West Linn Academy of Kempo Karate

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Japanese Terminology

Compiled by Kraxberger Shihan


Vowel sounds
"a" is pronounced like the "a" in father
"e" is pronounced like the "e" in send
"i" is pronounced like the "i" in elite
"o" is pronounced like the "o" in cold
"u" is pronounced like the "oo" in food
"ei" is pronounced like the "a" in fate

"c" is pronounced like the "c" in cat
"g" is pronounced like the "g" in garden

Many consonants have a double or blended sound to accommodate Japanese spoken sounds. This is most noticeable in "r/l", "t/d", and "g/k" sounds.
Ichi One
Ni Two
San Three
Shi Four
Go Five
Roku Six
Shichi Seven
Hachi Eight
Ku Nine
Ju Ten
Juichi Eleven
Juni Twelve
Niju Twenty
Nijuichi Twenty-one
Sanju Thirty
Hyaku One Hundred
Other Words and Phrases
Kempo Fist law or natural law
Sei True, pure, correct
Kosho Old pine tree
Shorei Encouragement
Kai Family, association
Ryu School of thought
Sumikiri Octagon
Kigan (ogamite) Praying hands
Kaishu (mute) Open hands
Hoken (hiken) Covered fist
Mon Crest or gate
Shochikubai Pine/bamboo/plum
Densho Legend, history, story
Waza Techniques or Tricks
Aruku no waza Stepping tricks
Ashi ate waza Foot and leg striking tricks
Ashi Sabaki Foot movement
Atemi waza Vital point striking tricks
Onna Female
Otoko Male
Ato uchi waza Feinting tricks
Bogyo geri waza Kicking defense tricks
Chushin waza Centering exercises
Debana waza Anticipation tricks
Go shinjitsu Self defense study
Harai waza Warding-off techniques
Hyoshi Timing
Iaido Sword drawing way
Jikaku Awareness
Jitsute waza Spontaneous practice
Jodo Short staff way
Kansetsu waza Locking tricks
Kata Forms or patterns
Katame Waza Holding and locking tricks
Keiho waza Structured practice
Kieru waza Disappearing tricks
Kihon teki Basics
Kime waza Focus exercises
Koga ken keiko Repositioning with the sword
Kokyu waza Breathing tricks
Koshi nage waza Hip throwing
Kuzushi waza Unbalancing tricks
Kumite no waza Crossed hands training
Maai Distancing
Maki waza Rolling-off technique
Nage waza Throwing tricks
Nidan waza Two-step technique
Ne waza Ground tricks
Nige no waza Escaping tricks
Nuki waza Displacement, dodging or avoidng technique
Orashi no waza Avoidance tricks
Randori waza Grappling tricks
Renshu Practice
Sandan waza Three-step technique
Shiatsu Finger pressure therapy
Shikake waza Offensive techniques
Shime waza Choking tricks
Shodo Calligraphy way
Tai Sabaki Body Movement
Te Sabaki Hand Movement
Tsuki Waza Punching tricks
Uchi Waza Striking tricks
Ukemi waza Falling practice
Uke no waza Blocking tricks
Yawara waza Grab release tricks
Kihon Tekki Basic Skills
Dachi (tachi) Stances
Gamae Posture
Fudo Dachi Rooted Stance, Immovable
Gankaku Dachi Crane Stance
Hachiji Dachi Open Leg Stance, 'Figure Eight Stance
Hangetsu Dachi Half-Moon Stance
Heiko Dachi Parallel stance
Heisoku Dachi A natural or informal attention stance
Ippon Dachi One point stance
Juji Dachi Cross Stance
Kiba Dachi Straddle Stance. Also known as horse riding stance
Kiza no kamae Kneeling but up on toes
Kokutsu dachi Back Stance
Naihanchi dachi Kiba Dachi, but with the feet turned in
Neko ashi dachi Cat Foot Stance
Sanchin dachi Three Conflicts / Hour-glass Stance
Seiza no kamae Kneeling on both calves
Shiko dachi Square Stance, Four Thigh Stance also sumo stance
Tachi Stance
Tachiagaru to stand up
Tsuru ashi dachi Crane Leg Stance
Zenkutsu dachi Front/Forward Stance, translation Front Knee Bent Stance
Ashi Foot or Leg
Fumikomi geri Stamping kick
Geri Kick, when added to another word to describe the kick
Hiza geri Knee Kick
Kakato geri Axe Kick
Kake geri Hook Kick
Keage Kick Up, snapping
Kekomi Thrust Kick (Literally, Kick Into/Straight)
Keri Kick
Keru Kick, this is used when saying kick as a verb
Mae geri Front Kick
Mae geri keage Front Snapping Kick
Mae geri kekomi Front Thrust Kick
Mae tobi geri Front Jump Kick
Mawashi geri Round/Roundhouse Kick
Mikazuki geri Crescent Kick
Ren geri Consecutive Kicking, alternating kicking
Tobi geri Jumping Kick
Ushiro geri Back Kick
Yoko geri Side Kick
Uke Blocks
Age uke Rising Block
Barai waza Sweeping techniques
Chudan uke Middle Level Block
Empi uke (hiji uke) Elbow Block
Gedan barai uke Lower level Sweeping Block
Jodan uke Upper/High Level Block
Juji uke Cross or X Block
Kaisho uke Open Hand Block
Morote uke Augmented Block
Otoshi uke Dropping Block
Shuto uke Knife-hand Block
Soto chudan uke Outside Mid-level Block
Teisho barai Palm Heel Sweep
Tettsui uke (or Kentsui uke) Hammer Fist Block
Tsuki uke Punching Block
Uchi chudan uke Inside Mid-level Block
Uke Block
Tsuki or Zuki Punches
Age zuki Rising Punch
Choku zuki Straight Punch, also Kara Tsuki
Dan zuki Consecutive punching (same hand)
Gyaku zuki Reverse Punch
Hiraken Flat Fist or Fore knuckle fist
Ippon ken One Knuckle Fist
Kake zuki Hook Punch
Kizami zuki Jabbing Punch
Mawashi zuki Round/Roundhouse Punch
Morote zuki Augmented Punch or U-Punch
Nagashi zuki Flowing punch
Nakadaka ippon-ken Middle Finger One Knuckle Fist
Oi zuki Lunge punch
Ren zuki Alternate punching
Sanbon zuki A series of three punches
Seiken Original Fist, Fore fist, Regular Fist
Tate zuki Vertical Punch
Tsuki A punch or thrust
Yama zuki A wide U-shaped dual punch, also called Mountain Punch
Zuki Punch, use 'Zuki' when you add the word to another
Uchi or Tuchi Strikes
Age-empi uchi Upward Elbow Strike, sometimes Tate empi uchi
Empi uchi Elbow Strike
Haito uchi Ridge-hand Strike
Ippon tsuki One Finger Thrust, also Ippon Nukite
Tettsui ken uchi (or Kentsui uchi ) Hammer Fist Strike
Nihon nukite Two Finger Strike
Nukite Spear Hand
Shuto uchi Knife hand strike
Tate empi uchi Upward Elbow Strike, also called Age empi
Teisho uchi Palm Heel Strike
Uchi Striking
Uraken uchi Back Fist Strike
Ushiro mawashi empi uchi Back Roundhouse Elbow Strike
Yoko empi uchi Side Elbow Strike
Types of Practice
Embu Demonstration
Kata Structured practice; form or pattern
Kakari-geiko Practice where the instructor offers openings to the student, who must attack the openings immediately
Keiko Practice
Mi tori keiko Watching practice
Shiai Competition
Bugei Martial arts
Jujutsu Gentle art
Karate Empty hand
Kobujutsu Weapon arts
GI Top of uniform
Keiko gi Uniform
Zekken Chest patch embroidered with own name and dojo name
Obi Belt
Hakama Split skirt, wide legged pants
Reigi Etiquette
Arigato Thank you (informal)
Domo Thanks (informal)
Domo arigato Thank you (formal)
Domo arigato gozaimasu Thank you very much (very formal)
Dozo Please go ahead
Gomen nasai Excuse me, I'm sorry
Hajime no saho Beginning etiquette
Joseki ni rei Bow to the high section of the Dojo
Kamiza ni rei Bow to kamiza (heritage)
Onegai shimasu Please (asking for something, please lets practice together)
Oshiete (kudasai) (Please) teach me, Let's practice (play) together, shall we?
Onegai otsukare sama deshita A thank-you that is used after training
Otagai ni rei Bow to each other
O tsukare sama deshita You have become tired (because of the hard work you have done teaching) An expression of thanks
Owari no saho Finishing etiquette
Rei Bow
Reigi Etiquette
Reiho Etiquette, method of bowing
Reishiki Etiquette, method of bowing
Ritsu rei Standing bow
Saho Method of etiquette
Sensei (gata) ni re Bow to Teachers
Sumimasen Excuse me (to attract attention)
Tachi rei Standing Bow
To rei Bow to sword
Za rei Kneeling Bow
Ranks and Titles
Gakkusei Student
Ko hai Junior student
Sempai Senior student
Sensei Teacher
Shihan A senior, or exemplary teacher, properly used within the school only
Soke Head of style (actually head of family, unifier of gods and lineage)
Hanshi Root master, source
Kyoshi Middle title
Renshi Title bestowed in addition to Dan ranks
Kancho Owner of school (building, hall)
Kaicho Owner of school (organization)
Yudansha Members of the Dan grades
Mudansha Members of the Kyu grades
Kyu Student grade, from 8 up to 1, the highest
Hachikyu 8th Rank
Shichikyu 7th Rank
Rokyu 6th Rank
Gokyu 5th Rank
Shikyu 4th Rank
Sankyu 3rd Rank
Nikyu 2nd Rank
Ikkyu 1st Rank
Yudansha Members of the Dan grades
Dan More advanced grades from 1 to 10, after attaining a black belt
Shodan 1st degree Black Belt
Practice Hall Arrangement and Definitions
Dojo Practice hall
Ge Side of dojo opposite shinzen
Joseki (jo) High side, shinzen
Shomen Front of room
Kamiza Spirit seat
Shimoza opposite sensei, where students sit
Dojo Commands
Ato move back
Hajime Begin, start
Hayaku Quickly, Hurry
Iai kisogeiko Fundamental practice
Iie No
Ijo that is all (after recitation)
Junbitaiso o hajimemasu Begin warm-up
Junbitaiso o owarimasu Warm-ups are finished
Kaette Pivot, change direction
Hai Yes
Katana o motte Get your sword(s)
Kiai Shout, yell
Kiyotsukete Be careful
Kogemi Attack
Mate Wait
Mawatte Turn around
Moichido One more time
Mo motte More, eg. mo oki, bigger
Mokuso Close the eyes, meditation
Narande Line up
Osame to Replace swords into saya
Roe Bow
Shitsurei Excuse me
Suwari kudasai Please sit down
Tachi nasai Stand up
Tadashi Correct
Uchimoni Practice motion
Yame Stop
Yasume Relax, at ease
Yoi Ready, attention
Yukuri Slowly
Yuru yaka ni Smooth
Aruki Walking
Ayumi ashi Normal walking motion, back foot slides up to become front foot
Fumi komi Shift forward, as in a strike, using the hips
Fumi komi ashi Foot motion as shifting forward, front and back slide together, not two different movements
Okuri ashi Following foot, step forward with front foot, then rear foot moves same distance forward to regain original distance apart
Tsugi ashi Half step, rear foot up to front then front forward again
Names of Roles
Kasso teki Invisible opponent
Motodachi Defender, teacher side in waza practice
Nage Performer of technique
Shidachi (shi tachi) Completing sword. Finishes partner practice
Teki Opponent
Tori Attacker
Uchidachi (uchi tachi) Entering sword. Attacker in partner practice
Uke Receiver (of technique)
General Vocabulary
Age Lift or raise up
Ato de Afterwards
Chigau Different
Chiisai Small
Chikaku Near
Dame Not like that, wrong
Hai Yes
Heta Unskillful, poorly done
Iie No
Jozu Skillful
Kogesa Small form
Kyojun Standard, basic level
Machigai Mistake
Miru Look
Naza Why
Ogesa Large form
Oki Big
Semeru Push, press
Shita Under
Shito kokyu One breath
Shizukani Soft, gentle
Sukoshi A little, a small amount
Tate Standing, upright
Wakarimasu I understand
Warui Bad
Tai Sabaki Body Motions
Tai Body
Sabaki Movement
Hiraki ashi Rear foot moves forward and turns to face opponent, front foot turns to establish feet again in kamae but with opposite foot forward
Irimi Entering
Jiku ashi Turning foot, the main axis of rotation
Kaiten Turning
Mawari Swinging around
Seme ashi Pushing or pressing foot
Suri ashi Sliding foot
Tenkan Moving one foot behind the other to turn 180 degrees
Mae Forward
Migi Right
Hidari Left
Ushiro Rearward, behind
Omote Front
Ura Back
Uchi Inside, inward
Soto Outside, outward
Jodan High
Chudan Middle
Gedan Low
Fukaku Low
Ichi mon ji A straight line
Tate ichi mon ji A vertical line
Yoko ichi min ji A horizontal line
Chokkaku Right angles
Do Degrees, eg. kuju do is 90 degrees
Heiko Parallel
Kakudo Angle
Massugu Straight ahead
Naname Diagonal
Otoshi Dropping
Shomen Straight ahead
Ue Up
Yoko Horizontal, to the side
Asoko Over there
Biki To move, as in saya biki or hakama biki
Gyaku Reverse, opposite, inverted
Hantai The other way around
Kiku Lower
Komi Coming close or drawing near
Soko There, that position
Nakazumi Centerline of body
Atama Head
Men Head
Shomen Front or top of head
Yokomen Side of head
Shamen Side of head, temple
Gammen Point on face between eyes
Me Eye
Mimi Ear
Jinchu Center of upper lip
Kubi Neck
Nodo Throat
Do Chest / side of body at ribs
Sui getsu Solar plexus
Mune Chest
Te Hand
Te kubi Wrist
Omote Open / palm of hand
Kote Wrist (forearm)
Hiji Elbow
Kata Shoulder
Ude Arm in general
Ura Back of hand
Yubi Finger / toe
Koshi Hip
Hara Abdomen
Tanden Centre of balance, below navel
Seika tanden As per tanden
Ashi Foot or leg
Ashi kubi The ankle
Philisophical Concepts
Budo Way of war
Bushido Way of the warrior
Dai kyo soku kei Big strong fast smooth
Fudoshin Immovable mind, calm spirit
Fukaku Personal character
Gokai Grandeur, large, full motions
Heijishin Ordinary mind
Jo ha kyu Slow, faster, fastest
Ki Spirit, energy
Kiai Spirit/breath union, shout
Kime Focus, sharpness of movement
Kokoro or Shin Heart/mind
Kokyu Breath, breath power
Ma Distance, space, interval (in time)
Maai Mutual distance (in space)
Mushin No mind, no rationalization
Muga No ego
Munen No thought
Riai Unification of action and theory
Sei Motionless, inactive
Shu ha ri Absorb, digest, omit. Memorize, question and understand, forget
Sutemi Sacrifice technique, accept a blow to deliver one
Zanshin Lingering mind