Alphabetical Terminology

Listed below are several terms used throughout martial arts. This list is not exhaustive nor was it meant to be. If you cannot find a term you are looking for please feel free to contact us at
A |  B |  C |  D |  E |  F |  G |  H |  I |  J |  K |  L |  M |  N |  O |  P |  Q |  R |  S |  T |  U |  V |  W |  X |  Y |  Z

A  Top

Abara Ribs
Age Rising
Age tsuki Rising punch
Age uke Rising block
Age-empi-uchi Upward elbow strike or rising elbow strike, see tate empi uchi (vertical elbow strike)
Age-haisoku-uchi Rising instep strike, raising your instep into your attackers groin
Age-te Hands up (cover position)
Ago Jaw or chin, as in mouth
Ai Harmony
Ai-kamae Harmony posture, when your opponent and you are in matching or mirrored stances
Ai-ki Harmonious spirit. This is where you integrate all your movements, breathing etc. To exactly match your opponents and you then control him from it. It is also called "spirit meeting" or "harmony meeting".
Aikido A martial art meaning the "way of harmony"
Aite Opponent
Aiuchi Simultaneous strike
Ai-uchi Clash; simultaneous scoring technique, no point awarded to either. Referee brings fists together in front of chest.
Aka Red
Aka Red
Aka No Kachi Red Victorious
Akiresu-ken Achilles tendon
Aoi Blue
Ashi Leg
Ashi Yubi Toes
Ashi-barai Foot sweep
Ashikubi Ankle
Atama Head
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 A little more time left; an audible signal given by time keeper 30 seconds before actual end of bout.
Awase Shuto Age Uke Combined rising knife-hand block
Awase tsuki U punch

B  Top

Barai Sweep
Bassai To Penetrate a Fortress
Bo The bo, also know as a staff, is a long wooden pole typically about 6 feet in length. The bo was used by farmers in Okinawa to herd animals or placed across the shoulders to carry supplies.
Bokken Wooden sword
Budo Way of combat
Bugei Martial arts
Bunkai Application (interpretation) of kata techniques
Bushi Warrior
Bushido Way of the warrior
Bushi-te Warrior hands. One of the old names for karate.

C  Top

Cha Brown
Chi Blood
Chikara Power or strength
Chinto Fighting to the East
Chito-ryu A Okinawan style of karate developed by Dr. Tsuyoshi Chitose
Choku Straight
Choku tsuki Straight punch
Chowa The harmonious mental and physical reaction while at practice
Chu Middle
Chudan Mid-high level
Chudan-soto uke iddle-outside block
Chudan-uchi uke Middle-inside block
Chui Warning
Chusoku Ball of the Foot

D  Top

Dai Lesser or minor
Dan Level or degree of black belt rank.
De Advancing
Do Way
Doji Simultaneous
Doji-waza Techniques are performed simultaneously
Dojo School or training room
Domo Arigato Gozaimashita Thank-you very much
Dori Practice
Doshu Master of the way
Dozo Please

E  Top

Eku A wooden oar used by the Okinawans that was improvised as a weapon
Embusen Floor pattern/lines of a kata
Empi (also Hiji) Elbow
Empi uke (or Hiji uke) Elbow block
Empi-uchi Elbow strike
Encho-sen Extension; after a draw, the match goes into overtime. Referee reopens match with command "shobu hajime".
Ensho Back of the heel

F  Top

Fudo dach Fighting Stance
Fukushin shugo Judges conference
Fumikomi geri Stomping kick
Fusen-gachi Victory by default

G  Top

Gan Eye
Ganmen Face
Gedan Low level; Down
Gedan tsuki Downward punch
Gedan-uke Down block
Geri Kick
Geri-waza Kicking techniques
Gi Training uniform. Traditionally white.
Go Five
Godan Fifth degree black belt
Gohon Fifth
Gohon kumite Five-step sparring
Goju Fifty
Goju-ryu An Okinawan style of karate meaning "hard, soft way of defense"
Goshi Hip
Goshin Self defense
Gyaku Reverse
Gyaku Haito Uchi Reverse Backfist Strike
Gyaku tsuki Reverse punch
Gyaku-zuki Reverse punch

H  Top

Ha Tooth
Hachi Eight
Hachidan Eighth degree black belt
Hachiji dachi Open-legged Stance (Yoi)
Hachiju Eighty
Hai Yes
Haishu Backhand
Haishu Uchi Back Hand Strike
Haishu uke Back-hand block
Haisoku Instep of the foot
Haito Ridge hand
Haito-uchi Ridge hand strike
Haiwan Nagashi Uke Sweeping back-arm block
Hajime Begin
Hana Nose
Hanaji Nosebleed
Hangetsu dachi Wide Hour-glass Stance
Hanshi Master, an honorary title given to the highest black belt of an organization, signifying their understanding of their art
Hansoku Foul; imposed following serious infraction, results in opponents score being raised to sanbon.
Hansoku chui Warning with an ippon penalty, ippon added to opponents score.
Hansoku-make Lose by disqualification
Hantei Judge’s decision/decision; judgment. Referee calls for judgment by blowing his whistle and judges render their decision by flag signal
Hantei kachi Winner by decision
Hasami-dachi Scissors stance
Hayai Quick, fast or rapid
Heisoku Top (instep) of the foot
Heisoku dachi Formal Attention Stance (Yoi)
Hidari Left
Hidari Ashi Orishiku Left Leg Kneeling
Hikiwake Draw; referee crosses arms over chest, then uncrosses and holds arms out from the body with the palms showing upwards.
Hiraken Uchi Foreknuckle Strike
Hiza Knee
Hiza Age Ate Rising Knee Strike
Hiza geri Knee kick/strike
Hizagashira Knee Cap
Hizo Spleen
Hombu Headquarters
Hombu-dojo A term used to refer to the central dojo of an organization
Hyaku One Hundred

I  Top

Iai Sparring which begins with both the attacker and the defender seated and facing each other or swordplay
Iaido A martial art meaning way of the sword
Ichi One
Iie No
Ikken-hissatsu To kill with one blow
Ippon First
Ippon Ken Single-point index-finger Fist
Ippon Ken tsuki One-knuckle fist punch
Ippon kumite One-step sparring
Ippon shobu One point match; used in tournaments
Ippon-nukite One-finger spearhand

J  Top

Jikan Time
Jiyu-dachi Free-fighting stance
Jiyyu kumite Free sparring
Jo Short staff about 4 to 5 feet in length
Jodan Head high level
Jodan-uke Upper block
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 Second exit from fighting area. Waza-ari penalty given to opponent.
Ju Ten
Judan Tenth degree black belt
Juji-uke Cross-x block

K  Top

Ka Person or practitioner
Kagi Hook
Kagi tsuki Hook punch
Kagi-geri Hook kick
Kai Style
Kaishu Open hand
Kakato Heel of the foot
Kakiwaki uke Reverse wedge block
Kama Sickles
Kamae Attitude, posture
Kami Hair
Kan Type of school
Kanji The symbols of Japanese writing. Karate is made up of two kanji. The first being the symbol for "empty" and the second symbol being for "hand"
Kansetsu Joint
Karada Body, Physique
Karate Open hand, empty hand
Karate-do the way of the empty hand. This implies not only the physical aspect of karate, but also the mental and social aspects of karate.
Karate-ka A practitioner of karate
Kata Formal exercise, figure or shape. In karate, kata is a form or prescribed pattern of movement fighting imaginary opponents.
Katana The longer of the two swords worn by samurai
Keage Snapping a kick
Keikoku Severe warning; warning with waza-ari penalty in sanbon shobu. Penalty added to opponents score. Imposed for minor infractions for which a warning has previously been given in the bout. Referee points index finger to feet of offender at angle of 45°.
Kekomi Thrust, see kerikomi
Kempo Fist law, a generic term to describe fighting systems that uses the fist
Ken Fist
Kendo Way of the sword
Kentsui-uchi Fist-hammer strike
Ki Yellow
Kiai Spirit shout/focus of spiritual energy
Kiba dachi Straddle Stance
Kihon Basic techniques
Kime Focus
Kizami-zuki Jab punch
Kobudo Ancient warrior art, referring to weapons training
Koken Bent Wrist
Koko Uchi Tiger Mouth Strike
Kokutsu-dachi Back stance
Komekani The temple area of the head
Kosa dachi Cross-legged Stance
Kosa uke Cross block
Koshi Ball of the foot
Koshi Hip
Ku Nine
Kubi Neck
Kuchi Mouth
Kudan Ninth degree black belt
Kuju Ninety
Kumade Uchi Bear Claw Strike
Kumite Sparring/fighting
Kuro Black
Kusanku Chinese Military Attaché
Kyu Rank below Shodan (1st degree black belt)

M  Top

Maai Distance
Mae Front or forward
Mae Empi Uchi Front Elbow Strike
Mae geri keage Front snap kick
Mae geri kekomi Front thrust kick
Mae-geri Front kick
Makiwara Punching board or post
Manji uke Hi/low block
Matsukaze The side of the neck
Mawashi Round
Mawashi Empi Uchi Round Elbow Strike
Mawashi-geri Roundhouse kick
Mawashi-zuki Roundhouse punch
Mawatte Turn around
Me Eye
Midori Green
Mienai I could not see. A call by a judge to indicate that a technique was not visible from his/her angle.
Migi Right
Migi Ashi Orishiku Right Leg Kneeling
Mika-zuki-geri Crescent kick
Mimi Ear
Mokuso Meditate/Gather Your Thoughts
Momo Thigh
Morote Augmented, double or two handed
Morote uke Augmented block
Morote-zuki Double-fist punch
Mudansha Students without black-belt ranking
Mugen Endless
Mumobi Warning for lack of regard for one’s 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.
Mune Chest
Murasaki Purple
Musube-dachi Informal attention stance, feet turned out

N  Top

Nagashi Uke Sweeping block
Naiwan Back of Arm
Name ashi geri Returning wave kick
Nanaju Seventy
Naore Return to Shizen-tai
Narande Line up
Neko-ashi dachi Cat stance
Ni Two
Nidan Second degree black belt
Nidan geri Double kick
Nidan-mae-geri Double-jump front kick
Nihon Nukite Uchi Two Finger Strike (Fork)
Nihon-nukit Two-finger spearhand
NiJu Twenty
NiJu-Go Twenty-five
Niseishi Twenty-four Movements
Nodo Throat
Nukite Spear hand
Nunchaku A flail like weapon made of two pieces of wood connected by a length of rope or chain.

O  Top

Obi Belt
Oi-gyaku tsuki Lunging reverse punch
Oi-zuki Lunge punch
Okinawa One of a group of island south east of Japan where karate was developed
Okinawa-te An old name for what today is known as karate, see To-de and To-te
Osae uke Pressing block
Oss A word peculiar to karate; it is used as a form of respectful greeting, yes", or I understand
Otaigai ni Face towards each other
Otoshi Dropping
Otoshi Empi Uchi Downward Elbow Strike
Otoshi tsuki Dropping punch (Empi)
Otoshi uke Dropping or falling block

R  Top

Rei Bow
Ren tsuki Double punch
Renoji dachi L Stance
Renshi Entry Level Master
Rohaidai Vision of White Crane
Rohaisho Vision of White Crane
Roku Six
Rokudan Sixth degree black belt
Rokuju Sixty
Ryo Both
Ryo-ashi Both feet or legs
Ryo-soku Both sides
Ryo-te Both hands
Ryowan Uchi Uke Double inside block
Ryu Way or System School or style. The literal translation of ryu is to flow, drift or circulate. The style was "handed down"-"circulated" from master to pupil.
Ryusan Three Dragons

S  Top

Saho Etiquette
Sai An Okinawan weapon resembling a handheld pitchfork.
Sakotsu Collarbone
San Three
San tsuki Triple punch
Sanbon Shobu Three point Match
Sanbon Shobu Hajime Start the Match
Sanchin Three Conflicts
Sanchin-dachi Hour-glass stance
Sandan Third degree black belt
Sanju Thirty
Sankaku Triangular meaning "three angles"
Sanshiryu Thirty-six Hands
Sei Tranquility or inactivity
Seiken Forefist, Okinawan style punch using the two largest knuckles to strike
Seiken-zuki Fore fist punch
Seiretsu Line up by rank
Seiryuto Uke Ox-Jaw block
Seisan Crescent Moon
Seishin Mind and spirit
Seiza Proper sitting position, kneeling. It is used for the formal opening and closing of the class.
Sekaku Accuracy
Sempai A senior student
Senaka Back
Sensei Teacher
Sensei ni Face towards the teacher
Shi Four
Shiai-jo Ring (size = 8-10 meters square)
Shichi Seven
Shichidan Seventh degree black belt
Shido Light warning
Shihan A formal title meaning master or master instructor, a teacher of teachers
Shihohai Four Directions
Shihon Nukite Uchi Spear Hand Strike
Shikkaku Disqualification; opponents score raised to sanbon.
Shiko-dachi Square or wide stance
Shin Core, center
Shinai Bamboo sword
Shinzo Heart
Shiro White
Shiro No Kachi White Victorious
Shizen-dachi Natural stance
Shobu hajime Start the Match
Shodan First degree black belt
Shomen Front of the dojo
Shomen ni Face towards the front
Shomen-ni-rei Bow to the front
Shorei-ryu An Okinawan karate system originating in Naha
Shorin-ryu A major style of Okinawan karate meaning "pine forest" school
Shotei Palm-Heel
Shotokan A style of karate derived from the pen name of Gichin Funakoshi . The name is made up of "shoto", meaning waving pines, which was Funakoshi "s pen name, and "kan" meaning house or school.
Shrui-te An ancient Okinawan style of karate, the forerunner of Shorin ryu
Shugo Judges called. Referee beckons with arms to the judges.
Shuto Knife-Hand
Shuto-uchi Knife hand strike
Shuto-uke Knife-hand block
Sochin The Grand Prize
Sokei Groin
Sokko Top Of The Foot
Sokumen Side
Sokumen Awase Uke Side combined block
Sokutei Sole of Foot
Sokutei-osae-uke Pressing block w/sole
Sokuto Outer edge (knife) of the foot
Sokuto-osae-uke Pressing block w/foot edge
Sorashi Feint
Soto Outer
Soto mikazuki geri Outside crescent kick
Soto Shuto Uchi Outside Knife Hand Strike
Soto ude uke Outside forearm block
Sukui Uke Scooping block
Sune Shin

T  Top

Tai-sabaki Body shifting
Tatami Floor mat
Tate Vertical
Tate Empi Uchi Upward Elbow Strike
Tate Ken Vertical Fist
Tate shuto uke Vertical knife-hand block
Te Hand
Te Nagashi Uke Sweeping hand block
Teisho Palm heel
Teisho Uchi Palm Heel Strike
Teisho-zuki Palm-heel punch
Teisoku Bottom of the foot
Tekubi Wrist
Tendo The crown of the head
Tenshin Body Turning
Tettsui Fist-Edge
Tettsui-uchi Hammer-fist strike
Tobi Jump or jumping
Tobi geri Flying kick
Tonfa A farm tool developed into a weapon by the Okinawans
Tora Tiger
Toranai No point
Tsukamai-uke Grasping block
Tsuki (Zuki) Punch
Tsumasaki Toe tips
Tsuzukete hajime Resume fighting begin. Referee standing on his line steps back into zenkutsu dachi and brings palms of hands toward each other

U  Top

Uchi Inner
Uchi Strike
Uchi mikazuki geri Inside crescent kick
Uchi Shuto Uchi Inside Knife Hand Strike
Uchi ude uke Inside forearm block
Uchi-majiri Brawl (melee)
Ude Forearm
Uke Block
Ura tsuki Close punch
Uraken-uchi Back fist strike
Ushiro Back
Ushiro Empi Uchi Back Elbow Strike
Ushiro-geri Back kick

W  Top

Wan Arm
Washide Uchi Eagle Beak Strike
Waza Technique
Wazari Half point

Y  Top

Yakusoku kumite Promise premeditated sparring
Yama tsuki Wide "U" punch
Yame Stop
Yasume Relax (or ready position)
Yoi Ready
Yoko Side
Yoko Empi Uchi Side Elbow Strike
Yoko Mawashi Empi Uchi Side Roundhouse Elbow Strike
Yoko-geri Side kick
Yoko-geri-keage Side snap kick
Yoko-geri-kekomi Side thrust kick
Yoko-tobi-geri Jumping side kick
Yon Fourth
Yondan Fourth degree black belt
Yonhon-nukite Spearhand
Yonju Forty
Yori-ashi Sliding the feet
Yoshukai A traditional Japanese style of karate developed by Mamoru Yamamoto
Yudansha Black-belt practitioners of any degree
Yupi Fingers

Z  Top

Za Seated or kneeling
Zanshin Awareness of one's surroundings
Za-rei The traditional Japanese bow from the kneeling position
Zenkutsu-dachi Forward or front stance
Zenshin Whole (entire) Body
Zenshinkotai Advance in Turn
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