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The Willington Karate Club does not require its students to use any language other then English. This being said we often field questions about what different terms mean they encounter when reading and studying. While we do not use these terms in class it is important to at least have a reference when practicing traditional karate. This page is serves that purpose. Some of the terminology here is useful when performing any sort of research into the martial arts. So here it is, let me know if there are terms not represented here and I will add them.


Numerical Ranks

Japanese English Japanese English
ichi one ichi ban first
ni two ni ban second
san three san ban third
shi four yon ban fourth
go five go ban fifth
roku six roku ban sixth
shichi seven nan ban seventh
hachi eight hachi ban eighth
gu nine kyu ban ninth
ju ten ju ban tenth

Belt Ranks

Japanese English
shodan ho first dan
shodan first dan
nidan second dan
sandan third dan
yondan fourth dan
godan fifth dan

Basic Terms

Japanese English
Soke founder
Shihan master
Sensei teacher
Sempai senior student
Kohai student
dojo karate school
tatami training area
makiwara punching board
gi karate uniform
hara abdominal tension
kime focus
kihon basics
kumite sparring
kata pre arranged form of movements
koshi ball of foot
ma-ai distancing
sanchin awareness
zuki or tsuki punch
geri kick
uchi strike
uke block
dachi stance
ken knuckle
kage hook
mawashi roundhouse
ushiro back

Basic Stances

Japanese English
heiko dachi heels together toes apart with straight legs
gankaku dachi crane stance
kake dachi one knee pressed in the back of the bent front leg
kiba dachi horse stance similar to shiko dachi but feet face forward
kokutsu dachi back stance
musubi dachi heels together, toes apart at 90 deg
neko ashi dachi cat stance
sanchin dachi hour glass stance
shiko dachi sumo stance
shizen dachi open leg stance before "yoi"
shizen dachi heiko "yoi dachi" feet shoulder width apart facing forward
sochin dachi diagonal straddle leg stance
yoi dachi ready stance feet shoulder width apart
zenkutsu dach forward stance

Attack Levels

Japanese English
jodan above shoulder level
chudan middle area between hips and shoulder
gedan lower area below hips

Training Commands

Japanese English
hajime begin / start
kamae te on guard
mawate turn around / change direction
seiza to kneel or sit back on heels
yame stop
yasame relax, stand at ease
yoi ready

Hand/Elbow Attacks

Japanese English
age zuki rising punch
awase zuki combined punch
choko zuki straight punch
gyaku zuki reverse punch
hiraken zuki fore knuckle fist straight punch (second joints of fingers)
ippon ken zuki one knuckle punch
kage zuki hook punch
kizami zuki front jab
mae ken zuki front hand punch (vertical fist)
mawashi zuki roundhouse punch
morote zuki double fist punch
oi zuki lunge punch (step over punch)
tataken zuki as above
teisho zuki palm heel straight punch
tettsui hammer fist
ura zuki close punch
yama zuki double handed U punch
empi uchi elbow stike (also called hijiatei)
haishu uchi backhand strike
keito uchi chicken head strike
haito uchi ridge hand strike
hiraken punch using the second knuckles of the hand (towards throat)
mawashi uke circular block
nukite spear hand strike
shotei palm heel strike towards chin or nose
shuto uchi knife hand strike towards side of neck - the karate chop!
teisho palm heel strike towards other areas such as inner bicep
uraken back knuckle strike


Japanese English
jodan age uke upper rising block
chudan ude uke mid section across the body block using forearm
chudan uchi uke mid section inside out block using forearm
gedan barai lower block
jiyi uke cross block
kake te hooking hand (for grabbing)
kake uke hooking block
mine uke backhand block with bent wrist
morote uke two hand forearm block
nami ashi inside snapping block with foot
nagashi uke open hand pushing block
osae uke pressing hands
shuto uke knife hand block
sukui uke sweeping block (for mae geri)

Kicks & Sweeps

Japanese English
ashi barai foot sweep
fumakomi geri stomping kick
hiza geri knee strike
kansetsu geri stomping or joint kick usually to knee joint
kin geri front snap kick to groin using instep
mae ashi geri rising shin kick (half way between mae geri and mawashi geri)
mae geri front kick
mawashi geri roundhouse kick
mikazuki geri crescent kick
yoko geri keage side kick (snapping)
yoko geri kekomi side kick (thrusting)
yoko tobi geri flying side kick
ura mawashi geri hook kick
ushiro geri back kick

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