A – as in father
I – as in ink
U – as in flute
E – as in bed
O – as in oatmeal
BUSHIDO – The Way of the warrior
CHINTO – Kata named after a Chinese sailor. Also a stance (see below).
CHUDAN – Middle or middle level. For example, a middle level punch is generally aimed at the solar plexus but can be anywhere below the shoulders and above the waist.
-DACHI – From tachi meaning stance. See list of stances below.
DAN – One who has attained the Black belt ranking. Also known as yudansha.
DO – Way. Indicates a path to be followed in life as in Karatedo, the Way of the empty hand. DOJO – Place for studying the Way.
EMPI – Elbow. Also known as hiji.
GAIWAN – Outside of the forearm. Used for blocking as in Sotouke. GEDAN – Low or lower level. Generally means below the waist.
GERI – From keri meaning kick as in maegeri. See list of kicks below. HAJIME – Begin
HIDARI – Left.
HIJI – Elbow. Also known as empi.
HIKITE – Pulling hand. Action taken by the non-striking hand to add power to a technique. May also be used to block or pull an opponent off balance.
HITSUI – Knee. Also known as hiza. IPPON – One or one step
JODAN – Upper or upper level. Generally indicates the area above the shoulders. KAMAE – From gamae meaning posture.
KATA – prearranged sequence of techniques making up the foundation of a particular style of karate. KERI – Kick. See list of kicks below.
KI – This term does not translate easily. Ki is the same as the Chinese word chi which some believe is a bioelectric force that flows through the body along pathways called meridians in the same manner as the blood flows through the arteries and veins. Some believe it is your spirit or mental intention.
KIAI – Literally “spirit harmony.” This is the brief moment in executing waza that the body, mind and spirit are in perfect harmony often demonstrated by tensing the abdominal muscles forcing air over the vocal cords resulting in the “karate shout.”.
KIHON – Basic or standard.
KIOTSUKE – Attention. Command to stand in the attention stance, musubi dachi.
KOHAI – Junior. One who is less senior to another. Opposite of sempai.
KOSHI – Pelvic carriage. The pelvis and surrounding structures. Indicates the hip area. KUMITE – Fighting as in ippon kumite (one-step fighting) or jiyu kumite (free fighting). KUSHANKU – Kata named after a Chinese government official.
KUZUSHI – The unbalancing of an opponent either physically (as in a foot sweep), mentally (as in stepping on an opponent’s foot before punching to distract him), or spiritually (as in a fierce kiai just before an opponent attacks to “drain” his fighting spirit).
KYU – Indicates a student who is not ranked as a black belt (dan). Also known as mudansha. MAAI – Combative engagement distance. Distance between opponents.
MAE – Front
MATTE – Stop. Command to stop.
MAWATTE – Turn around. Command to turn around. MIGI – Right.
MOKUSO – Meditation. Command to meditate. MUDANSHA – kyu ranks
MUSHIN – No mind. State of mind where there is no conscious thought.
NAIHANCHI – Kata whose name translated can mean “fighting on the dikes between rice paddies” or “inside fighting.” NAIWAN – Inside of the forearm. Used for blocking as in Uchiuke.
NAOREI – Return to musubi dachi and rei.
NUKITE – Fingertip thrust strike as in ippon nukite (index finger thrust) or yonhan nukite (four finger thrust).
OBI – Belt. Used to indicate the rank of the wearer. Mudansha (kyu ranks) wear colored belts. Yudansha (dan ranks) wear black belts. PINAN – “Peace and tranquillity.” Name of the group of 5 kata Pinan Shodan, Pinan Nidan, Pinan Sandan, Pinan Yondan, and Pinan Godan. REI – Bow
RYU – Style or school of karate. SEIKEN – Fist
SEIKEN ZUKI – Fist punch
SEIRETSU – Line up. Command to line up.
SEISAN – Literally “thirteen.” A kata practiced in Wado Ryu. SEIZA – Kneeling posture. Command to kneel.
SEMPAI – Senior. One who is senior to another. Opposite of kohai.
SENSEI – Literally “one who has gone before.” Refers to the teacher of a class. Also used as a title for one who has attained Sandan rank (third degree black belt).
TACHI – stance. See list of stances below. TACHI REI – Standing bow.
TAE UKE – Position of the arms where one arm is across the chest, palm down and parallel to the ground and the other arm is pulled back beside the chest palm up.
TAISABAKI – Body movement or shifting. Method of moving the body to a more advantageous position for a counter attack. Used in conjunction with ashisabaki (foot movement) and koshisabaki (hip movement).
TATE – Vertical as in tate zuki (vertical fist punch). TOBI – Jump or leap.
TORRE – Attacker
TSUKI – Thrust or punch. See below.
TSUKURI – Creating an opening in your defense to draw the opponent into attacking this “weakness.” This allows you to respond with a specific counterattack.
UKE – Receiver, defender or block. See list of blocking techniques below. URA – Back or reverse.
USHIRO – Backwards.
WADO RYU – “Way of Peace style” or “Way of Harmony style.” Emblem is the Kanji character Wa (peace or harmony) surrounded by the wings of a dove (also a peace symbol).
WAZA – technique. For example, keriwaza are kicking techniques
YAME – Stop. Command to return to ready position. YOI – Prepare. Command to move to ready position. YUDANSHA – black belts
ZANSHIN – State of mind where one is fully aware and alert. ZAREI – Kneeling bow
ZUKI – From tsuki meaning punch or thrust. See list of punches below.
CHINTODACHI – Chinto stance. The toes of both feet are on a line towards the opponent. Both feet are angled in roughly the same direction with the front foot turned in slightly more than the rear foot. Weight is even.
GYAKU NEKOASHIDACHI – Reverse cat stance. Feet are roughly in the same position as in Nekodachi but the rear heel is up while the front heel is down. The rear knee generally points inward. Weight is more on the front foot.
GYAKUZUKIDACHI – Reverse punch stance. Front foot is one foot length wider and one foot length shorter than Junzukidachi. Front foot points in slightly. Weight is more on the front foot.
GYAKUZUKI TSUKKOMIDACHI – Reverse lunge punch stance. Front foot heel is even with rear foot toes on a line perpendicular to the attack line. Both feet point slightly inward. Distance between feet is roughly two and one half shoulder widths. Body leans slightly forward. Weight is more on the front foot.
HANMI NO NEKOASHIDACHI – Half side-facing cat stance. Feet are in the same position as Mashomen No Nekoashidachi but the body is facing 45 degrees instead of facing the opponent. Weight is 2/3 on the rear foot.
HEIKODACHI – Parallel stance or ready stance. Feet are one foot length apart. Feet are pointed straight ahead and the weight is even. HEISOKUDACHI – Closed foot stance. Feet point straight ahead and are together with the heels and toes touching. Weight is even. HIDARISHIZENTAI – Left natural stance. Feet are roughly shoulder width apart with the left foot moved forward roughly one to two foot lengths. The left foot faces forward and the right foot faces 45 degrees to the right. The body also faces 45 degrees to the right. Weight is even. JUNZUKIDACHI – Front punch stance. Distance between the feet is roughly two shoulder widths. Front foot points straight ahead and is one foot length wider than Musubidachi. Weight is more on the front foot.
JUNZUKI TSUKKOMIDACHI – Front lunge punch stance. Front foot points straight ahead. Rear foot points 90 degrees to the side with the heel on the same line as the inside of the front foot. Back leg is straight but not locked. Body is leaning and lined up with the rear leg. Distance between the feet is roughly two and one half shoulder widths. Weight is mostly on the front foot.
KOKUTSUDACHI – Back stance. Front foot is pointed straight ahead or slightly inward. Rear foot is pointed roughly 120 degrees from the front. Feet are roughly two shoulder widths apart with both heels on a line toward the opponent. The front leg is straight but not locked. The body is leaning, aligned with the front leg. Weight is more on the back foot.
KOSADACHI – Crossed stance. Front foot is pointed out 90 degrees. Rear foot is pointed straight ahead. The inside of the rear foot in on the same line as the front heel. Feet are roughly one and one half to two shoulder widths apart. Body faces forward. Weight is even.
MAHANMI NO NEKOASHIDACHI (NEKOASHIDACHI) – Full side facing cat stance. Front foot points towards the opponent. Rear foot faces roughly 120 degrees from the front. The front heel is slightly raised. Body faces 90 degrees sideways to the opponent. Feet are roughly two shoulder widths apart. Weight is 2/3 on the rear foot.
MASHOMEN NO NEKOASHIDACHI (NEKODACHI) – Full front facing cat stance. Front foot faces forwards. Rear foot faces out at 45 degrees. From Migishizentai or Hidarishizentai, raise the front heel slightly while settling 2/3 of the weight onto the rear foot. The body faces forward. MIGISHIZENTAI – Right natural stance. Opposite of Hidarishizentai.
MUSUBIDACHI – Attention stance. Heels are together with the feet pointed out 45 degrees. Weight is even.
NAIHANCHIDACHI – Naihanchi stance or inside fighting stance. Feet are roughly one and one half to two shoulder widths apart and are pointed in slightly. Weight is even.
SAGIASHI DACHI – Heron/Crane stance. Stand on one leg with the toes of the other foot lightly touching the back of the opposite knee. Supporting leg is bent.
SHIKODACHI – Outer circular stance. Feet are roughly two shoulder widths apart and pointed out 45 degrees. Weight is even. SHIZENTAI – Natural stance. Feet are shoulder width apart and are pointed out 45 degrees. Weight is even.
TATE SEISANDACHI – Vertical Seisan stance. Front foot toes and rear foot heel are on a line towards the opponent. Both feet are pointed in roughly the same direction with the front foot slightly more turned. Feet are roughly one and one half to two shoulder widths apart. Weight is even. YOKO SEISANDACHI – Side Seisan stance. From Naihanchidachi, move one foot forward one foot length. Weight is even.
ZENKUTSUDACHI – Front stance, forward stance or fighting stance. From Heikodachi, one foot moves forward roughly one and one half shoulder widths. The front foot faces forward. The rear foot faces out 45 degrees. Weight is even or slightly more on the front foot.
UKEWAZA (Blocking techniques)
GEDANUKE/GEDANBARAI – Low block or low parry made with the forearm. Fist starts palm up at the opposite shoulder and sweeps down and across the body, twisting on contact. Can also be made with shuto or shotei.
HAISHUUKE – Back hand block. Block made with the back of the hand moving from inside to outside. HIJIUKE – Elbow block. Block made with the back or side of the elbow joint area.
JODANUKE – Upper block or high block made with the forearm. Fist starts palm up on the opposite shoulder and moves straight up, twisting on contact. Forearm ends at an angle with the fist higher than the elbow. Can also be made with shuto or shotei.
JUJIUKE – Cross block or “X” block made with both forearms. Can be made upwards or downwards. KAKEUKE – Hook block made with the wrist bent towards the little finger side in a hook shape. KOKENUKE – Block made with the back of the bent wrist. Can be made sideways or upwards. MAWASHIUKE – Round block made with both open hands moving in a circle in the same direction.
NAGASHIUKE – Sweeping block or slip block. Any of the basic blocks (gedan, soto, jodan, haishu) may be made into a nagashi type block by changing the direction in which the block moves from perpendicular to angling back towards your body.
OSAEUKE – Press block made by softly pressing down with the palm or back of the open hand.
OTOSHIUKE – Dropping block made by throwing the arm down on top of the opponent’s attack. Can be made with shuto, shotei, tettsui, or uraken. Usually accompanied by a dropping of the body weight to add power to the technique.
SHUTOUKE – Knife hand block made with the little finger die of the open hand or forearm. Can be made moving inwards, outwards, or downwards.
SOTOUKE – Outside block. Basic middle block made with the outside of the forearm moving from inside to outside. Can be made blocking jodan or chudan.
SUKUIUKE – Scooping block made with the forearm moving in the same direction of an attack sliding under it and lifting. UCHIUKE – Inside block. Block made with the inside of the forearm moving from outside to inside. Can be made jodan or chudan.
TSUKIWAZA (Punching techniques) and UCHIWAZA (Striking techniques)
AWASEZUKI – Combined punch made with one hand punching Urazuki and the other punching Seizuki. EMPI – Elbow strike made upwards, downwards, sideways, inwards, outwards, forwards, or backwards. GYAKUZUKI – Reverse hand punch made with Seizuki.
GYAKUZUKI TSUKKOMI – Reverse hand lunge punch. HAISHU – Back hand strike.
HAITO – Ridge hand strike or inner knife hand strike made with the side of the first knuckle of the index finger. HASAMIUCHI – Scissor strike made with both hands striking Tettsui inwards.
HEIKOZUKI – Parallel punch made with both fists punching side by side. HIRAKEN – Flat fist punch made with the second knuckles of all four fingers
IPPON KEN – One finger fist punch made with the second knuckle of the index finger.
IPPON NUKITE – One finger spear hand thrust made with the tip of the extended index finger. JUNZUKI – Front hand punch made with Seizuki.
JUNZUKI TSUKKOMI – Front hand lunge punch.
KAGIZUKI – Hook punch made with the forearm parallel to your chest. KOKENUCHI – Bent wrist strike made with the back of the bent wrist. MAWASHIZUKI – Round punch made by swinging the arm.
NAGASHIZUKI – Punch made by moving forward and twisting the body out of the way of an oncoming attack. The body moves parallel to and just off of the attack line.
NAKADAKA IPPON KEN – One finger fist punch made with the second knuckle of the middle finger. OYAYUBI IPPON KEN – One finger fist strike made with the second knuckle of the thumb.
SEIZUKI – Normal punch made with the first knuckles of the index and middle fingers. SHOTEI – Palm heel strike.
SHUTO – Knife hand strike.
TATEZUKI – Vertical fist punch made with the little finger side of the fist towards the ground. TETTSUI – Hammer fist strike made with the little finger side of the closed fist.
TOBIKOMIZUKI – Jumping lunge punch. Lunge punch made by jumping the body forward into the technique. URAKEN – Back fist strike made with the back of the first knuckles of the index and middle fingers. URAZUKI – Inverted punch made with the back of the fist pointed towards the ground.
YAMAZUKI – Mountain punch. Similar to Awasezuki but made with the arms bent and the body leaning forward. YONHAN NUKITE – Four finger spear hand thrust made with the tips of the four extended fingers.
KERIWAZA (Kicking techniques)
ASHIBARAI – Foot sweep made by sweeping the opponent’s foot out from under him. FUMIKOMIGERI – Stamping kick made downwards with the side or heel of the foot. HIZAGERI – Forward knee strike.
HIZAMAWASHIGERI – Roundhouse knee strike. KINGERI – Groin kick made with the top of the foot.
MAEGERI – Front kick made with the ball, heel, or toe tips of the foot. MAETOBIGERI – Flying or jumping front kick.
MAWASHIGERI – Roundhouse kick made with the ball or instep of the foot.
MIKAZUKIGERI – Crescent kick made from the outside to the inside using the sole of the foot.
NAMIGAESHI – Returning wave kick made by bringing the foot upwards and inwards striking with the sole or side of the foot as found in Naihanchi kata.
SOTO MIKAZUKIGERI – Outside crescent kick using the side of the foot moving from inside to outside. USHIROGERI – Back kick made backwards using the heel of the foot.
USHIROKINGERI – Backward groin kick made by bringing the heel upward. YOKOGERI – Side kick made to the side using the side of the foot.