Japanese Translations

Instructor will say: Gokurasan (Go Ku Ra San)

Students Say: Gokurasama Deshita (Go-Ku-Ra Sa-Ma Desh-Ta)

The translation of this phrase is similar to:

  • Thank you for your hard work
  • I appreciate your hardships
  • You have worked hard
1.   Ichi (ee-chee)- One11.  Ju Ichi (joo ee-chee)- Eleven
2.  Ni (nee)- Two12.  Ju Ni (joo nee)- Twelve
3.  San (san)- Three13.  Ju San (joo san)- Thirteen
4.  Shi (she)- Four14.  Ju Shi (joo she)- Fourteen
5.  Go (go)- Five15.  Ju Go (joo go)- Fifteen
6.  Roku (row-ku)- Six16.  Ju Roku (joo row-ku)- Sixteen
7.  Shichi (see-chee)- Seven17.  Ju Shichi (joo see-chee)- Seventeen
8.  Hachi (ha-chee)- Eight18.  Ju Hachi (joo ha-chee)- Eighteen
9.  Ku (koo)- Nine19.  Ju Ku (joo koo)- Nineteen
10.  Ju (joo)- Ten20.  Ni Ju (nee joo)- Twenty

The word dachi (da-chee) will usually be used when referring to a stance.

Hachiji Dachi (ha-chee-jee dah-chee)- Ready stance – Natural Stance. Feet shoulder width apart and hands slightly out in front of you.

Musubi Dachi (moo-sue-bee dah-chee)- Attention stance a heisoku dachi with the toes pointed outward.

Yoi (yoo-ee)- command given to stand in – Prepare stance. Feet together at 45 degrees. Left hand on top of right. Both hands in front of body at belt knot height.

Heisoku Dachi (hay-sow-koo dah-chee)- Feet Together Stance. Feet together and hands on your side. 

Nai Hanchi Dachi (niee hahn-chee dah-chee)- Horse Stance. Both feet will move out to the side of the body instead of front or back. Pretend that you are riding a horse. Once the legs are out to the side, bend the knees and drop the buttocks closer to the floor. Both feet should be pointing forward. Keep your back straight.

Neko Ashi Dachi (nee-koh dah-chee)- This name means “cat stance”. Stand with your feet together. Point one straight and turn the other foot to an angle (45° angle). Take the foot that is straight and move it out one step, letting only the ball of the foot touch the floor. Now bend the back leg so that at least 80% of your weight is on it. From this position, you should be able to lift your front leg and balance on your back leg.

Moro Ashi Dachi (moor-oh aah-she dah-chee) Fighting stance.

Seisan Dachi (say-san dah-chee)- Forward Stance. “Bear stance” This stance is similar to the Front Stance (zenkutsu dachi), but its length is shorter. Both feet should be turned slightly inward.

Seiza (say-zah)- Sitting, kneeling. Both feet should be underneath the buttocks with both great toes touching. Hands can either on the upper thigh or on the knee.

Shiko dachi (she-koh dah-chee)- This stance is performed the same as the nai hanchi dachi but instead of the feet pointing straight forward, they are pointed out and away from the body.

Zenkutsu dachi (zen-koo-tsue dah-chee)- Front Stance. One leg forward and one leg back, shoulder width apart. The front knee will be bent until you can’t see your toes and the back leg will be straight. Both feet should be pointing forward.

Fudo Dachi (foo-do dah-chee)- Immovable stance. This stance is formed from the front stance (zenkutsu dachi) by bending the back leg slightly and twisting the hips so that the trunk is rotated away from a full front position.

Kokutsu Dachi (ko-kot-sue dah-chee)- Back stance. Keep feet in a similar position to zenkutsu. Most of your weight is on the back leg.


Zuki (zoo-key)- punch.

Gyaku Zuki (gya-koo zoo-key)- reverse punch.

Empi Uchi (em-pee oo-chee)- elbow strike

Shuto (shoo-toe)- knife hand – Outside of hand

Haito (hi-toe)- knife hand – Inside of hand

Hiji Ate (he-gee ah-tay)- elbow smash.

Kentsui (ken-t-sue-ee)- hammer fist.

Teisho (tay-show) OR Shotei (show-tay)- palm heel.

Haishu (hi-shoo)- back of hand.

Kaku Zuki (kah-koo zoo-key)- square punch, ex. Nai Hanchi Shodan.

Morote Zuki (moh-row-tay zoo-key)- double punch.

Nukite (noo-key-tay)- spear hand.

Oi Zuki (oh-ee zoo-key)- lunge punch.

Seiken Zuki (say-ken zoo-key)- straight punch.

Tate Zuki (tah-tay zoo-key)- vertical punch.

Tettsui (tay-t-sue-ee)- hammer fist.

Tsuki Te (tsu-key tah)- hand strike

Uchi Te (oo-chee tay)- the hand doing the striking.

Ura Zuki (oo-rah zoo-key)- close punch.

Uraken (ree-kin)- back fist.

Yama Zuki (yah-mah zoo-key)- U punch.


Age Uke (Ah-geh oo-key) upward block

Awase Uke (ah-wah-say oo-key) – joined hand block

Chudan Uke (chew-dahn oo-key)- outward middle forearm block

Gedan Barai (geh-dahn bah-rye)- downward block

Hasami Uke (ha-sah-may oo-key)- scissor block.

Jodan Uke (jo-dahn oo-key) – upward block

Kosa Uke (co-sah oo-key)- cross block.

Morote Uke (moe-row-teh oo-key)- augmented forearm block, wedge block

Shotei Uke (sho-tye oo-key)- palm heel block

Shuto Uke (shoo-toh oo-key – knife hand block

Soto Uke (so-toh oo-key)- inward middle forearm block

Uchi Uke (oo-chee oo-key) – inward block


Geri (geh-rhee)- kick.

Mae Geri (mah-eh geh-rhee)- front kick

Mae Geri Kakato (mah-eh geh-rhee kah-kah-toe)- front kick with the heel.

Mae Geri Koshi (mah-eh geh-rhee ko-she)- front kick with the ball of the foot.

Mawashi Geri (mah-wha-she geh-rhee)- round kick with the top of the foot.

Mawashi Geri Koshi (mah-wha-she geh-rhee ko-she)- round kick with the ball of the foot.

Sokuto Geri (sow-koo-too geh-rhee)- side kick with the blade or edge of the foot.

Yoko Geri (yoh-koh geh-rhee)- side kick with the heel.

Ushiro Geri (oo-she-row geh-rhee)- back kick.

Mikazuki Geri (mik-ah zoo-key geh-rhee)- crescent kick.

Keage (key-ah-gay)- snap.

Kekomi (key-ko-mee)- thrust.


Atama (ah-tah-mah)- head.

Ashi (ah-she)- foot and/or leg.

Empi (en-pe)- elbow

Hana (hah-nah)- nose

Hiji (he-gee)- elbow.

Hittsui (hit-sue-ee) OR Hiza (he-zah)- knee.

Kakato (kah-kah-toe)- heel

Hara (hah-rah)- In Japanese culture, the center of a person’s being/consciousness. Located approximately two inches below the navel.

Karada (kah-rah-dah)- body

Ken (ken)- fist.

Koshi (ko-she)- ball of the foot

Kubi (koo-bee)- neck

Me (meh)- eye.

Mune (moo-nee)- chest.

Nodo (no-dough)- throat.

Shinki (sheen-key)- nerve.

Sokuto (sow-kow-too)- edge of the foot

Suigetsu (see-gets)- solar plexus

Te (tay)- hand.

Tekubi (tay-koo-bee)- wrist

Ude (oo-day)- forearm


The following basic terms can be used in different phrases or even to form sentences. If you have any questions about the pronunciation of any of these terms, please ask.

Age (ah-gay)- rising.

Anza (ah-n-zah)- cross leg sitting.

Ashi (ah-she)- foot and/or leg.

Atama (ah-tah-mah)- head.

Ate (ah-tay)- smash.

Atemi (ah-tay-mee)- concentrated destructive power.

Barai (bah-rye)- to parry.

Bogu (bo-goo)- protective equipment used during fighting or practicing with weapons.

Bu (boo)- military.

Budo (boo-doe)- military way or way of fighting (ex. Judo, Kendo, Kyudo, Karate-do, Kobudo).

Budo ka (boo-doe-kha)- military art practitioner.

Bunkai (boon-kai)- hidden meaning, an interpretation of the techniques performed in kata.

Chikara (chee-kha-rha)- strength.

Chudan (chew-dahn)- middle, ex. chest and stomach area.

Chuden (chew-den)- intermediate level of instruction.  Usually when pertaining to bunkai instruction.

Do (doe)- way.

Dojo (doe-joe)- school. Literally “place of the Way.” Also “place of enlightenment.” The place where we practice Karate. Traditional etiquette prescribes bowing in the direction of the designated front of the dojo (Shomen) whenever entering or leaving the dojo.

Embusen (em-boo-sen) – floor pattern of a given kata.

Empi (en-pe)- elbow

Gedan (geh-dahn)- low, ex. anything below the obi.

Genki (gehn-key)- vigor; energy.

Hajime (ha-gee-may)- begin.

Hana (hah-nah)- nose

Hanshi (hahn-shee) – “Master.” An honorary title given to the highest Black Belt of an organisation, signifying their understanding of their art.

Hara (hah-rah)- In Japanese culture, the center of a person’s being/consciousness. Located approximately two inches below the navel.

Hidari (he-dah-ray)- left.

Hiji (he-gee)- elbow.

Hittsui (hit-sue-ee) OR Hiza (he-zah)- knee.

Jodan (joe-dahn)- high, ex. the head.

Ju (joo)- flexibility.

Kakato (kah-kah-toe)- heel

Kamae (kah-may)- fighting posture.

Kan (con)- house or hall.

Karada (kah-rah-dah)- body

Karategi (kah-rah-teh-gee)- a uniform.

Karateka (kah-rah-teh-kah)- Someone who practices karate.

Kata (kah-tah)- The formal patterns that are the backbone of karate training. Kata develops form, style, balance, speed, and control. Kata trains the individual in alertness of mind and body.

Ken (ken)- fist.

Kenpo (kem-po) OR Kempo (kem-po)- “Law of the Fist”

Ki (key) OR Qi (key)- intrinsic energy, a hidden strength that everyone possesses.

Kiai (kee-ii)- “spirit joining”.

Kiotsuke (key-oot-skay)- a command given to stand in musubi dachi (a heisoku dachi with the toes pointed outward and hands by your side).

Kobudo (ko-boo-doe)- weapons.

Koshi (ko-she)- ball of the foot

Kotekitae (koh-tey-key-tay)- a traditional method of body conditioning.

Kubi (koo-bee)- neck

Kumite (koo-me-tay)- fighting.

Kuzushi (koo-zoo-she)- to unbalance.

Kyu (quu)- the rank under black belt.

Kyusho (kuu-show)- striking point, vital point

Maai (mah-aye)- distancing.

Makiwara (mah-key-war)- a hard object used for striking, usually made of wood or braided straw, used to strengthen hands and improve focus.

Matte (mat-tay)- stop.

Mawate (may-wah-tay)- turn.

Me (meh)- eye.

Migi (me-gee)- right.

Mokuso (mok-so)- meditate.

Muchimi (moo-chee-me) To “stick” or “adhere” to an opponent without actually grabbing. Muchimi is mostly done with the forearms, though other parts of the body (in particular, the legs) are also used.

Mune (moo-nee)- chest.

Nage (nah-gay)- throw.

Nodo (no-dough)- throat.

Obi (o-be)- belt.

Okinawa Te (o-key-nah-wah tay)- the original Okinawa fist art.

Okuden (oh-koo-den) – “Secret Teaching”. Usually used in relation to instruction in bunkai.

Rei (ray)- formal bowing.

Reigi Zaho (ray-gee zah-hoe)- courtesy or manners.

Renshu (rin-shoe)- to train, practice, drill, etc.

Ryu (roo)- school.

Ryu-ha (roo-ha)- style.

Senpai (sin-pie)- senior student

Sensei (sin-say)- teacher or “those who have gone before”

Shihan (shee-hahn)- “teacher of teachers” senior instructor or dojo director

Shinki (sheen-key)- nerve.

Shita (she-tah)- down.

Shoden (show-den) – basic level of instruction. Usually used in relation to instruction in bunkai.

Skashi (skah-she)- to avoid.

Sokuto (sow-kow-too)- edge of the foot

Suigetsu (see-gets)- solar plexus

Tachimas (tah-key-mahs)- to rise or stand up.

Tai Sabaki (tie sah-bah-key)- body movement

Te (tay)- hand.

Tekubi (tay-koo-bee)- wrist

Tori (toe-ree)- a term given to the “aggressor” when working with a partner.

Tuite (too-it-tay)- grappling techniques

Ude (oo-day)- forearm

Uke (oo-key)- a term given to the “defender” when working with a partner.

Ukemi (oo-kee-me)- break fall.

Uye (oo-ee)- up.

Waza (wah-zah)- technique.