee toh, oo chee)
Roundhouse snapping strike with the firmly positioned inner ridge of the hand; movement of arm starts from the small of the back with a similar action of a branch withdrawn, held temporarily, then released with a swing

HAJIME (haa jee may)
Start or begin

HAN YOINIBUKI (hunn, yoh inn ee boo kee)
Half hard and soft breathing exercise; breathing and release of air with the restrained sound by way of the mouth being opened slightly for air passage on release; the sound should be like a huttt… with the same effect as Ibuki

HAN ZENKUTSU DACHI (hunn, zenn koot soo, dah chee)
Half lunge stance or shortened lunge stance; also shortened to Han Kutso Dachi

HAN ZENKUTSU DACHI MAWASHI GERI (hunn, zenn koot soo, dah chee, mah wah shee, gay ree)
Half lunge stance executing a roundhouse kick off the back foot to advance

HANKUTSU DACHI (hunn koot soo, dah chee)
Half lunge stance executed forward or back

HANSHI (hunn shee)
Master rank of 8th dan and above

HANTAI (hunn tah ee)
Change from left to right or right to left

HANTAI NI (hun tie, nee)
The opposite side; used as a command to announce the partner’s turn for the application of a technique

HARAI OTOSHI (haa rah ee, oh tosh ee)
Downward block with a circular movement; see also Gedan Barai

HAYAI (haa yah ee)
Fast or speed, as in acceleration; a command to deliver techniques with speed

HEIHO (hey ho)
An attitude of readiness and composure; well aware of defensive positioning

HIEKO DACHI (hey koh, dah chee)
Standing with feet shoulder width apart, fist clenched and held to the exterior side of the legs; the third non-functional stance; see also Yoi No Kamae, the ready stance

HEISOKU DACHI (hey soh koo, dah chee)
Standing feet together from heels to toes; the first of the non-functional stances

HIDARI (hee dah ree)
Left, as directional or left hand, left side, left foot, etc.

HIJIATE (hee jee ah tay)
Elbow smash or strike; Hiji being an elbow and Ate describing the hit or smash

HIKI (hee kee)
Withdraw; an action of immediate recovery on executed strikes or kicks for repeated delivery of same technique; also used as an advantage for combination strategy

HIKI AYUMI ASHI (hee kee, ah yoo mee, ah shee)
Pull back the leading foot and step out with the back foot to reach the desired distance; manoeuvring stance used in the advance level of training

HIKI TE (hee kee, tay)
Withdrawing a punch with speed equal to its delivery

HIKI ZUKI (hee kee, zoo kee)
Thrusting punch with immediate withdrawal; delivered as specified, either upper or middle thrusting punches

HIZA GERI (hee zah, gay ree)
Knee rising kick

HOMBU (hom boo)


IBUKI (ee boo kee)
Breathing in and out, or natural breath; see also the Han Yo Inibuki, Inibuki and Yoibuki

ICHI (ee chee)
Number one (1) when counting in Japanese; often pronounced as Ich

IKKYU (ee kee yoo)
3rd kyu grade level

IKYUDO (ee kee yoo doh)
The command given to combine movements in one given count

INIBUKI (inn ee boo kee)
Nasal breathing with regulated timing according to the executed movement; the soft breathing exercise that compliments the basic form

INU KAMAE (ee noo, kah maa ee)
The dog paw form/position; taken from the Sanseru Kata


JODAN (joh dunn)
Upper level

JODAN SEIKEN ZUKI (joh dunn, say ken, zoo kee)
Upper thrusting punch

JODAN UKE SHITA-BARAI (joh dunn, oo kay, shee tah, bah rah ee)
Upper rising block and downward block combination

JOKYO (joh kee oh)
An instructor assigned a branch independent of the mainstream, but still attached by virtue of affiliation; the instructor would be of the 4th dan grade level

JYU KYU (joo, kee oo)
10th kyu grade level, beginners rank

JYU o​r JU (joo)
Soft as in Goju, Ju being the soft; also the number ten (10) when counting in Japanese


KAI (kaa ee)
Organisation, association, group or company

KAICHO (kaa ee cho)
The President of an association or organisation

KAISHU KATA (kaa ee shoo, kah tah)
Advance category of forms featuring open hand movements such as Saifa, Seinchin, etc.

KAISO (kaa ee soh)
Founder or originator; formal title given to Master Chojun Miyagi; see also Chojun Miyagi

KAKATO GERI (kah kah toh, gay ree)
Downward heel kick forward or to the rear as directed; a high leg rising motion to a lower downward heel kick applied to a fallen opponent; mainly found in tournament sparring, originated by the Taekwondo practitioners

KAKE UKE (kah kay, oo kay)
Open hand semi-circular deflecting block; described as a windscreen wiper form

KAKE UKE ICH (kah kay, oo kay, itch)
Formal pattern executed using the open hand semi-circular block in combination with a front kick and vertical elbow smash; see also Taikyoku Kake Uke

KAKE UKE NI (kah kay, oo kay, nee)
The second formal pattern in the Kake Uke series; see also Taikyoku Kake Uke

KAMAE (kah maa ee)
Form position, like a fighter who shapes up in a defensive posture or a fencer holding his sword at the ready

KAMAE-TE (kah maa ee, tay)
A formal command to execute the form position; this word is not written in the text but is frequently used during training

KANCHO (kanh cho)
Head of the system or Senior Director of an organisation

KANSETSU GERI (kahn sat soo, gay ree)
Knee joint kick, done with the blade of the foot using a downward snap or thrust

KARATE DO (kah rah tay doh)
Empty hand way

KATA (kah tah)
Formal pattern or form; an arrangement of kicks and strikes demonstrating defence in all directions; considered the back bone of Karate do as a clear composite of the art form and the physical practice

KEIKO YASUME (kay koh, yah soo may)
A verbal command which announces the completion of training or end of a session

KEKOGI (kay koh gee)
Uniform or training attire; see also Doji

KEKOMI GERI (kay koh mee, gay ree)
A downward slash with the outer section of the heel and blade of the foot, usually executed on a fallen opponent

KENSHUSEI (ken shoo say)
The master’s intern instructor/s usually found in main headquarters of divisional chapters (the Hombu of the established full time Sensei); they are to be addressed as Sempai during this stage of their career

KEOTSUKI (kay oht soo kee)
Come to attention; this word is not written in the text but is frequently used during training

KERI (kay ree)
Kick; see also Geri

KERI KOMI (kay ree, koh mee)
Thrusting front kick advancing off the back foot; implemented while in manoeuvring exercise or to gain distance with the thrusting kick

KIAI (kee ay)
A sharp sounding yell projecting inner strength, executed with timing to give power to a technique

KIHON (kee hon)
Basic techniques

KIHON IDO (kee hon, ee doh)
Basic movements, as in manoeuvring exercises or specified drills

KIHON IDO ICH (kee hon, ee doh, itch)
Basic movements number one; first series of compulsory basic movements done by the elementary grade level

KIHON KATA (kee hon, kah tah)
Basic techniques devised in a formal pattern, e.g. Sanchin and Tensho

KIHON KUMITE (kee hon, koo mee tay)
Fundamental basic sparring; done progressively through the stances of Sanchin Dachi, Zenkutsu Dachi and Shiko Dachi Yonjugodo

KIME (kee may)
Focusing on timing, accuracy and speed

KIN GERI (keen, gay ree)
Groin kick

KIROBI (kee roh bee)
Yellow belt

KIYOSHI (kee yoh shee)
Master teacher of 6th and 7th dan ranks

KOHKOTSU DACHI (koh kot soo, dah chee)
Back stance or forward leg extended lean back stance

KUKYU (kook kee oo)
9th kyu grade level

KUMITE (koo mee tay)
Sparring; engaging two practitioners to exercise their skills, graduating from basic drills to a free style open range combat

KUROBI (koo roh bee)
Black belt

KYOGI KUMITE (kee yah gee, koo mee tay)
Defensive sparring

KYOREN (kee oh ren)
3rd dan black belt not associated in teaching

KYU (kee yoo)
Number nine (9) when counting in Japanese; also refers to grade levels below black belt, e.g. 10th kyu, 9th kyu, 8th kyu, etc.

KYU JUDO (kee oo joo doh)
Ninety degree (90°) direction


MAAI (mah ah ee)
Distance; necessary skill for combative engagement such as sparring, pre-arranged sparring, Bunkai and Goshin Jitsu (self defence tactics)

MAE (my)
Front (when referring to direction of attack)

MAE GERI (my, gay ree)
Front kick; a thrusting frontal kick with the foot extended, emphasising the ball of the foot as the point of contact

MASSUGU (mah soo goo)
Straight forward; this word is not written in the text but is frequently used during training

MAWASHI GERI (mah wah shee, gay ree)
Roundhouse kick; usually delivered head height

MAWASHI HIJATE (mah wah shee, hee jee, ah tay)
Horizontal elbow smash; Mawashi being the round movement utilising the horizontal elbow strike

MAWASHI ICH (mah wah shee, itch)
Fifth pattern in the beginner Kata series Taikyoku; round circular block with a combination of a horizontal elbow smash, back fist snap strike, downward block and reverse thrusting punch

MAWASHI NI (mah wah shee, nee)
The same as Mawashi Ich but with two additional combinations of the round circular block and elbow, back fist snap strike, downward block and reverse punch; see also Taikyoku Mawashi Ich and Ni

MAWASHI UKE (mah wah shee, oo kay)
Round circular block with short forward heel palm thrust

MAWATE (mah wah tee)
Crossover to change direction; this word is not written in the text but is frequently used during training

MEIGIN (may giin)
Posthumous honour of Master of the highest honour

MIDORI OBI (mee doh ree, oh bee)
Green belt

MIGI (mee gee)
Right, as directional or right hand, right side, right foot, etc.

MIZUOCHI NO KAMAE (mee zoo oh chee, noh, kah maa ee)
Sparring form with arms positioned in a tight central line defence, mainly to protect the upper abdominal area or the solar-plexus

MOICHIDO (moh ee chee doh)
Repeat or perform once more; this word is not written in the text but is frequently used during training

MOKUSO (moh koo soh)
Meditation or bringing your mind to present time

MOROTE ZUKI (moh roh tay, zoo kee)
Double fist thrusting punch

MOTO DACHI (moh toh, dah chee)
Fighting stance; three quarter stance or lunge stance with a shortened reach by one step, equal weight distribution on both feet allowing easier take off; stance developed for competition sparring


NAGASHI UKE (nah gah shee, oo kay)​
The open palm block; a brushing like motion of the open hand causing a deflecting block

NAGE WAZA (nah gay, wah zah)
Throwing technique

NANA (nah nah)
Number seven (7) when counting in Japanese; see also Shichi

NANA HON KUMITE (nah nah, hon, koo mee tay)
Seven-point pre-arranged sparring

NAORIMASU (nah oh res maas)
Finish or complete; see also Owari

NAOTE or NAORE (nah oh tay OR nah or ray)
Resume position or return to attention after completing a given exercise

NEKO ASHI DACHI (nay koh, ah shee, dah chee)
Cat foot stance

NEKO ASHI DACHI NEKO ASHI NO KAMAE (nay koh, ah shee, dah chee, nay koh, ah shee, noh, kah maa ee)
Cat foot stance with the fighting form representing the cat, poised in preparation for sparring

NEKO ASHI IDO (nay koh, ah shee, ee doh)
Manoeuvring exercise in the cat stance fighting form

NI (nee)
Number two (2) when counting in Japanese

NIDAN (nee dunn)
2nd dan black belt

NIHON (nee hon)
Double or two of the same

NIHON SEIKEN ZUKI or NIHON ZUKI (nee hon, say ken, zoo kee OR nee hon, zoo kee)
Double thrusting punches, executed one after the other in rapid succession

NIKYU (nee que)
2nd kyu grade level


OBI (oh bee)

OI ZUKI (oh ee, zoo kee)
Lunging punch; thrusting reach as opposed to a jab

ONAJI WAZA (oh nah jee, wah zah)
Same technique; this word is not written in the text but is frequently used during training

OSHIRO MASAICHI (oh shee roh, mah sah ee chee)
Master Teacher (Shihan) of the Hawaii Division of Goju Kai; teacher and mentor of Tino Ceberano Hanshi, former Chief Instructor of Goju Kai Australia

OSU (ohss)
A formal verbal greeting of karate students to acknowledge each other, especially senior black belts

OTAGI NI (oh tah gee, nee)
Bowing to each other with respect when preparing to engage in practices such as sparring or when completing an exercise; bowing procedures at the start and end of a training session

OTOSHI ATE (oh toh shee, ah tay)
Downward elbow smash

OWARI (oh wah ree)
Finish, end or complete; see also Renshu Owarimasu


REI (ray)
Bow; formal respect rendered with the humble gesture of a nod, lowering of the upper body shows humble acknowledgement, and lowering the upper body to a horizontal position displays a formal acknowledgement of respect

RENOJI DACHI (ray no jee, dah chee)
Natural stance or preparatory stance to the cat foot stance; the feet are positioned in the cat foot stance but the forward foot remains on the floor (compared to the raised foot position in the cat foot stance)

RENSHU (ren shoo)
A command used during training

RENSHU OWARIMASU (ren shoo, oh wah ree maas)
End of session, announced at the finish of a session

RENZOKU (ren zoh koo)
Combination e.g. doubles, triple

RENZOKU ZUKI or REN ZUKI (ren zoh koo, zoo kee OR ren, zoo kee)
Combination of thrusting punches executed on specific drill commands, e.g. a single thrust with one fist, followed by the thrusting of the other fist and immediately withdrawing to a recoiled position

ROKU (roh koo)
Number six (6) when counting in Japanese

ROKU DAN (roh koo dunn)
6th dan black belt

RYU (ree yoo)
Style, e.g. Goju Ryu or hard-soft style


SAIFA (sah ee fah)
First of the advance forms; part of the Kaishu Kata or open hand category forms

SAIFA BUNKAI (sah ee fah, boog kaa ee)
Pre-arranged interpretation of the first advance form

SAN (sunn)
Number three (3) when counting in Japanese

SANBON (sunn bonn)
Three of a kind; triple, e.g. Sanbon Geri—three kicks

SANBON KUMITE (sunn bonn, koo mee tay)
A three step offence and defense basic sparring sequence

SANBON SEKEN ZUKI (sunn bonn, say ken, zoo kee)
Three thrusting strikes delivered in rapid succession as directed, e.g. upper, middle and lower; or one upper and two middle

SANCHIN DACHI (sun cheen, dah chee)
Three-point stance; three battle stance; hour glass stance; weight distributed equally, feet shoulder width with the front foot turned in 45°

SANCHIN DACHI IDO (sun cheen, dah chee, ee doh)
Manoeuvring drill associated with the three-point stance

SANCHIN DACHI JODAN UKE (sun cheen, dah chee, joh dunn, oo kay)
Feet positioned in the three-point stance while executing the upper rising block

SANCHIN DACHI JODAN ZUKI (sun cheen, dah chee, joh dunn, zoo kee)
Feet positioned in the three-point stance while advancing and executing an upper thrusting punch (timing and focus must be coordinated for maximum result)

SANCHIN DACHI KERI NO KAMAE or SANCHIN DACHI KUMITE NO KAMAE (sun cheen, dah chee, kay ree, noh, kah maa ee OR sun cheen, dah ches, koo mee tay, noh, kah maa ee)
Three-point stance with both arms positioned in a defensive form in preparation for sparring or combat; also used for pre-arranged kick sparring and other basic movements

SANCHIN DACHI MAE GERI (sun cheen, dah chee, mah ee, gay ree)
Kicking from a three-point stance; also used in manoeuvring drills; i.e. advancing from the three-point stance executing a front kick at mid section level

SANCHIN DACHI SANCHIN NO KAMAE (sun cheen, dah chee, sun cheen, noh, kah maa ee)
Three-point stance with both arms engaged in the parrying middle block, holding fast to complete the form; application of this form displays dynamic tension with intense concentration of the internal and external energies, which the practitioner expresses with a unique way of breathing

SANCHIN DACHI SEKEN ZUKI NO KAMAE (sun cheen, dah chee, say ken, zoo kee, noh, kah maa ee)
Three-point stance while holding the arm in a forward thrusting punch position; generally a preparatory position for manoeuvring drills

SANCHIN KATA (sun cheen, dah chee, kah tah)
The hard basic form of the Goju School incorporating dynamic tension, hard external breathing and intense concentration

SANCHIN SHUHO (sun cheen, shoo ho)
Cross pattern manoeuvring or four-corner basic technique drills

SANGATE (sun gah tay)
To the rear; this command is not written in the text but most commonly used in manoeuvring drills

SANSERU KATA (sun say roo, kah tah)
The third advanced form; also known as the 36-technique form; easily identified by its dog paw form position at the completion of the pattern

SEIUNCHIN KATA (say un cheen, kah tah)
The second advanced form; also known as the tiger form; easily identified by the archer pose midway in the pattern; a unique form of the Goju School, commonly used in competitions and regarded as the first form of the black belt standard

SEIRETSU (say ret soo)
Line up; stand in a row; starting procedure to command assembly

SEISAN KATA (say sun, kah tah)
The fourth advanced form; also known as the 18-stances crane form; the only form in the Goju patterns containing a side kick (Sokuto Geri)

SEIZA (say zah)
Kneel; executed by placing the right knee on the floor followed by the left knee, with one clenched fist space between the inner thighs and the weight resting on both heels with the big toes crossed one on the other

SEKEN (say ken)
The forefist; the protruding part of the clenched fist

SEKEN ZUKI NO KAMAE (say ken, zoo kee, noh, kah mah ee)
Position of the thrusting strike form in Sanchin stance; see also Sanchin Dachi Seiken Zuki No Kamae

SEMPAI (semm paaee)
The official title of all senior students, directed mainly at black belts below the title of Sensei

SEMPAI (semm paaee)​

Teacher, a formal title given to an instructor qualified in teaching usually of the 3rd dan rank and above

SENSEI NI TAISHITE (sen say, nee, tah ee shee tay)
Face the teacher or the direction of the teacher; respectful gesture acknowledging the teacher

SHEDOIN (she doh inn)
Assigned assistant instructor under the command of the headquarters; the Shedoin will not be below the rank of Sandan (3rd dan) black belt and will be fully committed to the commanding Shihan

SHEDOIN NI TAISHITE (she doh inn, nee, tah ee shee tay)
Face the assistant instructor; respectful gesture acknowledging the teacher

SHI (shee)
Number four (4) when counting in Japanese; see also Yon

SHIAI KUMITE (she ah ee, koo mee tay)
Competition sparring

SHICHI (shee chee)
Number seven (7) when counting in Japanese, see also Nana

SHIHAN (shee hunn)
Master teacher; a formal title given to a chief instructor qualified in teaching usually of the 5th dan rank and above; if this qualification is given to a 4th dan, it is a privileged honour due to his/her development and contribution to the organisation

SHIKO DACHI (shee koh, dah chee)
Lowered stance with legs wide apart and knees back; Skoh is a shortened pronunciation of this word

SHIKO DACHI GEDAN BARAI (shee koh, dah chee, gay dunn, bah rah ee)
Lowered stance position executing the lower downward block

SHIKO DACHI KYUJUDO (shee koh, dah chee, que joo doh)
Lowered stance position at a 90° angle facing the front

SHIKO DACHI KYUJUDO GEDAN ZUKI (shee koh, dah ches, que joo doh, gay dunn, zoo kee)
Advancing in the lowered stance at 90° angle executing a forward thrusting punch of equal height

SHIKO DACHI YONJUGODO (shee koh, dah chee, yon joo goh doh)
Lowered stance position at a 45° angle facing the front

SHIKO DACHI YONJUGODO GEDAN ZUKI (shee koh, dah chee, yon joo goh doh, gay dunn, zoo kee)
Advancing in a lowered stance at a 45° angle while executing a frontal punch of equal height

SHIKO DACHI YONJUGODO KANSETSU GERI (shee koh, dah chee, yon joo goh doh, kan sat soo, gay ree)
From the ready stance execute a knee joint kick at 45° angle, advance on the recoil of the foot positioning the body at the lowered 45° angle squatting stance; used in manoeuvring drills to develop strong legs, balance and coordination

SHIROBI (she roh bee)
White belt

SHISOCHIN (shee soh cheen)
The fifth advanced form; performed from the 3rd dan grade level; also described as the dragon form

SHITA ZUKI (shee tah, zoo kee)
Inverted thrusting punch, much like a shortened upper cut, directed to specific area, e.g. solar plexus, lower rib cage and groin

SHOMEN (show men)
Forward direction or frontal area

SHOMEN NI TAISHITE (show men, nee, tah ee shee tay)
A specific command of facing the front; used as a directive in the formal procedure of bowing to the front

SHOMEN URA UCHI (show men, oo rah, oo chee)
Forward direction back fist snap strike

SHUTO UCHI (shoo toh, oo chee)
Knife hand strike with snapping effect; ridge of hand held firm by way of extended fingers and thumb bent within the hand

SHUTO UKE (shoo toh, oo kay)
Knife hand block using the ridge of the hand in an outward deflecting snap on intended strikes

SOKUTO GERI (soh koo toh, gay ree)
Side kick done with the blade of the foot, not to be confused with the knee joint kick; application of this technique is mainly directed to heights above the mid section, e.g. abdomen, ribs, chest, neck, and face/head

SOTO HACHI DACHI (soh toh, haa chee, dah chee)
The fourth non-functional stance; describes foot position with the toes turned at 45° angles, wider than the shoulder width; this stance is formally known as Soto Hachi Monzi Dachi but is often shortened for easy pronunciation

SOTO UKE (soh toh, oo kay)
Interior deflecting block, executing the outer forearm in a snapping inward turn

SUKUI UKE (soo koo ee, oo kay)
A scooping block executed by joining both hands, as if to form a cup, with the emphasis on the heel of the palm in the lifting section; block is located in the many advance forms e.g. Seiunchin, Seisan, etc.

SURIASHI DACHI (soo ree ah shee, dah chee)
The drag foot stance with a forceful rush forward to offset the opponents balance


TACHI (tah chee)
Stance; see also Dachi

TAIKYOKU (tie kee oh koo)
Meaning exercise in a basic sense; comes from the Chinese word Taichi, a similar concept; basic forms of the elementary grade level progressing on a gradient of drills, complementing the basic exercises; H-pattern drills consisting of blocks, strikes and kicks; all patterns in the Taikyoku Kata series have additional second, or Ni versions, which are not used in grading, but as supplementary forms and hence not written in the text

TAIKYOKU CHUDAN (tie kee oh koo, choo dunn)
The second basic form comprising the middle parrying block and the middle thrusting punch

TAIKYOKU GEDAN (tie kee oh koo, gay dunn)
The third basic form comprising the low downward block while squatting in the lowered stance at 45° and a thrusting punch at the parallel height of mid section

TAIKYOKU JODAN (tie kee oh koo, joh dunn)
The first basic form comprising the upper rising block and the upper thrusting punch

TAIKYOKU KAKE UKE (tie kee oh koo, kah key, oo key)
The fourth basic form comprising the open hand block (see Kake Uke) while in the three-point stance, followed by the execution of a combined front kick and vertical elbow smash

TAIKYOKU MAWASHI UKE (tie kee oh koo, mah wah shee, oo key)
The fifth basic form comprising the round circular block with heel palm thrust while positioned in the three-point stance, advancing into the lowered squatting stance at 45° angle with a simultaneous elbow smash (accentuated by the open palm of the opposite arm making contact with the elbow), a combination of the back fist snap strike, downward block and a reverse middle thrusting punch

TATE (tah tay)
Rise or get up; a command not written in the text but commonly used during training

TESHO ATE (tay show, ah tay)
Open palm smash to the facial area

TENSHO KATA (ten show, kah tah)
The soft basic form of the Goju system incorporating open hand movements, soft regulated breathing and intense concentration; it is also called the turning palm form

TODE (toh day)
Chinese hand, refers to early history of karate where the word Tode preceded the use of the name karate

TOME (toh may)
To strike without withdrawing recovery; this definition describes static punching used to understand natural reach on the thrust

TORI (toh ree)
The execution of a grabbing technique; this practice compliments one of the four elements of the karate training, e.g. Habushi Waza, Tori Waza, Gyakute Waza and Naga Waza

TSUGI ASHI (soo gee, ah shee)
An advancing stance using the back foot to shuffle forward with the front foot, stepping out to reach the required distance

TSUKI (soo kee)
Thrust; see also Zuki.


UCHI (oo chee)
A snap delivery used as a powerful stunning blow, e.g. Ura Uchi and Shuto Uchi

UCHIDESHI (oo chee day shee)
Apprentice instructor usually noted for his/her eagerness and productiveness both in and out of the dojo. He/she willingly and frequently performs tasks for their Sensei and peers.

UCHI HACHI DACHI (oo chee, haa chee, dah chee)
The fifth non-functional stance; feet wider than shoulder width apart and parallel; also known as Uchi Hachi Monzi Dachi, but shortened for easy pronunciation

UCHI UKE (oo chee, oo kay)
Middle deflecting block, executed with outer forearm turning inward with a short snap

UKE (oo kay)
Block; represents all deflecting techniques and is associated with the technique Habushi Waza

URAUCHI (oo rah oo chee)
Back fist snap strike; also called Uraken—Ura meaning reverse side, Ken meaning fist

URAZUTO (oo rah zoo toh)
Reverse knife hand strike; executed similarly to a back hand, but striking with the blade of the hand; also called Urajuto

USHIRO (oo shee roh)
Behind or to the rear, as in direction

USHIRO HIJIATE (oo shee roh, hee jee ah tay)
Rear elbow smash

USHIRO URAUCHI (oo shee roh, oo rah oo chee)
Rear back fist snap strike from the position of both fists clenched, striking fist on top of the other and located in front of the body at mid section level; will be directed to upper, middle or lower areas as directed


WAZA (wah zah)
Technique; this word is not written in the text but is occasionally used when referring to a technique


YAKUSOKU KUMITE (yah koo soh koo, koo mee tay)
Pre-arranged sparring

YAME (yah may)
Stop or discontinue

YOl (yoh ee)
Ready or prepare; can be applied several ways, i.e. the ready stance Heiko Dachi; one’s preparedness to engage in combat; a ready state of mind

YO IBUKI (yoh ee,boo kee)
Strong breathing with a vocal ‘hiss’ created by expelling air from the lower abdomen; mainly used when exercising Kata, especially in the Sanchin form

YOKO (yoh koh)
Side, as a position of direction in which one delivers a technique

YOKO GERI (yoh koh, gay ree)
Lower roundhouse kick to the side of the body

YOKO HIJIATE (yoh koh, hee jee ah tay)
Elbow smash directed to the side

YOKO UKE (yoh koh, oo kay)
Side parry block; correct usage of the middle parrying block as the parrying action deflects the intended blow outward

YOKO UKE GEDAN SHITA BARAI (yoh koh, oo kay, gay dunn, she tah, bah rah ee)
Middle parry and downward block combination

YOKO URAUCHI (yoh koh, oo rah oo chee)
Back fist snap strike directed at the side while both arms are in a flexed position

YON (yon)
Number four (4) when counting in Japanese; used when counting past 10, e.g. 14, 24, 34; see also Shi

YON HON KUMITE (yon, hon, koo mee tay)
Four-point sparring; pre-arranged sparring located in the advance training text

YONJUGODO (yon joo goh doh)
45 degree angle; literal meaning is Yon Ju — 40, Go — 5, Do — way

YORI ASHI (yoh ree, ah shee)
Leading foot shuffle, as done in the advancing stance of a three quarter lunge, or in the cat stance when stepping out with the heel and ball footwork

YUDANSHA (yoo dunn shaa)
Black belt division or senior rank

YUKURI (yoo koo ree)
Slow or reduce speed

YUMIBARI (yoo mee bah ree)
Archers form from the second advanced Kata Seinchin; signified by its low squatting stance perpendicular to the front, with one hand raised at head level and other lowered and adjacent to the forward leg


ZANSHIN (zahn sheen)
Being totally alert and aware, projecting a finished form at all times; a simplified definition is the combative attitude one takes when engaging in any situation (practice or real) with oneself or an opponent; total readiness

ZENKUTSU DACHI (zen koot soo, dah chee)
Lunge stance with weight distribution 60% / 40%

ZENKUTSU DACHI CHUDAN UKE (zen koot soo, dah chee, choo dunn, oo kay)
Lunge stance executing middle parrying block

ZENKUTSU DACHI CHUDAN ZUKI (zen koot soo, dah chee, choo dunn, zoo kee)
Lunge stance executing middle thrusting punch, performed with timing, the thrusting punch is delivered with the corresponding advancing foot

ZENKUTSU DACHI HIJIATE (zen koot soo, dah chee, choo dunn, hee jee ah tay)
Executing vertical rising elbow smash while advancing in the full lunge stance, performed with timing

ZENKUTSU DACHI KERI KOMI (zen koot soo, dah chee, kay ree, koh mee)
Executing a thrusting front kick while advancing into the full lunge stance, the foot delivering the kick is always the back foot

ZUKI (voo kee)
Descriptive form of the thrust application; this word—and other words such as Tachi, Mae and Shomen — is typical of Japanese ideography


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