Vocabulary

The study of Shotokan karate traditionally makes use of a vocabulary of Japanese words, phrases and expressions for the names of techniques and for issuing and responding to instructions. The following pronunciation guide and list of translations should be of benefit to those students looking to learn this vocabulary in order to more easily understand instructions given during training and to be able to pronounce a particular phrase or expression when necessary.

Pronunciation

Consonants and vowels in the Japanese language are pronounced the same way each time they are encountered. Thus, if you know the pronunciation of one word, you already know how the vowels and consonants will sound in another word containing those vowels and consonants.

Translations

Translations of the various names, phrases and expressions that are likely to be encountered whilst studying karate (along with a pronunciation guide for each) appear below. Technique names consist of multiple Japanese words combined into terms that express the actions required with minimal ambiguity in the minimum number of words. Some words may appear in more than one category due to their use in different contexts.

Counting/Numbers
Japanese Pronunciation English
Ichi eech One
Ni nee Two
San sahn Three
Shi she Four
Go go Five
Roku roo-koo Six
Shichi seech Seven
Hachi hach Eight
Ku koo Nine
Ju joo Ten
Ju ichi joo eech Eleven
Ju ni joo nee Twelve
Ju san joo sahn Thirteen
Ju shi joo she Fourteen
Ju go joo go Fifteen
Ju roku joo roo-koo Sixteen
Ju shichi joo seech Seventeen
Ju hachi joo hach Eighteen
Ju ku joo koo Nineteen
Ni ju nee joo Twenty
Directions/locations
Japanese Pronunciation English
Jo joe Upper
Chu choo Middle
Ge ghee Lower
Dan dahn Level
Jodan joe-dahn Upper level (head)
Chudan choo-dahn Middle level (abdomen)
Gedan ghee-dahn Lower level (groin/legs)
Hidari he-dah-rhee Left
Migi me-ghee Right
Mae my Front
Yoko yo-ko Side
Ushiro uh-she-ro Back/to the rear
Uchi oo-chee Inside
Soto soh-toe Outside
Tate tah-tay Vertical
Gyaku ya-ku Reverse
Ura oo-rah Behind
Hai hi Opposite side
Anatomy
Japanese Pronunciation English
Atama ah-tah-mah Head
Ago ah-goh Chin
Te tay Hand
Shu shoo Hand
Haishu hi-shoo Back of the hand
Haito hi-toe Sword/ridge hand
Tekubi tay-koo-bee Wrist
Ude oo-day Forearm
Empi ehm-pee Elbow
Hiza he-zah Knee
Suku soh-koo Foot
Sune su-nay Shin
Kakato kah-kah-toe Heel
Heisoku hi-sow-koo Instep
Koshi ko-she Ball of the foot
Sokuto soh-koo-toe Edge of the foot
Sokutei soh-koo-tay Sole of the foot
Stances
Japanese Pronunciation English
Dachi da-chee Stance
Zenkutsu dachi zen-ku-tsu da-chee Front stance
Kokutsu dachi ko-ku-tsu da-chee Back stance
Kiba dachi kee-ba da-chee Horse/side/straddle stance
Heisoku dachi heh-ee-soh-koo da-chee Attention stance (feet together)
Musubi dachi mu-soo-be da-chee Attention stance (feet angled out)
Hachiji dachi hah-chee-jee da-chee Natural stance
Heiko dachi hay-koh da-chee Parallel stance
Fudo dachi foo-doh da-chee Rooted stance
Kosa dachi koh-sah da-chee Crossed feet stance
Sanchin dachi sahn-chin da-chee Hourglass stance
Hangetsu dachi han-ge-tsoo da-chee Half moon stance
Nekoashi dachi neh-koh-ah-she da-chee Cat stance
Tsuruashi dachi tsoo-ree ah-she da-chee Crane leg stance
Renoji dachi rehn-oh-jee da-chee L stance
Teiji dachi tay-jee da-chee T stance
Training
Japanese Pronunciation English
Kihon kee-hohn Basics
Kata kah-tah Form/shape
Kumite koo-my-tay Sparring
Blocks
Japanese Pronunciation English
Uke oo-kay Block
Barai bah-rye Sweep
Age uke ah-gay oo-kay Rising block
Soto uke soh-toe oo-kay Outside block
Uchi (ude) uke oo-chee (oo-day) oo-kay Inside (forearm) block
Gedan barai ghee-dahn bah-rye Downward/sweeping block
Shuto uke shoo-toe oo-kay Knife hand block
Tate shuto uke tah-tay shoo-toe oo-kay Vertical knife hand block
Nagashi uke nah-gah-she oo-kay Sweeping block
Haishu uke hi-shoo oo-kay Back hand block
Empi uke ehm-pee oo-kay Elbow block
Juji uke jew-jee oo-kay X block
Morote uke moe-row-tay oo-kay Augmented block
Kake wake uke kah-kay wah-kay oo-kay Reverse wedge block
Striking points
Japanese Pronunciation English
Shuto shoo-toe Knife hand
Empi ehm-pee Elbow
Tetsui teh-tsoo-ee Hammer fist
Nukite noo-key-tay Finger strike
Kakato kah-kah-toe Heel
Sokuto soh-koo-toe Edge of the foot
Koshi ko-she Ball of the foot
Punches
Japanese Pronunciation English
Zuki zu-kee Punch
Choku zuki cho-ku-zu-kee Straight punch
Oi zuki oee zu-kee Stepping punch
Gyaku zuki ya-ku zu-kee Reverse punch
Ura zuki oo-rah zu-kee Close punch
Kizami zuki kee-zamy zu-kee Front hand punch
Morote zuki mo-ro-tay zu-kee Double hand punch
Tate zuki tah-tay zu-kee Vertical fist
Kagi zuki kah-ghee zu-kee Hook punch
Strikes
Japanese Pronunciation English
Uchi oo-chee Strike
Age empi uchi ah-gay ehm-pee oo-chee Rising elbow strike
Yoko empi uchi yo-ko ehm-pee oo-chee Side elbow strike
Mawashi empi uchi ma-wa-she ehm-pee oo-chee Round elbow strike
Ushiro empi uchi uh-she-ro ehm-pee oo-chee Reverse elbow strike
Tate empi uchi tah-tay ehm-pee oo-chee Downward elbow strike
Shuto uchi shoo-toe oo-chee Knife hand strike
Uraken uchi oo-rah-ken oo-chee Back fist strike
Tetsui uchi teh-tsoo-ee oo-chee Hammer fist strike
Nukite noo-key-tay Two finger spear hand thrust
Teisho uchi tay-sho oo-chee Palm heel strike
Haito uchi hi-toe oo-chee Ridge hand strike
Kicks
Japanese Pronunciation English
Geri ge-ree Kick
Mae geri my ge-ree Front kick
Yoko geri kekomi yo-ko ge-ree ke-ko-mee Side thrust kick
Yoko geri keagei yo-ko ge-ree kay-a-ghee Side snap kick
Mawashi geri ma-wa-she ge-ree Round house kick
Ushiro geri uh-she-ro ge-ree Back/rear kick
Tobi geri toh-bee ge-ree Jumping kick
Ren geri ren ge-ree Combination kicking
Hiza geri he-zah ge-ree Knee kick
Mikazuki geri mee-kah-zoo ge-ree Crescent kick
Kin geri kin ge-ree Front instep kick
Fumikomi foo-mee-koh-mee Stamping kick
Ashi barai ah-she bah-rye Foot sweep
Sparring forms
Japanese Pronunciation English
Gohon kumite goh-hohn koo-mee-tay Five Attack Sparring
Sambon kumite sahn-bohn koo-mee-tay Three Attack Sparring
Ippon kumite eep-pone koo-mee-tay One Attack Sparring
Jiyu ippon kumite jee-yoo eep-pone koo-mee-tay Semi Free Sparring
Jiyu kumite Jee-yoo koo-me-tay Free Style Sparring
Commands/Phrases
Japanese Pronunciation English
Yame yah-may Stop
Yoi yoy Ready
Hai hi Yes
Domo doh-moh Thank you
Osu oh-soo Acknowledgement
Mawatte mah-wha-tay Turn (180 degrees)
Hontai hohn-tie Turn (90 degrees)
Hajime hah-jee-may Begin
Shugo shoo-goh Line up
Rei rey Bow
Sei za sigh-zah Kneel
Shomen ni rei shoh-men nee ray Bow to the front
Sensei ni rei sen-say nee ray Bow to the instructor
Otagai ni rei oh-tah-gay nee ray Bow to each other
Wakarimasu ka? wah-car-ee-mas kah Do you understand?
Wakarimasen wah-car-ee-mah-sin I do not understand
Wakarimasu wah-car-ee-mas I understand
Oyasumi nasai oh-yah-soo-me nah-sigh Good night
Miscellaneous
Japanese Pronunciation English
Dojo doe-joe Training hall
Sensei sehn-seh-ee Instructor
Sempai sehm-pye Assistant instructor
Dan dahn Level
Kyu kyew Grade
Waza wha-zah Technique
Kime kee-may Focus
Gi ghee Uniform
Obi oh-bee Belt
Bo boh Staff
To toe Sword

©  Fudoshin Karate Club | Terms & Conditions Website by Ducktown Graphics