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Karate Terminology

Karate: Empty Hand

Numbers we use when training (Up to 10)

one:  ichi

two: ni

three: san

four: shi/yon

five: go

six: roku

seven: shichi

eight: hachi

nine: ku

ten: ju

Types of Techniques

block, receiver: uke

strike: uch

punch: zuki

kick: geri

Terminology we use in karate training

teacher: sensei

senior student: senpai

karate practitioner: karateka

the way of the the empty hand: karate do

training hall: dojo

uniform: gi

belt: obi

high area (head, face): jodan

middle area (chest, stomach): chudan

lower area (waist or below): gedan

foot: ashi

hand: te

begin: hajime  

stop: yame  

spirited yell: kiai  

attention: kiyotsuke  

ready: yoi  

respect/bow: rei  

turn around: mawate  

kneel: seiza  

front wall: shomen

meditate: mokuso

 yes/I understand/spirited affirmation: oss!


stance: dachi

ready stance: heiko dachi

bowing stance: musubi dachi

front stance: zenkutso dachi

back stance: kokutsu dachi

horse riding stance: kiba dachi

square stance: shiko dachi

cat stance: neko ashi dachi


low block: gedan barai

face block: age uke

outer block: uchi uke

inner block: soto uke

knife hand block: shuto uke

Hand Techniques

punch: zuki

lead punch, jab: kisami zuki, oi zuki

reverse punch, cross: gyaku zuki

spear hand strike: nukite

pulling hand: hiki te

Foot Techniques

foot sweep: ashi barai

front kick: mae geri

roundhouse kick: mawashi geri

thrusting side kick: yoko geri kikome

snapping side kick: yoko geri kaege

hook kick: udo mawashi geri

back kick: ushiro geri

crescent kick: mikazuki geri

Shotokan Kata Terminology

Taikyoku Shodan: First Cause

Kihon Kata Ichi: Basic Kata number 1 (the same as Taikyoku Shodan)

Kihon Kata Ni: Basic Kata Number 2 (Taikyoku Shodan with a faceblock substituted for the low block)

Kihon Kata San: Basic Kata Number 3 (substitute an outer block)

Kihon Kata Yon: Basic Kata Number 4 (low block, outer block with same hand then step punch)

Kihon Kata Go: Basic Kata Number 5 (face block, front kick punch. All punches become kick, punch)

Heian Katas - Heian means Peaceful Mind.

Shodan, nidan etc. indicates first, second, etc.

Heian Shodan: Peaceful Mind First (or #1)

Heian Nidan: Peaceful Mind Second (or #2)

Heian Sandan: Peaceful Mind Third (or #3)

Heian Yondan: Peaceful Mind Fourth (or #4)

Heian Godan: Peaceful Mind Fifth (or #5)

Tekki Katas

Tekki Shodan: Horse Riding First (or #1)

Tekki Nidan: Horse Riding Second (or #2)

Tekki Sandan: Horse Riding Third (or #3)

Advanced Katas

Bassai Dai: To Penetrate a Fortress (big or greater)

Jion: Jion Temple in China, a Buddhist term meaning love or goodness

Enpi/Empi: Flying Swallow

Kanku Dai: Look at the Sky (big or greater)

Hangetsu: Half Moon

Gankaku: Crane on a Rock

Jitte: Ten Hands

Bassai Sho: To Penetrate a Fortress (small or lesser)

Kanku Sho: Look at the Sky (small or lesser)

Nijushiho: Twenty Four Steps

Sochin: Strength/Calm

Meikyo: Bright Mirror

Ji’in: Temple Grounds or Love

Wankan: King’s Crown

Chinte: Rare Hands, or Unusual Hands

Gojushiho Sho: Fifty Four Directions, lesser

Gojushiho Dai: Fifty Four Directions, greater

Unsu: Hands in the Clouds or Cloud Hands

Sparring Terminology

free sparring: jiyu kumite

three point free sparring: jiyu sanbon

one step sparring: kihon ippon

slow, free, cooperative sparring: ma hoo randori


initiative: sen

seizing the initiative later: go no sen

seizing the initiative simultaneously: sen no sen

seizing the initiative preemptively: sen sen no sen


begin: hajime

stop: yame

draw/tie: hikiwake

match: shobu

no point awarded: torimasen

continue: tsuzukete

half point: waza-ari

full point: ippon

simultaneous techniques: aiuchi


 referee/judge: shinpan

red: aka

red is the winner: aka, no kachi

white: shiro

white is the winner: shiro no kachi

Additional Advanced Terminology

General Terms

Shotokan: pine waves hall

school or style: ryu

please help/teach me: onegaishimasu

thank you very much: arigato gozai mashita

one more time: mo ichi do

foot: ashi

hand: te

application/analysis of kata: bunkai

advanced application of kata: oyo

switch sides: kaete

combative/guarding posture: kamae

projecting maximum focus and energy to one point in a technique: kime

junior student: kohai

senior student: senpai

sparring: kumite

punching board: makiwara

lead side: kizami

right: migi

left: hidari

back/rear: ushiro

tai sabaki: body shifting

break fall: ukemi

continuing mind and body: zanshin


rooted stance: fudo dachi

natural stance: hachiji dachi

half-moon stance: hangetsu dachi

half front stance: han zenkutsu dachi

feet together stance: heisoku dachi

cross legged stance: kosa dachi

hour glass stance: sanchin dachi

Hand Techniques

rising punch: age zuki

two handed double punch, low & high: awase zuki

chest punch: chudan zuki

elbow strike: enpi uchi

low punch: gedan zuki

ridge hand strike: haito uchi

face punch: jodan zuki

hook punch: kagi zuke

fist: ken

rising punch: kentsui uchi

lead punch, jab: kizami zuki

two consecutive punches: niren zuki

three consecutive punches: sanbon zuki

fore fist: seiken

knife hand strike: shuto uchi

palm heel strike: teisho uchi

back fist strike: uraken uchi

Foot Techniques

foot: ashi

foot sweep: ashi barai

stomping kick: fumikomi

knee strike: hiza geri

inside reverse round kick: jyaku mawashi geri

snapping: keage

thrusting: kekome

mikazuki geri: crescent kick

lead leg: myashi

jump kick: tobi geri

hook kick: udo or uro mawashi geri

back kick: ushiro geri


chest block: chudan uke

low block: gedan uke

pulling/grasping block: hiki uke

double-armed wedge block: kakiwake uke

x block: juji uke

wrist block: ko uke

crossing low/outer block combo: kosa uke

low outer/face block combo: manji uke: 

reinforced arm block: morote uke

shin block: sume uke

palm block: teisho uke

mountain block: yama uke

Promotion and Belt Kyu System

10th Kyu White belt

9th Kyu Yellow belt

8th Kyu  Orange belt

7th Kyu Green belt

6th Kyu Blue belt

5th Kyu Low Purple

4th Kyu High Purple

3th Kyu Low Brown

2nd Kyu Middle Brown

1st Kyu High Brown

Shodan: 1st Degree Black Belt

Nidan 2nd Degree Black Belt

Sondan 3rd Degree Black Belt

Yondan 4th Degree Black Belt

Godan 5th Degree Black Belt

Rokudan 6th Degree Black Belt

Sichi Dan 7th Degree Black Belt

Hachi Dan 8th Degree Black Belt

Ku Dan 9th Degree Black Belt

Judan 10th Degree Black Belt

We promote children and ( adult ) beginner students in this system however due to the childhood and intensity of karate in our dojo we promote the students with belts in between the Kyus in this way we know that our students are really prepared in the Shotokan system. If you wish to inquire about this, please ask us. The promotion exams are at the end of each quarter.

Kata Resources 

Links to Heian Kata:

Links to Advanced Kata: