>> Terminology

Beginning commands

Seiretsu: Line up by rank

Seiza: Meditation position-kneeling

Mokuso: Meditate/Gather Your Thoughts

Shomen ni: Face towards the front

Sensei ni: Face towards the teacher

Rei: Bow

Yoi: Ready

Hajime: Begin

Yame: Stop

Yasume: Relax (or ready position)

Mawatte: Turn around

General commands


Mae: Front

Yoko: Side

Ushiro: Back

Mawashi: Round

Jodan: Head high level

Chudan: Mid-high level

Gedan: Low level; Down


Migi: Right

Hidari: Left

Gyaku: Reverse

Age: Rising

Uchi: Inner

Soto: Outer

Waza: Technique

Dachi: Stance

Tsuki (Zuki): Punch


Uchi: Strike

Uke: Block

Geri: Kick

Descriptions of techniques

Dachi Waza (Stances)

Heisoku dachi: Feet Together Stance

Zenkutsu dachi: Front Stance

Kokutsu dachi: Back Stance

Musubi dachi: Formal Attention Stance (feet in a ‘V”)

Hachiji dachi: Open-legged Stance (Yoi)

Kame: Fighting Stance

Oi tsuki: Lunge punch

Gyaku tsuki: Reverse punch

Kizami tsuki: Jab

Oi-gyaku tsuki: Lunging reverse punch

Tsuki Waza (Punches)

Uchi Waza (Strikes)

Nukite: Spear-hand

Uraken-uchi: Back fist, back of fist strike

Enpi-uchi: Elbow strike

Age uke: Rising block

Gedan barai: Down block

Soto ude uke: Outside forearm block

Uchi ude uke: Inside forearm block

Shuto uke: Knife-hand block

Morote uke: Augmented block

Uke Waza (blocks)

Keri Waza (Kicks)

Mae geri: Front kick

Mawashi geri: Roundhouse kick

Yoko geri keage: Side snap kick

Yoko geri kekomi: Side thrust kick

Ushiro geri: Back thrust kick

Fumikomi geri: Stomping kick (Heian 3, 5)

Ichi: One

Ni: Two

San: Three

Shi: Four

Go: Five

Roku: Six

Shichi: Seven

Hachi: Eight

Ku: Nine

Ju: Ten


General Terms

Karate: Empty hand

Do: Way

Karate Do: The way of karate

Karateka: Practitioner of karate

Shotokan: “House of Shoto”; “Pine Sea”; pen name of Funakoshi

Dojo: School or training room

Sensei: Teacher

Sempai: Senior students

Renshi: Entry Level Master

Shihan: Master Instructor

Kyu: Rank (Lower colored belts)

Dan: Rank (Upper black belts)

Dogi: Uniform

Obi: Belt

Hai: Yes

Iie: No

Osu: “I understand and will try my best”

Kiai: Spirit shout/focus of spiritual energy

Dozo: Please

Domo Arigato Gozaimashita: “Thank you very much”

Onegai Shimasu: Said to one’s partner when initiating practice

Kime: Focus

Kihon: Fundamentals/basics

Kata: Practice form

Embusen: Floor pattern/lines of a kata

Bunkai: Application (interpretation) of kata techniques


Kumite: Sparring/fighting

Ippon kumite: One-step sparring

Sanbon kumite: Three-step sparring

Gohon kumite: Five-step sparring

Yakusoku kumite: “Promise” premeditated sparring

Jiyyu kumite: Free sparring

Awase Shuto Age Uke: Combined rising knife-hand block (Kanku-Dai)

Empi uke (or Hiji uke): Elbow block (Heian 3)

Haishu uke: Back-hand block (Heian 5)

Haiwan Nagashi Uke: Sweeping back-arm block

Juji uke: X block (Heian 4, 5)

Kakiwake uke: Reverse wedge block (Heian 4)

Kosa uke: Cross block (Uchi/gedan uke-Heian 3)

Nagashi Uke: Sweeping block (Tekki, Jion)

Osae uke: Pressing block (Heian 2, 3)

Otoshi uke: Dropping or falling block (Heian 2, 3)

Sokumen Awase Uke: Side combined block (Bassai-Dai)

Sukui Uke: Scooping block (Bassai, Chinte)

Tate shuto uke: Vertical knife-hand block (Heian 3)

Te Nagashi Uke: Sweeping hand block (parry) (Heian 5)

Tsukami Uke: Grasping block (Bassai-Dai, Jion)

More advanced terms (found in Kata)

Dojo etiquette

  • Ensure clean hands and feet;
  • Keep fingernails and toenails short;
  • No eating, drinking or chewing gum;
  • Please wear a clean white karate suit with the IJKA SA logo on the left side of the suit top;
  • Ensure belt is tied correctly and lengths are even;
  • Do not roll up sleeves or bottom of pants of karate suit;
  • Long hair to be tied up;
  • No watch or jewellery to be worn;
  • Do not be late for class;
  • If late for class, sit on knees on side and wait to be allowed on floor;
  • Line up correctly according to grade;
  • The highest grade recites the dojo kun (maxims) and calls for rei (bow);
  • Bow and greet seniors on arrival in order of seniority;
  • When sitting, either kneel or cross legs;
  • Give respect to all others, irrespective of grade or age;
  • Never stand with hands on hips or lean against the wall;
  • Acknowledge the sensei’s instructions with “OSS”;
  • No talking during class;
  • Address instructor as sensei and senior students as sempai;
  • Always rei (bow) whenever facing partner before and after engaging;
  • Always set an example, whether senior or junior; and
  • Never face shomen (front) when adjusting karate suit