Japanese Terminology

As Shito Ryu karate-do is a Japanese martial art it is important for all students and practitioners to understand the terms and basic words used. Many techniques and expressions can have more than one name or word to describe them which can be confusing but in the Japanese language there are often different ways to express the same word.

Numbers 1-20

  1. Ichi
  2. Ni
  3. San
  4. Shi (yo)
  5. Go
  6. Roku
  7. Shichi
  8. Hachi
  9. Ku
  10. Jyu
  11. Jyu Ichi
  12. Jyu Ni
  13. Jyu San
  14. Jyu Shi
  15. Jyu Go
  16. Jyu Roku
  17. Jyu Shichi
  18. Jyu Hachi
  19. Jyu Ku
  20. Nijyu


Budo – Way of combat
Bunkai – Application (interpretation) of kata techniques
Dan – Level
Do – Way
Dojo – School, training room or hall
Embusen – Floor pattern/lines of a kata
Gi – Uniform
Gohon Kumite – Five-step sparring
Hai – Yes
Ippon Kumite – One-step sparring
Jiyyu Ippon Kumite – Semi-free one-step sparring
Jiyyu Kumite – Free sparring
Karate – Empty Hand
Karate Do – The Way of Karate (Empty Hand)
Karateka – Practitioner of Karate
Kiai – Spirit shout/focus of spiritual energy
Kihon – Fundamentals
Kime – Focus
Kohai – Junior student
Kyu – Rank
Maai – Distance
Mokuso – Meditate
Naote – Relax
Obi – Belt
Osu – I understand and will try my best and used to show respect and enthusiasm
Sambon Kumite – Three-step sparring
Sempai – Senior student
Sensei – Teacher
Shiha – Master
Shotokan – House of Shoto; pen name of Funakoshi

Parts of the Body

Ashi – Leg
Ashikubi – Ankle
Atama – Head
Chudan – Mid-level
Empi (Also Hiji) – Elbow
Ensho – Back of the heel
Gedan – Lower level (groin)
Heisoku – Top (instep) of the foot
Hiza (Also Hitsui) – Knee
Ippon Ken – Single-point index-finger Fist
Jiku Ashi – Pivot leg
Jodan – Head level
Kaishu – Open hand
Kakato – Heel of the foot
Kata – Shoulder
Ken – Fist
Koshi – Ball of the foot
Naiwan – Back of Arm
Sokuto – Outer edge (knife) of the foot
Tate Ken – Vertical Fist
Te – Hand
Teisho Palm heel
Teisoku Bottom of the foot
Tekubi Wrist
Tsumasaki Toe tips
Ude Forearm
Wan Arm

Age-Te Hands up (cover position)
Hajime Begin
Mawatte Turn around
Naore Return to Shizen-tai
Narande Line up
Otaigai Ni Face towards each other
Rei Bow
Seiretsu Line up by rank
Seiza Kneel
Sensei Ni Face towards the teacher
Shomen Ni Face towards the front
Yame Stop
Yasume Relax (or ready position)
Yoi Ready

Age Rising
Gyaku Reverse
Hidari Left
Mae Front
Mawashi Round
Migi Right
Otoshi Dropping
Sokumen Side
Soto Outer
Tate Vertical
Tobi Jump
Uchi Inner
Ushiro Back
Yoko Side
Kata Names
Heian Shodan First level
Heian Nidan Second level
Heian Sandan Third level
Heian Yondan Fourth level
Heian Godan Fifth level
Tekki Shodan First level
Tekki Nidan Second level
Tekki Sandan Third level
Bassai Dai Greater Version
Bassai Sho Lesser Version
Chinte Rare/Extraordinary Hands
Empi Flight of the Swallow
Gankaku Crane/bird on a rock
Gojuushiho Dai Fifty-four steps greater (version)
Gojuushiho Sho Fifty-four steps lesser (version)
Hangetsu Crescent or Half Moon
Heian Peaceful mind
Jion Bhuddist temple name; Compassion and Favour
Ji in Bhuddist temple name; Compassion and Shadow
Jitte Ten Hands
Kanku Dai Observe the sky/emptiness greater version
Kanku Sho Observe the sky/emptiness lesser version
Meikyo Bright Mirror
Nijushiho Twenty-four steps
Shorei Kata Light and quick; emphasizing agility and speed
Shorin Kata Slow, hard, and strong; emphasizing strength
Sochin To keep the peace; Strength and Control
Taikyoku First Cause
Unsu Cloud Hands
Kumite Terminology

(Aka/ Shiro) No Kachi (R/W) Victorious
Aite Opponent
Ai-Uchi Simultaneous scoring technique, no point awarded to either. Referee brings fists together in front of chest
Aka Red
Atenai Yoni Warning without penalty; referee raises 1 hand in fist with other hand covering it at chest level and shows it to offender
Atoshi Baraku An audible signal given by time keeper 30 seconds before actual end of bout
Chui Warning
Encho-Sen Extension; after a draw, the match goes into overtime
Fukushin Shugo Judges conference
Fusen-Gachi Victory by default
Hansoku Foul imposed following serious infraction, opponents score is raised to sanbon
Hansoku Chui Warning with an ippon penalty, ippon added to opponents score
Hansoku-Make Lose by disqualification
Hantei Judgesâ decision. Rendered by judgesâ flag signal after referee blows his whistle
Hantei Kachi Winner by decision
Hikiwake Draw: referee crosses arms over chest, then uncrosses and holds arms out from the body with the palms showing upwards
Ippon Full point
Ippon Shobu One point match; used in tournaments
Jikan Time
Jogai Out of Bounds; Referee points with index finger at a 45 angle to the area boundary on the side of the offender
Jogai Keikoku Exit from fighting area. Waza-ari penalty given to opponent
Keikoku Severe warning; Waza-ari penalty imposed for a warning previously given; referee points index finger to feet of offender
Mienai A call by a judge to indicate that a technique was not visible from his/her angle
Mumobi Warning for lack of regard for one own safety. Referee points 1 index finger in the air at a 60 angle on side of offender
Mumobi Keikoku Warning with waza-ari penalty
Sanbon Shobu Three point Match
Sanbon Shobu Hajime Start the Match
Shiai-Jo Ring (size = 8-10 meters square)
Shido Light warning
Shikkaku Disqualification; opponents score raised to sanbon
Shiro White
Shobu Hajime Start the Match
Shugo Judges called. Referee beckons with arms to the judges
Toranai No point
Tsuzukete Hajime Resume fighting. Referee steps back into zenkutsu dachi and brings palms of hands toward each other
Uchi-Majiri Brawl (melee)
Wazari Half point

Age Tsuki Rising punch
Awase Tsuki punch
Choku Tsuki Straight punch
Gyaku Tsuki Reverse punch
Ippon Ken Tsuki One-knuckle fist punch (Hangetsu)
Kagi Tsuki Hook punch
Kizami Tsuki Jab
Mawashi Tsuki Round house punch
Morote Shita Tsuki Augmented upper inverted punch
Morote Tsuki Parallel punch
Ni Jodan Shita Tsuki Double inverted upper punch
Ni Yoko Chudan Tsuki Double middle side punch
Oi Tsuki Lunge punch
Oi Tsuki Maeude Hine Lunge punch with turning forearm
Oi-Gyaku Tsuki Lunging reverse punch
Otoshi Tsuki Dropping punch (Empi)
Ren Tsuki Double punch
San Tsuki Triple punch
Shita Tsuki Inverted punch
Ura Tsuki Close punch
Yama Tsuki Wide (Mountain) punch
Yoko Tsuki Side punch

Age Nihon Nukite Zuki Two finger spear hand strike
Empi Uchi Elbow Strike
Gyaku Haito Uchi Reverse Backfist Strike
Haishu Uchi Back Hand Strike
Haito Uchi Backfist Strike
Hiraken Uchi Foreknuckle Strike
Hitosashiyubi Nukite Index finger spear hand
Hiza Age Ate Rising Knee Strike
Hiza Geri Knee strike
Ippon Ken One knuckle strike
Ippon Nukite Uchi Single Finger Strike
Koko Uchi Tiger Mouth Strike
Kumade Uchi Bear Claw Strike
Mae Empi Uchi Front Elbow Strike
Mawashi Empi Uchi Round Elbow Strike
Nakadaka Ippon Ken One knuckle strike
Nihon Nukite Uchi Two Finger Strike (Fork)
Nukite Zuki Spear hand strike
Otoshi Empi Uchi Downward Elbow Strike
Shihon Nukite Uchi Spear Hand Strike
Shuto Gedan Barai Lower sword hand strike
Shuto Uchi Knife hand strike
Shuto Zuki Sword hand strike
Soto Shuto Uchi Outside Knife Hand Strike
Soto Uke Forearm strike
Tate Empi Uchi Upward Elbow Strike
Tate Mawashi Uchi Vertical roundhouse strike
Teisho Uchi Palm Heel Strike
Tetsui Zuki Hammer fist strike
Uchi Shuto Uchi Inside Knife Hand Strike
Uraken Uchi Backfist Strike
Ushiro Empi Uchi Back Elbow Strike
Washide Uchi Eagle Beak Strike
Yoko Empi Uchi Side Elbow Strike
Yoko Mawashi Empi Uc Side Roundhouse Elbow Strike

Ashi-Barai Foot sweep
Fumikomi Geri Stomping kick
Hiza Geri Knee kick/strike
Mae Geri Front kick
Mae Geri Keage Front snap kick
Mae Geri Kekomi Front thrust kick
Mawashi Geri Round kick
Mika Zuki Geri Crescent kick
Name Ashi Geri Returning wave kick
Ni Mae Geri Double front kick
Nidan Geri Double kick
Soto Mikazuki Geri Outside crescent kick
Tobi Geri Flying (Jump) kick
Uchi Mikazuki Geri Inside crescent kick
Ushiro Geri Back thrust kick
Yoko Geri Keage Side snap kick
Yoko Geri Kekomi Side thrust kick

Age Uke Rising block
Awase Shuto Age Uke Combined rising knife-hand block
Empi Uke (Or Hiji Uk Elbow block
Gassho Uke Double palm heel block
Gedan-Barai Down block
Haishu Uke Back hand block
Haiwan Nagashi Uke Sweeping back-arm block
Juji Uke X block
Kakiwaki Uke Reverse wedge block
Keito Uke Chicken head block
Kosa Uke Cross block
Manji Uke Hi/low block
Morote Uke Augmented inside-outward block
Nagashi Uke Sweeping block
Ni Jodan Uke Double rising block
Osae Uke Pressing block
Otoshi Uke Dropping or falling block
Ryowan Uchi Uke Double inside block
Seiryuto Uke Ox-Jaw block
Sho Koko Bo Uke Tiger mouth block
Shuto Juji Uke Open hand X block
Shuto Uke Knife block
Sokumen Awase Uke Side combined block
Soto Ude Uke Outside forearm block
Soto Uke Inward middle block
Sukui Uke Scooping block
Tate Shuto Uchi Uke Vertical inside outward sword hand block
Tate Shuto Uke Vertical knife-hand block
Te Nagashi Uke Sweeping hand block (parry)
Teisho Oshi Uke Pressing palm heal block
Teisho Yoko Uke Side palm heel block
Tetsui Zuki Hammer fist
Tsukami Uke Grasping block
Uchi Otoshi Falling block
Uchi Ude Uke Inside forearm block
Uchi Uke Inside-outward block
Yoko Uchi Barai Side sweeping block

Fudo Dachi Fighting (Rooted) Stance
Hachiji Dachi Open-legged Stance (Yoi)
Hangetsu Dachi Wide Hour-glass Stance
Heisoku Dachi Formal Attention Stance (Yoi)
Hidari Ashi Dachi Left legged stance
Hidari Ashi Orishiku Left Leg Kneeling
Kamae Posture (Yoi)
Kiba Dachi Straddle (Horse) Stance
Kokutsu Dachi Back Stance
Kosa Dachi Cross-legged Stance
Migi Ashi Orishiku Right Leg Kneeling
Musubi Dachi Informal Attention Stance (feet in)
Neko-Ashi Dachi Cat Stance
Renoji Dachi Stance
Shizen-Tai Dachi Natural Stance
Zenkutsu Dachi Front Stance