Karate Terminology

Glossary of Karate terminology used by Tsutahashi Karate Club as part of the KUGB

This page contains a brief glossary of some of the more commonly used Japanese terminology Tsutahashi Karate Club karateka (students) will need on their way to gaining Black Belt under the Karate Union of Great Britain (KUGB).

The glossary includes the Japanese words / phrases and their English translation which will be used during training sessions and gradings. Tsutahashi Karate Club students should familiarise themselves with these terms alongside the KUGB Grading Syllabus:

Kyu Grading Syllabus

Dan Grading Syllabus

Tsutahashi Karate Club instructors (Sensei) will use these terms often, helping you to understand their meanings and pronunciations. Any questions should be discussed with your instructor.

General Terms

Dachi: Stances





Dojo Training Hall Heiko dachi Natural stance
Dojo Kun Dojo code Heisoku dachi Feet together stance
Sensei Instructor Musubi dachi Informal stance
Seiza Kneel Zenkutsu dachi Front stance
Rei Bow Kiba dachi Straddle stance
Yoi Ready Shiko dachi Open leg/Sumo stance
Migi Right Kokutsu dachi Back stance
Hidari Left

  Uke: Blocks

Kamae-te Move to ready position
Hajime Start/Begin  Japanese  Translation
Mawatte Turn Gedan Barai Downward block
Yame Finish/Stop Age Uke Rising block
Gi Karate suit Soto Uke Outside block
Obi Belt Uchi Uke Inside block
Kime Focus Shuto uke Knife hand block
Kiai Martial shout Tate Shuto uke Vertical knife hand block
Kihon Basic Techniques Nagashi uke Sweeping block
Kata Formal exercises Haishu uke Back hand block
Kumite Sparring Empi uke Elbow block
Zanshin Spirit/Martial state of mind/awareness Juji uke X block
Jodan Head Morote uke Augmented block
Chudan Middle body Kakewake uke Wedge block
Gedan Lower body

Uchi: Strikes

Oss Respectful acknowledgement or understanding of a command Age empi uchi  Rising elbow strike

  Tsuki - Punches

Yoko empi uchi Side elbow strike
Choku/Kara tsuki Straight punch Mawashi empi uchi Round elbow strike
Oi tsuki Stepping punch Ushiro empi uchi Reverse elbow strike
Kizami tsuki Front hand punch Tate empi uchi Downward elbow strike
Gyakyu tsuki  Reverse punch Shuto uchi Knife hand strike
Kagi tsuki Hook punch Uraken uchi Back fist strike
Ren tsuki Two punch combination Tetsui uchi Hammer fist strike
Sanbon tsuki  Three punch combination Nukite Spear hand thrust

Geri: Kicks

Teisho uchi Palm heel strike
Mae geri Front kick Haito uchi  Ridge hand strike
Yoko geri keage Side snap kick

Kumite: Sparring

Yoko geri kekomi Side thrust kick Sanbon Kumite Three step sparring
Mawashi geri Roundhouse kick Gohon Kumite Five step sparring
Ushiro geri Back kick Kihon Ippon Kumite Basic one-step sparring
Hiza geri Knee kick Jiyu Ippon Kumite Semi-free style sparring
Ren geri Kicking combinations stepping between kicks Kaishi Ippon Kumite Reaction sparring
Nidan geri Two kicks with same leg without step between Jiyu Kumite Free style sparring