General Karate Terms & Glossary

Karate is usually taught using the original Japanese terms. This page is a glossary where you
find a collection of generic terms that occur in a variety of contexts in Karate.

Karate Glossary

Age Rising
Ashi o kaete Change legs (stance)
Ashi tanden Leg conditioning
Atemi Art of striking vital points
Budo Martial way or Path (Tao in chinese)
Bushi Martial man, warrior
Bushido Way of the warrior (Code of conduct)
Bunkai Applications of kata
Chudan Middle area
Dojo Martial arts training place
Gasshuku Training camp
Gedan Lower area
Gi or Dogi Karate uniform
Go Hard, rigid
Goju-ryu Hard and soft style
Gyaku Reverse
Hara Central point of body
Hari kiri Ritual suicide
Hajime Begin
Hai Yes
Hidari Left
Hojo undo Supplementary exercises
Honbu dojo Main dojo
Ie No
Ju Soft, flexible
Junbi undo Warm up exercises
Junbi owarimasu End of warm up
Kakie Strength exercise
Kamaete On guard
Kame Fighting stance
Karate Empty hand
Karate-do The way of karate
Karateka One who practises karate
Kata A set of pre-arranged techniques
Ki Spirit,life energy (Chi in Chinese)
Ki ai Shout to focus energy
Kihon Basic techniques
Kime Focus
Kohai Junior student
Mai-ai Fighting distance
Mawatte Turn around
Migi Right
Mokuso Meditation
Morote Double or both hands together
Muchimi Heavy sticky feeling
Obi Belt
Ritsurei Standing bow
Ryu School or tradition
Samurai Japanese warrior class of feudal era
Seiken Fist with focus on first two knuckles
Seiza Kneeling position
Sempai Lower dan grade, senior student
Sensei Instructor/Teacher
Shihan Master instructor
Shime Sanchin kata testing
Soto Outside (inside to outside)
Tanden Strength centre of body
Te Hand
Te o kaete Change hands
Uchi Inside (outside to inside)
Ude Tanden Forearm conditioning
Yame Stop or fininsh
Yoi Ready position
Zanshin Awareness in defence or attack