Karate Terminology




AGE UKE , upper rising block, generally used to guard against an attack to the face; can also be used effectively as an attack

AGE ZUKI (TSUKI), rising punch. Seen in the kata Empi

ASHI BARAI, foot/leg sweep

BUNKAI, an analysis of the techniques and application of kata

BUSHIDO, way of the warrior

CHOKU ZUKI, straight punch = kara zuki

CHUDAN UKE, middle level block. A general term for middle level blocks

CHUDAN ZUKI , a punch to the mid-section of the opponent's body

DOJO, place of the way, the place where martial art is practised

EMBUSEN , performance line of a given kata

EMPI/ ENPI, elbow

EMPI UCHI, elbow strike also called hiji ate

EMPI UKE, Elbow block. A general term for the blocking action using the elbow

GEDAN BARAI, lower level sweep

GEDAN BARAI UKE, lower level sweeping block, same as the gedan barai but using it as a block

GEDAN, lower section of body

GEDAN UKE, lower Level block

GEDAN ZUKI, a punch to the lower section

GERI /KERI , kick.

GOHON KUMITE, five steps basic sparring. The attacker steps and attacks five times one after the other , attacking on each step,while the defender steps back five times, blocking each technique. After the fifth block, the defender applies a counter-attack, usually jodan tsoki then chudan tsoki, maigeri chudan, ma washi geri jodan, yokogeri chudan and the final technique is ushirio geri kekumi

GYAKU ZUKI, reverse punch

HACHIJI DACHI, open leg stance. The feet are positioned about one shoulder width apart and pointed outwards at 45 degrees

HAJIME, begin. It is the command given to start a given technique, kata, or kumite

HARA, abdomen

HEISOKU DACHI, an informal attention stance

HIDARI, left (left side)

HOMBU DOJO, it is the term used to refer to the central dojo

IPPON KUMITE, basic one-step sparring

JIYU IPPON KUMITE, one step free sparring. The participants can attack with any technique, whenever ready

JIYU KUMITE, free sparring

JODAN UKE, high level block

JODAN, upper level, neck and above

JUJI UKE, X-block

KARATE, empty hand

KARATE-DO, Way of Karate, not only the physical aspect of karate

KARATEKA, a practitioner of karate

KEAGE, kick up, snapping kick

KEKOMI, thrust kick (literally, kick into/straight)

TETTSUI UCHI , hammer fist strike

KIAI, spirit focus a focusing yell,One should try to preserve the feeling of kiai within techniques

KIBA DACHI , straddle stance, horse riding stance

KIHON, fundamental. Used to refer to basic techniques

KIME , focus of power; decisive technique (“decision”)

KIZAMI ZUKI, jabbing punch

KOKUTSU DACHI , back stance

KOSA UKE, crossed block

KUMITE, sparring

MAE ASHI GERI, kicking with the front leg

MAE GERI, front kick

MAE GERI KEAGE , front snapping kick

MAE GERI KEKOMI, front thrust kick

MAWASHI GERI, roundhouse kick

MAWATTE, this is a command given to turn around

MIGI, right (right side)

MIKAZUKI GERI, crescent kick

MOKUSO, meditation . This is practice often begging or at the end of training, with a brief period of meditation

MOROTE UKE, assisted block. One arm and fist supports the other arm

MOROTE ZUKI /AWASE ZUKI, U-punch. Punching with both fists simultaneously

MUSUBI DACHI, Informal attention stance, heels placed together, feet at 90 degrees, but with each foot turned out at 45 degree

NEKO-ASHI DACHI, cat's foot stance, or as commonly called, cat stance

NUKITE, spear hand, straight thrust

OI ZUKI, lunge punch

REI, respect. This is a way of showing respect in Japanese culture to each other by bowing

REN GERI, consecutive kicking, alternate kicking, for example: left and then right

SANBON KUMITE, three step sparring

SANBON ZUKI, A series of three punches, generally the first is oi zuki jodan, followed by a slight pause then two chudan oi zuki

SEN NO SEN , attacking at the exact moment when the opponent attacks

SEN SEN NO SEN, attacking before the opponent attacks – pre-emptive attack

SHIHON NUKITE, four finger strike

SHIZEN DACHI, natural stance, body relaxed but alert

SHUTO UCHI , knife hand strike

SHUTO UKE, knife-hand block

SOTO UDE UK, outside forearm block or sometimes said as lower wrist block. Block from outside inward

SOTO UKE, outside block, normally a shortened version of soto ude uke

TE, hand

TETTSUI UCHI bottom fist strike

UCHI UDE UKE, inside forearm block. Block from inside outward

UCHI-UKE, inside block generally used as a short version of uchi ude uke

UDE UKE, forearm block

UKE, block

URAKEN, back knuckle; back-fist

URAKEN UCHI, back fist strike

URAKEN UKE, back fist block

USHIRO, back or rear

USHIRO GERI, back kick

YAMA ZUKI, U-shaped double punch

YOI , ready

YOKO EMPI UCHI, side elbow strike

YOKO GERI KEAGE, side snap kick.

YOKO GERI KEKOMI, side thrust kick

YOKO GERI, side kick

YOKO, side

YORI ASHI, sliding the feet, moving both feet at the same time without changing

ZANSHIN, remaining in a balanced and aware state after a technique has been completed

ZENKUTSU DACHI, forward stance. The actual translation means front knee bent stance

ZUKI / TSUKI, punching



Ichi = 1

Ni = 2

San = 3

Shi = 4

Go = 5

Roku = 6

Shichi = 7

Hachi = 8

Ku = 9

Ju = 10

11 Jyu Ichi
12 Jyu Ni
13 Jyu San
14 Jyu Shi
15 Jyu Go
16 Jyu Roku
17 Jyu Shichi
18 Jyu Hachi
19 Jyu Ku
20 Nijyu