With this karate dictionary, we would like to offer to all karat├ękas and interested persons a page of reference translating and explaining principles of the karate terminology. Owing to the very extensive general vocabulary of the martial art karate, this dictionary may represent a limited part of the special terms only and, thus, does not lay claim to completeness.

The spelling of the Japanese special terms corresponds to international standards. All terms are written in Latin transcription considering the pronunciation and are arranged in alphabetical order.


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

AGE-EMPI UCHI, upward elbow strike. Sometimes called tate empi uchi, as seen in the kata Nijushiho

ASHI BARAI, foot/leg sweep

ASHI, foot or leg

ASHI URA, sole of foot

ASHI WAZA, name given to all leg and foot techniques

ASHIBO-KAKE UKE, leg hooking block, in which the leg is raised to the side and swung in a circle to deflect an


ASHIKUBI-KAKE UKE, ankle hooking block. Normally used to block a front kick; similar in motion to ashibo-kake uke

ASHIZOKO, bottom foot, used to sweep an opponent's foot during ashi barai CHUDAN Mid-section

ATE WAZA, smashing techniques

ATEMI WAZA, striking techniques that are normally used in conjunction with grappling and throwing techniques

AWASE UKE, combined block. A generic term for any combined block

AWASE ZUKI, combined punch, or U punch. Also referred to as morote zuki

BU, military/ martial

BUDO, military way or martial way

BUDOKA, military way person.

BUNKAI, an analysis of the techniques and application of kata

BUSHI, warrior

BUSHIDO, way of the warrior

CHOKU ZUKI, straight punch = kara zuki

CHUDAN UDE UKE, middle level forearm block

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


DAN ZUKI, consecutive punching (same hand)

DO, way/path

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

DOMO ARIGATO GOZAIMASHITA , thank you very much

EMBUSEN , performance line of a given kata


EMPI UCHI, elbow strike also called hiji ate

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

ENSHO, round heel

FUDO DACHI, rooted stance, also called sochin dachi

FUKUTO, the outside of the lower part of the thigh

FUMI DASHI, straightening the pivot leg strongly and sliding the moving leg lightly while keeping the hips level


FUMIKIRI GERI,cutting kick

FUMIKOMI GERI, stamping kick

FUSHI, joint, knuckle

GANKAKU DACHI, crane stance

GANMEN, head and face area

GASSHUKU, special training camp

GEDAN BARAI, lower level sweep

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

GEDAN KAKE UKE, downward hooking block

GEDAN, lower section of body

GEDAN SOTO UDE UKE, lower level outside forearm block, as seen in the kata Tekki Nidan

GEDAN UDE UKE, low forearm block

GEDAN UKE, lower Level block

GEDAN ZUKI, a punch to the lower section

GERI & ASHI WAZA kicks and foot/leg techniques

GERI /KERI , kick.

GO NO SEN , the tactic where one allows the opponent to attack first so to open up targets for counter-attack

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

GOSHIN JUTSU, art of self-defence. In some styles this is practised instead of kata and freestyle

GOSHIN, self defence

GYAHU HANMI, reverse half-front facing position

GYAKU ASHI, reverse foot

GYAKU KAITEN, reverse rotation (against technique)

GYAKU MAWASHI GERI, reverse round-house kick

GYAKU ZUKI, reverse punch

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

HACHIMAKI, head wrapping. It is the cloth wrapped round the head to stop sweat from running in to the eyes,

HAI, yes/lung

HAIBU, the back area

HAIMEN, back or rear side

HAISHU, back-hand

HAISHU UCHI, back hand strike. It is the strike with the back of the hand where the hand and fingers should be straight

HAISHU UKE, back hand block. A block using the back of the hand

HAISOKU, Instep of the foot (the area on the top of the foot)

HAITO, ridge-hand

HAITO UCHI, ridge-hand strike

HAITO UKE, ridge-hand block

HAI-WAN, back arm; upper side of the forearm

HAIWAN NAGASHI UKE, back-arm sweeping bloc

HAIWAN UKE, back arm block

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

HANGETSU DACHI, half-moon stance

HANMI, half-front-facing position

HARA, abdomen, the same as tanden

HARAI TE, sweeping technique with the arm

HARAI WAZA, sweeping techniques

HASAMI ZUKI, scissor punch

HATA, flag (the flags used by referees during competitions)

HEIKO ZUKI, parallel punch; (a double, simultaneous punch)

HEISOKU DACHI, an informal attention stance

HIDARI KAMAE, left posture, used to describe when your left side is forward in a stance

HIDARI, left (left side)

HIRAKEN, flat fist or fore knuckle fist

HIZA, knee or lap

HIZA GERI, knee kick

HIZA UKE, blocking action using the knee

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

ICHI BYOSHI, in one breath

IKKEN HISATSU, to kill with one blow

IPPON KUMITE, basic one-step sparring

IPPON NUKITE, one finger strike. It is a stabbing action using the extended index finger

IPPON TSUKI, one finger thrust. Today we use the term ippon nukite

. 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

KAGI UKE, hooking block

KAGI ZUKI, hook punch

KAISHO, open hand; this refers to the type of blow which is delivered with the open palm

KAISHO UKE, open hand block

KAKATO GERI, axe kick, striking with the back of the heel KAKATO Heel (of the foot)

KAKE UKE, hooking block

KAKIWAKE UKE , reverse wedge block. A two-handed block using the outer surface of the hand

KAMAE /GAMAE, position / posture or stance

KAN, hall, house, building, place

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

KEITO UCHI, chicken head strike

KEITO UKE, chicken head block

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

KENTSUI / TETTSUI UCHI , hammer fist strike

KENTSUI TETTSUI UKE, hammer fist block

KERI WAZA, kicking techniques

KESA GERI, diagonal kick

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”)

KINTEKI , testicles

KIZAMI ZUKI, jabbing punch

KOKUTSU DACHI , back stance

KOKYO , breathing (rhythm)

KOSA DACHI , cross stance or crossed-feet or crossed legged stance

KOSA UKE, crossed block

KOSHI, ball of the foot

KUMITE, sparring

KUSAGAKURE, outside edge of the top of the foot

KUZUSHI, crushing the enemy

MAE ASHI GERI, kicking with the front leg

MAE EMPI UCHI/ MAE HIJI ATE, Forward elbow strike MAE , front

MAE GERI, front kick

MAE GERI KEAGE , front snapping kick

MAE GERI KEKOMI, front thrust kick

MAE TOBI GERI, jumping front kick

MAKIWARA, punching board, literally straw wrap

MANABU, learning by imitating. A method of studying movement and techniques by following and imitating the instructor

MANJI UKE, Hi/low block (Heian Godan)


MAWASHI EMPI UCHI ( mawashi hiji ate), circular elbow strike

MAWASHI GERI, roundhouse kick

MAWASHI ZUKI, roundhouse punch

MAWATTE, this is a command given to turn around

MEN, face

MIGI KAMAE, right posture

MIGI, right (right side)

MIKAZUKI GERI, crescent kick

MIKAZUKI, lower ridge of the lower jaw

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

NAGASHI UKE, sweeping block

NAIHANCHI DACHI, it is similar to kiba dachi, but with the feet turned in. Funakoshi Sensei changed the name Naihanchi to Tekki

NAMI ASHI, inside snapping block, also known as returning wave. This can be seen in the kata Tekki Shodan

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

NIDAN GERI, double jumping kick, this can be seen at the end of the kata Kanku Dai

NIHON NUKITE, two finger strike

NUKITE, spear hand, straight thrust

OI ZUKI, lunge punch.

ONEGAI SHIMASU, I welcome you to train with me or literally I make a request. Said to the partner when initiating practice

OSAE UKE, pressing block

OTOSHI, downward/dropping

OTOSHI EMPI UCHI, an elbow strike executed by dropping the elbow. Also can be said otoshi hiji ate

OTOSHI-UKE, dropping block

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

REIGI, etiquette.

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

RENZOKU GERI, combination kick

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

SANREN ZUKI, three consecutive punches

SEIKEN, fore fist, regular fist

SEIRETSU, lining up

SEIZA, proper sitting position where one kneels with feet pointed and crossed at the back

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

SHIKO DACHI, square stance, or four thigh stance also sometimes called sumo stance

SHIN, Heart


SHIRI, Buttocks

SHITA, Tongue

SHIZEN DACHI, natural stance, body relaxed but alert

SHOMEN, front or top of head, also it is the designated front of a dojo

SHUTO, knife-hand

SHUTO UCHI , knife hand strike

SHUTO UKE, knife-hand block

SOCHIN DACHI /FUDO DACHI, rooted stance: diagonal straddle leg stance.

SOKKO, top of the foot

SOKUTEI, sole of foot

SOKUTO, edge of foot; the striking area in a side thrust kick

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

SUIGETSU, solar-plexus

TACHI DACHI, standing or stance.. in

TAI, body

TAI SABAKI , body movement/shifting/angling

TAMESHI WARI, test of technique's power

TANDEN, one's centre of gravity, navel area; (also see Hara)

TATE EMPI UCHI, upward elbow strike

TATE SHUTO UKE, vertical knife-hand block

TATE URAKEN UCHI, vertical back-fist strike

TATE ZUKI, vertical punch, punch with the palm

TE GATANA UKE, hand sword block, this is now most commonly referred to as shuto uke

TE, hand

TEIJI DACHI, stance with the feet in a T-shape

TEISHO BARAI, palm heel sweep, as seen in the kata Unsu

TEISHO, palm

TETTSUI UCHI/ KENTSYI, bottom fist strike

TOBI GERI, jumping kick

TOMOE, stomach

TSUKAMI UKE, grasping block

TSUKI WAZA, punching techniques

UCHI MAWASHI GERI, inside roundhouse kick

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

UCHI-KOMI, deep strike

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

UDE, forearm

UDE UKE, forearm block

UKE, block

URA ZUKI / STAZ ZUKI, an upper cut, close punch used at close range

URAKEN, back knuckle; back-fist

URAKEN UCHI, back fist strike

URAKEN UKE, back fist block.

USHIRO, back or rear

USHIRO EMPI UCHI, striking to the rear with the elbow

USHIRO GERI, back kick

USHIRO MAWASHI EMPI UCHI, back roundhouse elbow strike

WAZA, technique

YAMA ZUKI, U-shaped double punch:

YASUMI, rest /relax, a term used by the instructor to the students

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

YOKO TOBI GERI, flying side kick

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

YUBI , finger

ZANSHIN KAMAE , Awareness posture

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

ZENSHIN, forward, entire body

ZORI, Japanese slippers

ZUKI / TSUKI, punching

ZUNO, Head or brains


Ichi 1

Ni 2

San 3

Shi 4

Go 5

Roku 6

Shichi 7

Hachi 8

Ku 9

Ju 10


AIUCHI, Simultaneous scoring technique. No point awarded to either contestant. Referee brings fists together in front of the chest

AKA, Red

AKA, (SHIRO) IPPON Red (White) scores Ippon. The Referee obliquely raises his arm on the

side of the winner (as in ...No kachi)

AKA, (SHIRO)NO KACHI Red (White) wins. The Referee obliquely raises his arm on the side of the winner

ATENAI YONI, Warning without penalty. This may be imposed for attempted minor infractions or for the first instance of a minor infraction. The Referee raises one hand in a fist with the other hand covering it at chest level and shows it to the offender

ATOSHI BARAKU, A little more time left. An audible signal will be given by the time keeper 30 seconds before the actual end of the bout


CHUI, Warning [short of an actual penalty]

ENCHO, Extension or continuation. The overtime period in a bout which was drawing to the end of the normal time

ENCHO-SEN, Extension. After a draw, the match goes into overtime. Referee reopens the match with command Shobu hajime

FUJUBUN, Not enough power

FUKUSHIN SHUGO, Judges conference. A term used in competitions calling the corner judges to come together

HANSOKU, Foul. This is imposed following a very serious infraction which results in the opponent's score being raised to sanbon/ ippon. The Referee points with his

index finger to the face of the offender at a 45 degree angle and announces victory for the opponent.

HANSOKU CHUI, Warning [with an ippon /wazari penalty] Hansoku-chui is usually imposed for infractions for which a keikoku has previously been given a warning in that bout.The Referee points with his index finger to the abdomen of the offender, parallel to the floor.

HANSOKU GACHI, Winner by violation. Where your opponent has violated the rules and been disqualified.

HANSOKUMAKE, Loser by violation

HANTEI, Judgement. Where the judges choose a winner. Referee calls for judgment by blowing his whistle and the judges render their decision by flag signal

HANTEI KACHI, Winner by decision

HASHI, Edge or border, used to describe the area used in competition

HIKIWAKE, Draw. Referee crosses arms over chest, then uncrosses and holds arms out from the body with the palms showing upwards

IPPON SHOBU, One point match, used in tournaments


JOGAI, Exit from fighting area. The Referee points with his index finger at a 45 degree angle to the area boundary on the side of the offender

JOGAI KEIKOKU, Second exit from fighting area [waza-ari penalty is given to the opponent]

JOGAI HANSOKU CHUI, Third exit from fighting area. Referee uses two hand signals with the announcement "Aka (or Shiro) jogai hansoku chui". He first points with his index finger to the match boundary on the side of the offender, then to the offender's abdomen [an Ippon is awarded to the opponent]

KACHI, Victorious in a tournament

KEIKOKU, Warning [with waza-ari penalty in sanbon shobu]. Keikoku is imposed for minor infractions for which a warning has previously been given in

that bout, or for infractions not sufficiently serious enough to merit hansoku-chui. Referee points with his index finger to the feet of the offender at an angle of 45 degrees

KIKEN, Renunciation. The Referee points one index finger towards the contestant

MIENAI, I could not see. A call by a judge to indicate that a given technique was not visible from his/her angle

MOTO NO ICHI, Original Position. Contestants, referee and judge return to their respective standing lines

MUBOBI, Warning for lack of regard for ones own safety. Referee points one index finger in the air at a 60 degree angle on the side of the offender

RENSEI, Practice tournament. Competitors are critiqued on their performances

SHOBU SANBON, Three point match

SHOBO IPPON, One Point match

SHIAI, A match or a contest

SHIKKAKU, Disqualification. This is a disqualification from the actual tournament,competition, or match. The opponent's score is raised to sanbon] In

order to define the limit of shikkaku, the Referee Council must be consulted. Shikkaku may be invoked when a contestant commits an act

which harms the prestige and honour of Karate-Do and when other actions are considered to violate the rules of the tournament. Referee uses two hand signals with the

announcement aka (shiro) - shikkaku." He first points with his index finger at the offender's face, then obliquely above and behind him. The Referee will announce with

the appropriate gesture as previously given "aka (shiro) no kachi!"

SHIRO, White

SHOBU IPPON HAJIME, Start the one Point match

SHOBU SANBON HAJIME, Start the three point match

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