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.

JapaneseTranslation  JapaneseTranslation
General Terms 
DojoTraining Hall  Dojo KunDojo code
SenseiInstructor  SeizaKneel
ReiBow  YoiReady
MigiRight  HidariLeft
Kamae-teMove to ready position  HajimeStart/begin
MawatteTurn  YameFinish/stop
GiKarate suit  ObiBelt
KimeFocus  KiaiMartial shout
KihonBasic techniques  KataFormal exercises
KumiteSparring  Zanshin Martial state of mind
JodanHead   or awareness
ChudanMiddle body  OssRespectful greeting
GedanLower body   or acknowledgment or
     understanding of a
Dachi - Stances 
Heiko dachiNatural stance  Heisoku dachiFeet together stance
Musubi dachiInformal stance  Zenkutsu dachiFront stance
Kiba dachiStraddle stance  Shiko dachiOpen leg/Sumo stance
Kokutsu dachiBack stance    
Uke - Blocks 
Gedan BaraiDownward block  Age UkeRising block
Soto UkeOutside block  Uchi UkeInside block
Shuto ukeKnife hand block  Tate Shuto ukeVertical knife hand block
Nagashi ukeSweeping block  Haishu ukeBack hand block
Empi ukeElbow block  Juji ukeX block
Morote ukeAugmented block  Kakewake ukeWedge block
Tsuki - Punches 
Kara/Choku tsukiStraight punch  Oi tsukiStepping punch
Kizami tsukiFront hand punch  Gyaku tsukiReverse punch
Kagi tsukiHook punch  Ren tsukiTwo punch combination
Sanbon tsukiThree punch combination    
Uchi - Strikes 
Age empi uchiRising elbow strike  Yoko empi uchiSide elbow strike
Mawashi empi uchiRound elbow strike  Ushiro empi uchiReverse elbow strike
Tate empi uchiDownward elbow strike  Shuto uchiKnife hand strike
Uraken uchiBack fist strike  Tetsui uchiHammer fist strike
NukiteSpear hand thrust  Teisho uchiPalm heel strike
Haito uchiRidge hand strike    
Geri - Kicks 
Mae geriFront kick  Yoko geri keageSide snap kick
Yoko geri kekomiSide thrust kick  Mawashi geriRoundhouse kick
Ushiro geriBack kick  Hiza geriKnee kick
Ren geriKicking combinations  Nidan geriTwo kicks with same leg
 stepping between kicks   without step between
Kumite - Sparring 
Sanbon KumiteThree step sparring  Gohon KumiteFive step sparring
Kihon Ippon KumiteBasic one-step sparring  Jiyu Ippon KumiteSemi-free style sparring
Kaishi Ippon KumiteReaction sparring  Jiyu KumiteFree style sparring