Student Resources

Dojo Kun
Basic Terminology
Advanced Terminology
Sparring Terms
Exam Guidelines
How to Tie Your Obi



Dojo Kun

1. Refrain from violent and impetuous behavior.
2. Respect propriety.
3. Cultivate a spirit of perseverance.
4. Be faithful and sincere.
5. Exert oneself in the perfection of character.

PreKarate Dojo Kun

1. Self-control.
2. Respect the rules.
3. Never give up.
4. Be truthful.
5. Be the best person you can be.


Basic Karate Terminology

Japanese karate words are frequently used in class instruction. As students progress through the ranks, they should develop an understanding of the terms, beginning with basic counting from one to ten.


ichi  one
ni  two
san  three
shi four or (yon  fourth)
go  five
roku  six
shichi seven or (nana  seventh)
hachi  eight
ku  nine
ju  ten

General Terminology

chudan  middle area
dojo  training hall
gedan  lower area
gi  uniform
hajime  begin
jodan  upper area
karate empty hand
karateka  karate practitioner
karate do  the way of the empty hand
kata  forms
kiai  spirited yell
kihon  basics
kiyotsuke attention
mawate turn around
mokuso  meditate
obi  belt
oss!  yes/I understand/spirited affirmation
rei  respect/bow
sensei  teacher (born before)
senpai  senior
seiza  kneel
shomen  front wall
yame  stop
yoi  ready


dachi stance
heiko dachi  parallel ready stance
kiba dachi  horse riding stance
kokutsu dachi  back stance
musubi dachi  heels together feet at 45° stance (bowing)
shiko dachi  square stance
zenkutsu dachi  front stance


uke  block
age uke  rising/face block
gedan barai  low sweeping block (low block)
morote uke  reinforced arm block
shuto uke  knife hand block
soto uke  inside forearm block (inner block)
uchi uke  outside forearm block (outer block)

Hand Techniques

zuki strike
gyaku zuki  reverse punch
hiki te  pulling hand
kisami zuki  lead jab
nukite  spear hand thrust
oi zuki  lunge punch/step punch

Foot Techniques

keri  kick
mae geri front kick
mawashi geri roundhouse kick
udo or uro mawashi geri hook kick
ushiro geri back kick
yoko geri side kick
yoko geri keage side snapping kick
yoko geri kekome side thrusting kick

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Shotokan Kata

Kihon Kata Ichi: Basic Kata number 1 (the same as Taikyoku Shodan)
Kihon Kata Ni: Basic Kata Number 2 (Taikyoku Shodan with a faceblock substituted for the low block)
Kihon Kata San Basic Kata Number 3 (substitute an outer block)
Kihon Kata Yon Basic Kata Number 4 (low block, outer block with same hand then step punch)
Kihon Kata Go Basic Kata Number 5 (face block, front kick punch. All punches become kick, punch)

Taikyoku Shodan: First Cause

Heian Katas – Heian means Peaceful Mind. Shodan, nidan etc. indicates first, second, etc.
Heian Shodan: Peaceful Mind First (or #1)
Heian Nidan: Peaceful Mind Second (or #2)
Heian Sandan: Peaceful Mind Third (or #3)
Heian Yondan: Peaceful Mind Fourth (or #4)
Heian Godan: Peaceful Mind Fifth (or #5)

Tekki Katas
Tekki Shodan: Horse Riding First (or #1)
Tekki Nidan: Horse Riding Second (or #2)
Tekki Sandan: Horse Riding Third (or #3)

Advanced Katas
Bassai Dai: To Penetrate a Fortress (big or greater)
Jion: Jion Temple in China, a Buddhist term meaning love or goodness
Enpi/Empi: Flying Swallow
Kanku Dai: Look at the Sky (big or greater)
Hangetsu: Half Moon
Gankaku: Crane on a Rock
Jitte: Ten Hands
Bassai Sho: To Penetrate a Fortress (small or lesser)
Kanku Sho: Look at the Sky (small or lesser)
Nijushiho: Twenty Four Steps
Sochin: Strength/Calm
Meikyo: Bright Mirror
Ji’in: Temple Grounds or Love
Wankan: King’s Crown
Chinte: Rare Hands, or Unusual Hands
Gojushiho Sho: Fifty Four Directions, lesser
Gojushiho Dai: Fifty Four Directions, greater
Unsu: Hands in the Clouds or Cloud Hands

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Sparring Terms

aka red
aka no kachi red is the winner
aiuchi simultaneous techniques
go no sen seizing the initiative later (counter)
hajime begin
hikiwake draw/tie
ippon full point
jiyu kumite free sparring
jiyu sanbon kumite three point free sparring
kihon ippon kumite basic one step sparring
ma hoo
randori slow, free, cooperative sparring
sen initiative
sen no sen seizing the initiative earlier (interception/same time)
shinpan referee/judge
shiro white
shiro no kachi white is the winner
shobu match
torimasen no point awarded
tsuzukete continue
waza ari half point
yame stop

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Additional Advanced Terminology

General Terms

arigato gozai mashita thank you very much
ashi foot
bunkai application/analysis of kata
hidari left
kaete switch sides
kamae combative/guarding posture
kime projecting maximum focus and energy to one point in a technique
kizami lead side
kohai junior
kumite sparring
makiwara punching board
migi right
mo ichi do one more time
onegaishimasu please help/teach me
oyo advanced application of kata
ryu school or style
Shotokan pine waves hall
tai sabaki body shifting
te hand
ukemi break fall
ushiro back/rear foot of body
zanshin continuing mind and body


fudo dachi rooted stance
hachiji dachi natural stance
hangetsu dachi half-moon stance
han zenkutsu dachi half front stance
heisoku dachi feet together stance
kosa dachi cross legged stance
neko ashi dachi cat stance
sanchin dachi hour glass stance
Hand Techniques 

age zuki rising punch
awase zuki two handed double punch, low & high
chudan zuki chest punch
enpi uchi elbow strike
gedan zuki low punch
haito uchi ridge hand strike
jodan zuki face punch
kagi zuke u/hook punch
ken fist
kentsui uchi hammer fist strike
kizami zuki lead punch, jab
nihon ren zuki or niren zuki two consecutive punches
sanbon zuki three consecutive punches
seiken fore fist
shuto uchi knife hand strike
teisho uchi palm heel strike
uchi strike
uraken uchi back fist strike

Foot Techniques

ashi foot
ashi barai foot sweep
fumikomi stamping kick
hiza geri knee kick
jyaku mawashi geri inside reverse round kick
keage snapping
kekome thrusting
mikazuki geri crescent kick
myashi lead leg
tobi geri jump kick
udo or uro mawashi geri hook kick
ushiro geri back kick


chudan uke chest block
gedan uke low block
hiki uke pulling/grasping block
kakiwake uke double-armed wedge block
jodan uke face block
juji uke 2-handed x-block
ko uke wrist block
kosa uke 2-handed crossing low block outer block combination
manji uke low block/outer face block combination
morote uke reinforced arm block
sume uke shin block
teisho uke palm block
yama uke mountain block


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