Glossary of Japanese Terms

A – B – C – D – E – F – G – H – I – J – K – L – M – N – O – P – Q – R – S – T – U – V – W – X – Y – Z

Age Tsuki Rising Punch
Age Uke Rising Block (Upper Block)
Arigato Guzaimasu Thank You.
Ashi Barai Foot/Leg Sweep
Ate Waza Smashing Technique
Bo Staff
Bunkai Application, explanation, or analysis of technique.
Chudan Middle Area
Dachi Stance
Dachi Waza Stepping Technique
Dan “Man” Rank.  Black belt rank.
Do “The Way” – a school of thought or direction in life.
Dojo “Way Place” – Training hall or karate school.
Domo Arigato Guzaimasu Thank You (formal).
Dozo Please (implies an action, i.e. – please be seated).
Empi Elbow
Fudo Dachi Free Stance
Gedan Lower Area
Gedan Barai Downward Striking Block
Geri Waza Kicking Technique
Gi Karate Uniform
Go Hard or the number Five
Goju Ryu Karate-do The Way of Hard and Soft, Empty-Handed Technique
Gyaku Reverse, also Back or Trailing
Gyuku Tsuki Reverse Punch
Hachiji Dachi Natural Stance
Hai Yes
Haito Ridge Hand
Han Zenkutsu Dachi Half Front Stance
Haraiotoshi Uke Downward Sweeping Block
Harai Sho Uke Archer Palm Block
Heiko Dachi Parallel Stance
Heisoku Dachi Closed Foot Stance (formal attention stance)
Hidari Left
Hiji Elbow
Hajime Start or Begin
Hanshi Chief Grand Master Instructor
Himetsu Secret or Hidden
Ibuki Breathing with tension.
Ippon (Nippon, Sanbon…) One Point (Two Points, Three…)
Ippon Kumite One Point Sparring
Iie No
Joge Uke Middle-Lower Block
Ju Soft or the number Ten
Jiyu Kumite Freestyle Sparring
Jodan Upper Area
Kakato Heel
Kake Uke Wrist Hook Block
Kakuto Uke Crane Head Block
Kamae Posture
Karate Empty Hand
Karate-do The Way of the Empty Hand
Kata Form or Formal Exercise
Kiba Dachi Horse (Riding) Stance
Kihon Basic Techniques (i.e. – blocks, strikes, kicks)
Kihonido Basic Techniques with Linear Movement
Kime Focus
Kobu-do The study of traditional weapons.
Kohai Junior Student (lower rank)
Kokutsu Dachi Back Stance
Kokyu Donto Respiration
Kubi Uchi Swinging Arm Strike
Kuchi Waza Mouthing Technique
Kumite Sparring or Fighting
Kun School creed.  Also, bo or staff.
Kyoshi Grand Master Instructor
Kyu “Boy” Rank.  Beginner level rank.
Ma Te “Listen” or “Attention here”
Migi Right
Musubi Dachi Knot Shaped Stance (informal attention stance)
Mo Ichi Do “One More Time”
Mokuso Meditation
Mushin No Mind
Mushin no Shin The Mind of No Mind
Neko Ashi Dachi Cat Foot Stance
Noalte Finish or formal closing.
No Of
Obi Belt
Onegai Shimasu Asking for a favor (i.e. – Please teach me).
Osae Uke Press Block
O-Sensei The founder of a particular style of karate-do.
Rei Bow, salutation.
Renshi Senior Instructor
Ryu Technique (refers to a style of karate-do).
Sagi Ashi Dachi Heron Foot Stance
Seiza Meditation Posture
Sempai Senior Student (higher rankor Assistant Instructor
Sensei Guide, Instructor, Teacher, One Who Has Gone Before
Shiai Contest or Tournament
Shigata Gai Ni You’re Welcome.
Shihan Master Instructor
Surretsu Line Up
Tanden Lower Abdomen
Ta Te (Ken Tsuki) Chinese Punch
Tae Kiyoko Compass Points (a preparation for kata).
Te Hand
Tsukete Resume or Start Again
Tsuki Waza Punching Technique
Uchi Waza Striking Technique
Ude Uke Forearm Block
Uke Waza Blocking Technique
Ush Yes (usually used only in karate).
Waza Technique (refers to a group of techniques, such as “blocks”).
Yakusoku Kumite Prearranged Sparring
Yame Stop
Yoi Ready
Yoko Geri Side Kick
Yoko Uke Middle Block
Zanshin Fighting Spirit
Zenkutsu Dachi Front Bent Leg Stance

Notes on the Japanese Language:

  • The Japanese language has no sound for the letters L and V.  Instead, R and B are often substituted when pronouncing non-Japanese words.
  • The English letters Q and X represent compound sounds – kw and ks, respectively.  Since Japanese uses a totally different alphabet, Japanese words are translated phonetically, using certain pronunciation rules.  Because is it a phonetic translation there is no need for Q or X, as they are broken down into their component sounds.
  • As a general rule, all Japanese words and syllables end in either a vowel or an N.  Sometimes, however, the final vowel is not fully pronounced.  Thus, “Ichi, Ni, San…” becomes “Ich, Ni, San…”