260 Karate Terms That You Can’t Ignore! (The Most Comprehensive Karate Terminology List)

Karate Terms, Karate Terminology

I highly appreciate your desire to learn about all the Karate terms. Why? It shows how eager you are to learn Karate in depth.

In this post, discover many Japanese karate terms, commands, and words that you will use in Karate. Knowing all these karate vocabulary, karate phrases, and karate words are very important for Karate practitioners.

I’m Span Chen – the founder of TheKarateBlog will help you explain the Karate terms. So, let’s start exploring the Karate terminology!

General Karate Terms!

  • Zarei – Bowing down or lowering your head
  • Yuudansha – The black belt earner
  • Yakusoku Kumite – A sparring that is pre arranged
  • Waza – Techniques
  • Ushiro – Rear, back
  • Uke – The person who acquires a technique
  • Tameshiwari – To break bricks, boards, etc.
  • Sabaki/Tai Sabaki – Dodge, protective body movement
  • Shiai – A sparring match
  • Ritsurei – Pose for standing bow
  • Oyo – Bunkai application or extract
  • Obi – A karate belt
  • Mudansha – A person with black belt
  • Muchimi – Explosive but soft technique
  • Makiwara – Strike the board
  • Maai – The distance
  • Kumite – A sparring
  • Koudansha – Person with a black belt of high level
  • Kokyu – Breath
  • Kokyu Ho – Methods for breathing
  • Kime – The striking energy
  • Kihon – The basics
  • Kiai – The spirit yell
  • Ki – The life energy
  • Kata – The form
  • Karateka – A student of Karate
  • Kamiza – Shrine or seat of glory
  • Jodan – Height (High level)
  • Chudan – Height (Middle level)
  • Gedan – Height (Low level)
  • Jiyu Kumite – The freestyle sparring
  • Hai – Yes
  • Lie – No
  • Hyoshi – Tempo, rhythm
  • Goshin Jutsu – Techniques for self-defense
  • Gi –Uniform for Karate
  • Embusen – Kata movement line
  • Dojo Kun – The school code
  • Dojo – The place to practice and learn
  • Deshi – Pupil, student
  • Deai – Reprisal, counterattack
  • Dan – Black belt degrees
  • Chinkuchi – Punching strikes
  • Bunkai – Inspection
  • Budo – The martial arts
  • Barai – Sweeping
  • Ai – Cooperation, harmony

Karate Phrases & Commands!

  • Arigato Gozaimasu – Thanks
  • Doitashimashite – Welcome
  • Yoi – Attention, ready
  • Yame – Stop
  • Hajime – Start
  • Tatte Kudasai – Standing up
  • Sumimasen – Sorry, excuse me
  • Soto – Exterior, outside
  • Shugo – Gather together, line up
  • Shomen Ni Taishi – Facing the front
  • Shomen Ni Rei – Bowing to the front
  • Sensei Ni Taishi – Facing the teacher
  • Sensei Ni Rei – Bowing to the teacher
  • Sayonara – Bye
  • Rei – Bow
  • Otagai Ni Rei – Bowing to everyone
  • Onegaishimasu – Kindly teach me
  • Narande – Lining up
  • Mokuso Yame – Stop meditation
  • Mokuso – Start meditation
  • Moichido – Again, once more
  • Matte – Please, wait
  • Kiotsuke – Notice, attention
  • Kamaete – Take position, on guard
  • Irimi – Enter straight
  • Hantai – Different direction

Karate Numbers!

  • Ichi – 1
  • Ni – 2
  • San – 3
  • Yon/Shi – 4
  • Go – 5
  • Roku – 6
  • Nana/Shichi – 7
  • Hachi – 8
  • Kyu – 9
  • Ju – 10
  • Ni Ju – 20
  • San Ju – 30
  • Yon Ju – 40
  • Go Ju – 50
  • Roku Ju – 60
  • Nana Ju – 70
  • Hachi Ju – 80
  • Kyu Ju – 90
  • Hyaku – 100

Karate Stances Terms!

  • Zenkutsu Dachi – The front stance
  • Sagi Ashi Dachi/Tsuru Ashi Dachi – Heron or Crane leg stance
  • Shizentai Dachi – The natural stance
  • Jigotai Dachi/Shiko Dachi – Open feet, horse stance
  • Seiza – The kneeling stance
  • Sanchin Dachi – The three fights stance
  • Neko Ashi Dachi – The cat stance
  • Seisan Dachi – The universal stance
  • Musubi Dachi – Heels together, standing stance
  • Kosa Dachi – The cross-leg stance
  • Kokutsu Dachi – The back stance
  • Naihanchi Dachi/Kiba Dachi – The horse ride stance
  • Kamae – Taking a stance, fighting posture
  • Ippon Ashi Dachi – Single leg stance
  • Iaigoshi Dachi – Single leg kneel stance
  • Heisoku Dachi – The closed stance for leg
  • Heiko Dachi – The parallel stance
  • Han Zenkutsu Dachi – The half-front stance
  • Hachiji Dachi – The natural open stance
  • Sochin Dachi/Fudo Dachi – The unshakable stance

Karate Blocking Techniques Terms!

  • Uke – Blocking
  • Wari Uke – Split blocking
  • Torite Uke – Grabbing the hand block
  • Sune Uke – Blocking with tibia
  • Shuto Uke – The knife hand blocking
  • Shotei Uke – The palm heel blocking
  • Sayu Barai Uke – Dual sweeping block
  • Sasae Uke – The supported forearm blocking
  • Sagurite Uke – Finding hand block
  • Otoshi Uke – Drop the block
  • Morote Soe Uke – Wedge block, augmented forearm blocking
  • Morote Barai Uke – The augmented lower blocking
  • Makite Uke – Wind knife hand blocking
  • Magetori Barai Uke – Rise dual knife hand blocking
  • Kosa Uke – The cross blocking
  • Age Uke/Jodan Uke – Rising block, upper-level blocking
  • Hiji Uke – The elbow blocking
  • Hazushi Uke – Remove block
  • Hasami Uke – The scissor blocking
  • Hari Uke – The sweeping block
  • Hangetsu Barai Uke – The half-moon sweep block
  • Haito Uke – Back knife hand blocking
  • Gedan Yoko Barai Uke – The lower sideward sweep block
  • Gedan Uke/Gedan Barai – The lower level blocking/ lower sweep blocking
  • Chudan Yoko Uke – The middle sideward blocking
  • Chudan Uchi Uke – The middle inward blocking
  • Chudan Soto Uke – The middle outward blocking
  • Chudan Soto Mawashi Uke – The middle sideward circular blocking

Karate Terms For Body Parts!

  • Yubi – Fingers
  • Wanto – The sword arm
  • Ude – Forearm
  • Tsumasaki – Toes
  • Tekubi – Wrists
  • Te – Hands
  • Suigetsu – The solar plexus
  • Sokuto – Foot edge, foot blade
  • Sokutei – Sole of the foot
  • Soku – The foot
  • Shinkei – Nerves
  • Nodo – The throat
  • Mune – The chest
  • Me – Eyes
  • Kubi – The neck
  • Zenzoku/Koshi – Ball of the foot
  • Koshi – Hips
  • Kakato – The heel
  • Hiza – Knees
  • Empi/Hiji – Elbows
  • Hana – The nose
  • Haisoku – The reverse foot
  • Atama – The head
  • Ashi kubi – Ankles
  • Ashi – Leg, foot
  • Ago – Jaw, chin

Karate Terms For Kicking Techniques!

  • Yoko Tobi Geri – Flying a sidekick
  • Yoko Geri – Kick at the side
  • Ushiro Geri – Kick at the back
  • Ura Mawashi Geri – Hook kick or roundhouse kick
  • Tsumasaki Geri – The toe kick
  • Mikazuki Geri – Moon kick
  • Mawashi Geri – Roundhouse kick with the top foot
  • Mae Tobi Geri – Flying the front kick
  • Mae Geri Kakato –Front kicking with heel
  • Mae Geri – Front kicking
  • Kyobu Geri – Kick at the chest area
  • Kinteki Geri – The groin kick
  • Keri Komi, Kekomi – The thrust kick
  • Keage/Keri Age – Rising kick, snap kick
  • Gyaku Mikazuki Geri – Reverse moon kick
  • Fukubu Geri – The abdomen kick
  • Ashi Dome – Groin/ lower abdomen stop kick
  • Ashi Barai – Leg sweeping

Karate Terms For Knee Strikes!

  • Mawashi Tobi Hiza Geri – Flying round knee kicking
  • Mawashi Hiza Geri – Round knee kicking
  • Mae Tobi Hiza Geri – Front flying knee kicking
  • Mae Hiza Geri – Front knee kicking

Karate Terms For Footwork!

  • Yori Ashi – A half step
  • Tenkan Ashi – 180-degree pivot
  • Okuri Ashi – Front crossed step
  • Kosa Ashi – Switching the side
  • Hiraki Ashi – Dodge, outside step
  • Hiki Ashi – Backstep
  • Ayumi Ashi – Normal walking

Karate Terms For Punching Techniques!

  • Uraken Uchi – Striking back fist
  • Uchi Waza – Techniques for striking
  • Zuki/Tsuki– Punching
  • Tettsui Uchi – The iron hammer striking
  • Sayu Zuki – Dual side punch
  • Oyayubi Lppon Ken – Thumb knuckle, thumb fist
  • Oi Zuki – Chasing punch, lunge punch
  • Morote Zuki – Dual horizontal punch
  • Morote Nuki Zuki – Dual spear hand thrusts
  • Kakushi Zuki – The hidden fist punching
  • Kaku Zuki – The square punch
  • Jodan Zuki – The upper-level punching
  • Gyaku Zuki – The reverse punching
  • Gedan Zuki – The lower level punching
  • Chudan Zuki – The middle-level punching
  • Awase Zuki – Dua vertical punching
  • Age Zuki – The rising punch

Karate Terms For Hand Techniques!

  • Haito Uchi – Back knife-hand striking
  • Washide Uchi – The Eagle beak striking
  • Shotei Uchi/Teisho Uchi – Palm striking
  • Shuto Uchi – The knife hand striking
  • Toride Zuki/Shi Zuki– Bird hand striking/Chicken beak thrusts
  • Ryotoken Zuki – The fore knuckle fisting
  • Nukite Zuki – The spear hand thrusts
  • Nihon Nukite – The two-finger striking
  • Nakadaka Lppon Ken – Knuckle fist with the middle finger
  • Kumade Uchi – The bear hand
  • Ippon Ken – Fist with one finger

Karate Terms For Elbow Techniques!

  • Yoko Hiji Ate – The side elbow striking
  • Ushiro Hiji Ate – Back elbow striking
  • Tate Hiji Ate – Up elbow striking
  • Sasae Hiji Ate – The assisted elbow striking
  • Mawashi Hiji Ate – Round elbow striking

Karate Terms For Evasion Techniques!

  • Yoko Sabaki – The side evasion
  • Naname Ushiro Sabaki – Back oblique evasion
  • Naname Mae Sabaki – Oblique evasion at the back

Karate Terms For Titles & Ranks!

  • Dan – Black belt ranks
  • Mukyu – Has no level
  • Kyu – The ranks that are below a black belt
  • Gokyu – 5th level
  • Shodan – Black belt with first degree
  • Nidan – Black belt with second degree
  • Sandan – Black belt with third degree
  • Yondan – Black belt with fourth degree
  • Godan – Black belt with fifth degree
  • Rokudan – Black belt with sixth degree
  • Nanadan – Black belt with seventh degree
  • Hachidan – Black belt with eighth degree
  • Kudan – Black belt with ninth degree
  • Judan – Black belt with tenth degree
  • Kyoshi – Experienced teacher
  • Hanshi – The master teacher
  • Shihan – Professor
  • Shidoshi – The dojo manager
  • Shidoin – An assistant trainer
  • Sensei – The teacher
  • Sempai/Senpai – A senior student
  • Renshi – A senior teacher

Karate Terms For Directions!

  • Yoko – Aside, besides, side
  • Ushiro – Rear, behind, back
  • Ue – Above, over
  • Shita – Below, under
  • Naname – Oblique
  • Naka – Within
  • Mae – Before, front

Final Thoughts

I think I’m successful at providing you with the most essential & necessary Karate terms for beginners and advancers. If I missed something or have any suggestions, you can share your views in the comment section below. Thanks for your time!

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Span Chen

Span Chen

I have been practicing karate for more than 6 years, and now at the sixth level (green belt) of the Okinawa Goju-Ryu Karatedo Kugekai. Though I haven’t earned my Black Belt yet, I am deeply passionate about my training.