Glossary of Karate terminology used by the KUGB

This page contains a brief glossary of some of the more commonly used Japanese terminology KUGB Karateka will need on their way to gaining Black Belt.

The glossary includes the Japanese words / phrases, and their English translation, used during training sessions and gradings, and students should familiarise themselves with these terms alongside the KUGB Grading Syllabus(The grading syllabus opens in a new browser window allowing you refer to them both side-by-side).

Your club instructor(s), Sensei, will use these terms often, helping you to understand their meanings and pronunciations. Any questions should be discussed with your club instructor.

Japanese Translation     Japanese Translation
General Terms  
Dojo Training Hall     Dojo Kun Dojo code
Sensei Instructor     Seiza Kneel
Rei Bow     Yoi Ready
Migi Right     Hidari Left
Kamae-te Move to ready position     Hajime Start/begin
Mawatte Turn     Yame Finish/stop
Gi Karate suit     Obi Belt
Kime Focus     Kiai Martial shout
Kihon Basic techniques     Kata Formal exercises
Kumite Sparring     Zanshin Martial state of mind
Jodan Head       or awareness
Chudan Middle body     Oss Respectful greeting
Gedan Lower body       or acknowledgment or
          understanding of a
Dachi – Stances  
Heiko dachi Natural stance     Heisoku dachi Feet together stance
Musubi dachi Informal stance     Zenkutsu dachi Front stance
Kiba dachi Straddle stance     Shiko dachi Open leg/Sumo stance
Kokutsu dachi Back stance        
Uke – Blocks  
Gedan Barai Downward block     Age Uke Rising block
Soto Uke Outside block     Uchi Uke Inside block
Shuto uke Knife hand block     Tate Shuto uke Vertical knife hand block
Nagashi uke Sweeping block     Haishu uke Back hand block
Empi uke Elbow block     Juji uke X block
Morote uke Augmented block     Kakewake uke Wedge block
Tsuki – Punches  
Kara/Choku tsuki Straight punch     Oi tsuki Stepping punch
Kizami tsuki Front hand punch     Gyaku tsuki Reverse punch
Kagi tsuki Hook punch     Ren tsuki Two punch combination
Sanbon tsuki Three punch combination        
Uchi – Strikes  
Age empi uchi Rising elbow strike     Yoko empi uchi Side elbow strike
Mawashi empi uchi Round elbow strike     Ushiro empi uchi Reverse elbow strike
Tate empi uchi Downward elbow strike     Shuto uchi Knife hand strike
Uraken uchi Back fist strike     Tetsui uchi Hammer fist strike
Nukite Spear hand thrust     Teisho uchi Palm heel strike
Haito uchi Ridge hand strike        
Geri – Kicks  
Mae geri Front kick     Yoko geri keage Side snap kick
Yoko geri kekomi Side thrust kick     Mawashi geri Roundhouse kick
Ushiro geri Back kick     Hiza geri Knee kick
Ren geri Kicking combinations     Nidan geri Two kicks with same leg
  stepping between kicks       without step between
Kumite – Sparring  
Sanbon Kumite Three step sparring     Gohon Kumite Five step sparring
Kihon Ippon Kumite Basic one-step sparring     Jiyu Ippon Kumite Semi-free style sparring
Kaishi Ippon Kumite Reaction sparring     Jiyu Kumite Free style sparring

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