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Karate Terminology

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Karate Terminology

Karate Terms:

Many commands given in the dojo are spoken in Japanese to preserve the traditional spirit of the art. 

This practice also makes it easier to understand visiting masters that speak little or no english. 


Don’t be intimidated, the terms become easy to understand as classes become more familiar.

General Terms

Chudan = Middle / stomach level
Dan = Black belt rank
Dojo = Training hall
Gi = Uniform
Hai = Yes, or an acknowledgement
Hajime = Begin!
Hidari = Left
Ippon Kumite = One step sparring
Jodan = Head level
Karatedo = Empty hand way
Karateka = Karate practitioner
Kari = Half rank
Kata = Form
Kiai = A spirited shout, or yell, for focus
Kihon = Basics
Kime = Focus of a technique
Kizami = Leading side
Kumite = Sparring
Kyu = Color belt rank
Mae = Front.
Yame = Stop
Migi = Right
Obi = Belt
Ossu = acknowledgement / greeting
Rei = Bow
Sanbon Kumite = Three step sparring
Seiza = Formal sitting posture
Sempai = Senior student
Sensei = Teacher
Shiai = A tournament, or competition
Yame = Stop
Zanshin = Continuation of energy / Follow through

Punching Techniques

Tsuki/Zuki = Punch
Gyaku Zuki
 = Reverse Punch
Kizami Zuki = Jab
Oi Zuki = Step-in Punch
Sanbon Zuki = Triple Punch

Kicking Techniques

Geri (geh-ree) = Kick
Mae Geri (my geh-ree) = Front Kick
Mawashi Geri (muh-wah-shee geh-ree)= Roundhouse Kick
Yoko Keage (yoh-koh kay-ah-geh)= Side Snap Kick
Yoko Kekome (yoh-koh kay-koh-mee)= Side Thrust Kick
Ushiro Geri (ew-shee-roh geh-ree)= Back Thrust Kick

Blocking Techniques

Age Uke = Rising/Upper Block
Gedan Barai = Downward/Sweeping Block
Shuto Uke = Knife-Hand Block
Soto Uke = Outside Block
Uchi Uke = Inside Block
Uke = Block / Receiver of Attack

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