Essential Terminology Guide

Knowing Japanese is not a requirement, but as a Sensei or Sempai, it gives you additional credibility if you can use both Japanese and English, and as a student it means that you can train anywhere in the world and still understand the language. It also makes you feel good! Here are all the Japanese words that you'll need to describe kata and common techniques.

 

These are not the authentic Japanese pronunciations necessarily; rather they are the accepted GKR way of saying the words. I will be updating my complete terminology guide with verified Japanese pronunciations and literal meanings in the future.

 

In case you're interested, Romaji is the English alphabet way of spelling Japanese words. The word is a conjunction of two words "Roman" because the English alphabet actually derives from Roman letters; and "kanji" which is the term given to the Japanese alphabet.

 

Go Kan Ryu Karate Do

English

Romaji spelling

GKR pronunciation

Hard

Go

Go

Complete

Kan

Can

School

Ryu

Roo

Empty

Kara

Carah

Hand

Te

Teh

Way of

Do

Doh

 

Counting

English

Romaji spelling

GKR pronunciation

1

Ichi

Itch

2

Ni

Nee

3

San

Sun

4

Shi

Shee

5

Go

Go

6

Roku

Rook

7

Shichi

Shitch

8

Hachi

Hatch

9

Ku

Koo

10

Ju

Joo

 

Kata

English

Romaji spelling

GKR pronunciation

1st kata

Taigyoku shodan

Tay ig yo koo show dahn

2nd kata

Taigyoku nidan

Tay ig yo koo nee dahn

3rd kata

Saifa

Sigh fuh

4th kata

Bassai Dai

Bass eye dye

5th kata

Seiunchin

Say un chin

6th kata

Enpi/Empi

Em pee

7th kata

Sanseru

Sahn seroo

8th kata

Sepai

Seh pie

9th kata

Hangetsu

Hahn get soo

 

Stances

English

Romaji spelling

GKR pronunciation

Parallel/ready stance

Heiko dachi

High coe datch

Long forward stance

Zenkutsu dachi

Zen koot soo datch

Short forward stance

Han zenkutsu dachi

Hahn zen koot soo datch

Back leaning stance

Kokutsu dachi

Coe koot soo datch

Horse riding stance/straddle stance

Kiba dachi

Keeba datch

Sumo stance

Shiko dachi

She coe datch

Cat stance

Neko ashi dachi

Neck oh ash ee datch

Pigeon-toed/hourglass stance

Sanchin dachi

Sun chin datch

Reverse cat stance

Gyaku nekoashi dachi

Gee ackoo neck oh ash ee datch

 

Strikes

English

Romaji spelling

GKR pronunciation

Stomach-level punch

Chudan tsuki

Chew dahn zooh key

Head-level punch

Jodan tsuki

Joe dahn zooh key

Front backfist

Uraken

You ra ken

Side backfist

Yoko uraken

Yoe koe you ra ken

Ridge-hand strike

Haito uchi

High toe oo chee

Short punch

Shita tsuki

Sheet ah zooh key

Rising elbow strike

Hiji ate

Hid jee ahh tee

Round elbow strike

Mawashi empi uchi

Mar wash ee em pee

Outside knife-hand strike

Soto shuto uchi

Sot oh shoe toe oo chee

Inside knife-hand strike

Uchi shuto uchi

Oo chee shoe toe oo chee

Straight punch (more accurately Choku tsuki)

Seiken

Say ken

Punch

Tsuki

Zoo key

Strike

Uchi

Oo chee

Reverse punch

Gyaku tsuki

Gee ack oo zoo key

Stepping or lunging punch

Oi tsuki

Oy zoo key

 

Blocks

English

Romaji spelling

GKR pronunciation

Rising head-level block

Jodan age uke

Joe dahn agay oo key

Inside block

Uchi uke

Oo chee oo key

Outside block

Soto uke

Sot oh oo key

Downward block

Gedan barai

Ged ahn bar eye

Sweeping block

Gedan uke

Ged ahn oo key

Double block

Chuge uke

Chew gee oo key

Hooking block

Kake uke

Car kay oo key

Round block

Mawashi uke

Mar wash ee oo key

 

 

 

Block

Uke

Oo key

 

Kicks

English

Romaji spelling

GKR pronunciation

Front kick

Mae geri

My geree

Round kick

Mawashi gero

Mar wash ee geree

Side kick

Yoko geri

Yo koe geree

Back kick

Ushiro geri

Oo shee row geree

 

 

 

Kick

Geri

Geree

 

General

English

Romaji spelling

GKR pronunciation

Yes

Hai

High

Stop

Yame

Yam ay

Start

Hajime

Ha jimmay

Prepare to bow

Seisa

Say zar

Bow

Rei

Ray

Each other/everybody

Otagai

Auto gar nee (bad) Octa gar nee (terrible!)

Close your eyes

Mokuso

Mock so

Open your eyes

Mokuso yame

Mock so yam ay

Teacher

Sensei

Sen say

Assistant

Sempai

Sem pie

Fighting

Kumite

Coo mit ay

Free fighting

Jyu kumite

Jew koo mit ay

Points fighting

Ippon kumite

Ip on koo mit ay

Fighting posture

Kame

Kam ay

Focus

Kime

Key may

Shout of focus and power

Kiai

Key eye

Training hall

Dojo

Doe joe

Awareness

Zanshin

Zan shin

Turn

Mawate

Mar what ay

Founder

Kancho

Can choe

Chief instructor

Shihan

She harn

Application

Bunkai

Bun kie

Grade below black belt

Kyu

Cue

Black belt grade

Dan

Dahn

Straight (punch or wrist)

Seiken

Say ken

Groin level

Gedan

Ge dahn

Stomach level

Chudan

Chew dahn

Head level

Jodan

Joe dahn

Karate suit

Gi

Gee

Empty hand (fighting)

Karate

Car are teh

Practitioner of karate

Karateka

Car are teh kah

Front

Mae

My

Side

Yoko

Yoh koh

Back

Ushiro

Uh shee row

Right

Migi

Mi gee

Left

Hidari

He daree

1st level black belt

Shodan

Show dahn

2nd level black belt

Nidan

Nee dahn

3rd level black belt

Sandan

Sahn dahn

 

Click here to download this terminology guide in printable Adobe Acrobat PDF format.