Karate Stances

Heisoku Dachi - Formal Closed Foot Stance (i.e. heels and toes together, hands by side of body)

Musubi Dachi  - Formal Open Foot Stance (i.e. heels together, toes pointing out at 45 degrees, hands by side of body)

Heiko Dachi - Feet Apart (Hip Width), Feet Parallel

Hachiji Dachi - Feet Apart (Hip Width), toes pointing out at 45 degrees.

Yoi - Ready Position (Parallel Stance), hands out in front of body.

Uchi-Hachiji Dachi (Niafanchi Dachi) - Feet Apart (Shoulder Width), toes pointing IN at 45 degrees.

Zenkutsu Dachi  - Forward-Stance ("Standard Stance)

Moto Dachi - Similar to Zenkutsu Dachi, but shorter, and front knee only partially bent.

Neko Ashi Dachi - Cat Foot Stance

Ukiashi Dachi - Similar to Neko Ashi Dachi, but more upright, and with a loose-floating front foot.

Kokutsu Dachi - Looking Back Stance

Sanshin Dachi - Hourglass (Inward Tension) Stance

Shiko Dachi - Sumo Stance (feet pointing out at 45 degrees)

Kiba Dachi - Horse Stance (feet parallel)

Kosa Dachi - Hooked Leg Stance (both legs bent, one knee tucked-in behind the other)

Sagi Ashi Dachi - Heron Foot Stance (supporting leg straight, the foot of the other leg either resting beside, behind or in front of the knee of the supporting leg) 

Renoji Dachi - Stance resembling the letter "L”.

Shizen Dachi - Natural Stance



Zuki / Tsuki - Punch

Uchi - Strike

Jodan Zuki  - Head Level Punch

Chudan Zuki - Mid Level Punch

Gedan Zuki - Low Level Punch

Age Zuki - Rising Punch

Choku Zuki - Straight Punch

Gyaku Zuki - Opposite Punch (e.g. left leg forwards but punching with the right hand, or vice versa) 

Oi Zuki - Stepping Punch

Heiko Zuki - Parallel Punch

Kagi Zuki - Hook Punch

Kizami Zuki - Snap / Jab Punch

Maeken Zuki - Front Hand Punch

Mawashi Zuki - Roundhouse Punch

Nakadaka Ippon Ken Zuki - Middle Finger Knuckle Punch

Nihon Zuki - Double Punch

Ura Zuki - Upper Cut Punch

Empi Uchi - Elbow Strike

Haishu Uchi - Backhand Strike

Haito Uchi - Ridge Hand Strike

Kote Uchi - Forearm Strike

Ko Uchi - Bent Wrist Strike

Nukite Uchi - Spearhand Strike

Shotei Uchi - Palm Heel Strike

Shuto Uchi - Knife Hand Strike (the Karate chop!)

Tettsui Uchi - Hammerfist Strike

Ura Ken Uchi - Backfist Strike


Kicking Techniques

Geri - Kick

Mae Geri  - Front Kick

Yoko Geri - Side Kick

Mawashi Geri - Roundhouse 

Ushiro Geri - Back Kick

Ura Mawashi Geri - Back / Reverse Roundhouse Kick

Ura Yoko Geri - Spinning Side Kick

Mikazuki Geri - Crescent Kick

Kakato Geri - Axe Kick

Hiza Geri - Knee Strike

Ashi Barai - Foot Sweet

Kin Geri - Groin Kick

Fumikomi Geri - Heel Stamp Kick

Tobi Geri - Jumping Kick

Haisoku - Instep (as used for roundhouse kick)

Hiza - Knee (as used for knee strikes)

Josokutei - Ball of the foot (as used for front kick)

Kakato - Heel of the foot (as used in back kick and heal stamp kick)

Sokuto - Edge / Blade of the foot (as used in side kick)


Blocking Techniques

Uke - To receive / Block

Age Uke - Rising Block

Soto Uke - A block from the inside (centre) of the body, towards the outside of the body.

Uchi Uke - A block from the outside of the body, towards the inside (centre) of body.

Gedan Barai - A sweeping low level block from the inside (centre) of the body towards the outside of the body.

Gedan Uchi Barai - A sweeping low level block from the outside of the body towards the inside (centre) of the body.

Shuto Uke - Knife-Hand Block

Sukui Uke - Scooping Block

Ura Uke - Back-of-Hand Block

Morote Uke - Double Forearm (Reinforced) 

BlockJuji Uke - Cross (or "x”) Block

Shotei Uke - Palm Heel Block

Otoshi Uke - Dropping Forearm Block

Kake Uke - Open Hand Hooking Block

Empi Uke - Elbow Block

Hiza Uke - Knee Block



Ichi - One  

Ni - Two 

San - Three 

Shi or Yon - Four

Go - Five

Roku  -Six

Shichi  - Seven

Hachi  - Eight

Ku or Kyu  - Nine

Ju  - Ten


Starting a class

Seiza - Kneel 

Mokuso - Meditate 

Mokuso Yame - Stop Meditating 

Sensei ni Rei Bow  - to Sensei 

Kiritsu  - Stand Up 

Rei - Bow



Ashi o kaete - Change legs (stance)

Ashi Tanden - Leg conditioning

Atemi - The art of striking vital points

Budo - The martial way or path

Bushi - Martial warrior

Bushido - The way of the warrior (code of conduct)

Bunkai - Applications of kata

Chudan - Middle area

Dan - A level of competence in the martial arts, above the basic. A Dan grade must be awarded to a karate practitioner before he or she may wear a black belt.  In a reputable school, Dan Grade Black Belts are only awarded when the student has reached a good level of competence. The first level of black belt (Shodan) could be seen as graduation from primary school level, with each subsequent black belt being equivalent to graduation from middle school, high school, bachelor degree, masters degree and doctorate level!  The black belt is thus seen not so much as an end, but rather as a beginning, a doorway to advanced learning: the individual now "knows how to walk" and may thus begin the "journey."

Dojo - Martial arts training place

Gasshuku - Martial arts training camp

Gedan - Lower area

Gi - Karate uniform

Go - Hard / Rigid

Gyaku - Reverse

Hara - Central point of body

Hajime - Start / Begin

Hai - Yes

Hidari - Right

Honbu Dojo - Main dojo

Iie - No

Ju - Soft / Flexible

Junbi Undo - Warm-up exercises

Kamaete - On-guard

Kamae - Fighting stance

Karate - Empty hand

Karate-do - The way of Karate

Karateka - A person who practises Karate



Ki - Spirit / Energy

Kata - A series of pre-determined techniques

Kiai - A shout to focus spirit and energy

Kihon - Basic techniques

Kime - Focus

Kohai - Junior Student

Kyu A junior grade in the martial arts, Kyu-level practitioners are, by the Japanese, considered to be "mudansha” (that is, "initiates”, not even students; "mu” literally means "nothing”).

Mawatte - Turn around

Menkyo Kaiden - Licence of Total Transmission. It is a certificate granted by a school meaning that the recipient has learned everything that the school can teach, and is therefore licensed to pass on all aspects of their training.

Migi - Right

Obi - Belt

Ryu - School or tradition

Samurai - A member of the Japanese warrior class (feudal era)

Seiken - Fist with the emphasis on the first two knuckles

Sempai - Senior student / lower dan grade

Sensei - Instructor / Teacher

Shihan - Master instructor

Soke - Headmaster or Head of Family.  The singular leader of a school or style of martial art. The term "Soke” does not necessarily mean the founder of the martial art, although many current Soke are both founders and Soke.

Soto - Outside (inside to outside)

Tanden - Strength centre of body

Te - Hand

Uchi - Inside (outside to inside)

Uchi Dechi - A Japanese term for a student who lives at a Dojo (or the home of his Sensei), to train under and assist a Sensei on a full-time basis.  The term literally means "inside student” ("uchi” = inside, "dechi” = "student”)

Ude Tanden - Arm conditioning

Yame - Stop

Zanshin - Awareness in defence or attack