Japanese Terminology

Rules of pronunciation can be found at the bottom of this post.  Terms with the play button can be clicked for pronunciation.

Japanese English Category
Age Zuki
Rising punch Strikes
Thank you Commands & Etiquette
Arigato Gozaimashita
Thank you very much Commands & Etiquette
Foot or leg Body Parts
Ashi Barai
Foot sweep Throws & Takedowns
Atemi Waza
Striking technique, or attacking vital areas Strikes
Applied pressure Miscellaneous
Ashi Sabaki
Foot work Technique
Martial arts Miscellaneous
Buji Sensitivity Miscellaneous
Bunkai Application of form, study of martial arts techniques Miscellaneous
Samurai or warrior Miscellaneous
Bushido Way of the warrior or warrior way Miscellaneous
Strength or power Miscellaneous
Chudan Uke Middle block Blocks
Chudan Soto Uke
Outside middle block Blocks
Chudan Uchi Uke
Inside middle block Blocks
Chudan Zuki
Middle punch Strikes
Black belt grade Rank
Student or pupil Rank
Dou  or Do
Way or path (Dao or Tao in Chinese).  Used to describe one’s chosen path through life, such as Bushido, ‘way of the warrior,’ or Karate-do ‘way
of the empty hand.’
Do Itashimashite
You are very welcome Miscellaneous
‘Way place,’ school, or place of enlightenment Miscellaneous
Please Miscellaneous
Embussen The floor pattern of a Kata Technique
Elbow Body Parts
Empi Uchi Elbow Strike Strikes
Fudo Dachi
Immoveable stance, not moving stance, heels together feet at 45 degree angles Stances
Fumikomi Geri
Stomping kick Kicks
Gedan Zuki
Low punch Strikes
Gyaku Zuki
Reverse punch Strikes
Gedan Uke
Low block Blocks
Praying position Miscellaneous
Traditional Karate uniform first used in Judo Miscellaneous
Godan Fifth degree black belt Rank
The way of self-defense Miscellaneous
Gyaku Te
Reverse hand Miscellaneous
Stomach or belly Body Parts
Hiji Elbow Body Parts
Knee Body Parts
Haku Tsuru Dachi
Hooked crane or white crane stance Stances
Hanmae Kiba Dachi
Half front horse or straddle stance Stances
Heisoku Dachi
Attention stance, feet together stance Stances
Hachiji Dachi
Spread out stance, feet shoulder width.  (literally the number 8 stance because the stance looks like the character for the number 8) Stances
Hadaka Jime Naked choke Technique
Eighth dan or above, master of style Rank
Snake Animal
Heno To react without thinking Miscellaneous
Hi Neri
Twist Miscellaneous
Left Direction
Twisting Miscellaneous
Leopard fist Technique
Leopard Animal
Hai Shu
Back of hand block Blocks
Hantaihantai_small Opposite Direction
Harai (-Barai) Parry or block (Barai when used with a prefix) Blocks
Haito Ridge hand.  A open hand strike using the index finger side of the hand.  Opposite striking surface to a Shuto. Strikes
Yes Commands & Etiquette
Hajime Command meaning to begin. Commands & Etiquette
I will Commands & Etiquette
Iie No Commands & Etiquette
Ibuki Form of breathing, hard breathing,
synchronization of the breath and body action
Ippon One point Miscellaneous
Ippon Kumite Kata One point fighting form Technique
Irimi Entering technique Throws & Takedowns
Joseki Upper side of dojo on the left side the kamiza (right when facing the kamiza, opposite of Shimoseki) Direction
Ju Ten Numbers
Jyu Jyutsu Science of softness.  Empty hand techniques developed by the Samurai.  (Sometimes spelled as Ju Jutsu, Jiu-Jitsu and Ju Jitsu) Miscellaneous
Jyutsu Art or skill (Sometimes spelled as Jutsu). Miscellaneous
Juji GatameJuji-gatame_small Cross arm bar on the ground Technique
Jodan Uke High block Blocks
Juji Uke X block Blocks
Kaiten-Nage Rotary throw Throws & Takedowns
Kubi Nage Neck throw Throws & Takedowns
Kake Uke Hooking block Blocks
Kakiwake Uke Wedge block Blocks
Kakuto Uke Bent wrist block, crane hand block Blocks
Keito Uke Inside wrist block Blocks
Kaeshu Reversals or counters Technique
Kake Hook.  Also the final movement or executions of a throw. Miscellaneous
Kamae Posture or ready position Miscellaneous
Kamiza “Seat of the deity,” the spiritual center of the dojo. Miscellaneous
Kansetsu Joint, as in knee joint or elbow joint. Body Part
Karate Empty hand Miscellaneous
Karate-do Empty hand way Miscellaneous
Karate-ka A practitioner of Karate Miscellaneous
Kata Prearranged self-defense movements in a set pattern, a form Miscellaneous
Kesa-Gatame Position from Judo. Means “scarf hold.” You are sitting in side position putting pressure on opponent’s chest while one arm secures his head, and your other secures his near arm. Technique
Ki Japanese word for energy (Qi  or Chi in Chinese).  Often used to describe the intrinsic life-force energy that many believe animates the body and can be directed and extended through mental focus. Miscellaneous
Kiai Shout to focus energy, develop spirit and disorient opponent Technique
Kihon Basic Technique
Kime Focus Miscellaneous
Kobushi Ate Striking vulnerable & paralyzing areas, also
known as Utsu
Kohai Student of Budo who trains under the direction of a
Kote Aite Body conditioning, arm pounding drills Technique
Kotegaeshi Bending the forearm away from the body through control of the wrist Technique
Kumite Sparring or fighting Miscellaneous
Kun Creed Miscellaneous
Kuro Obi Black belt Rank
Kuzushi Balance Miscellaneous
Kyoku Strength of the technique alone Miscellaneous
Kyoshi Martial art’s title referring to an expert teacher of 6th Dan or above who has attained a degree of inner perfection. Rank
Kyoshu Jitsu Striking vital points or pressure point techniques Miscellaneous
Keiko Ken Zuki
Forefinger knuckle punch Strikes
Kagato Geri Axe or heel kick Kicks
Kake Geri Hook kick Kicks
Keage Snap kick Kicks
Keri (-Geri)Geri_small Kick (Geri when used with a prefix) Kicks
Keri Waza Kicking technique Kicks
Kake Dachi Hooked leg stance Stances
Kagato Heel of foot Body Parts
Kiba Dachi Straddle stance or horse stance Stances
Kon Ban Wa Good evening Commands & Etiquette
Ko Neko Dachi Long cat stance Stances
Kokutsu Dachi Back stance Stances
Kosa Dachi Crossed leg stance Stances
Mae Geri Front kick Kicks
Mae Kekomi Geri Front thrust kick Kicks
Mae Tobi Geri Jump front kick Kicks
Mawashi Geri Round house kick Kicks
Mawashi Tobi Geri Jump round house kick Kicks
Mikazuki Geri Crescent kick Kicks
Morote Uke Augmented forearm block or double block Blocks
Mitsurin Dachi Leopard or jungle stance Stances
Musubi Dachi Preparation stance, heels together & toes out Stances
Maai Distance between you and your opponent Miscellaneous
Makiwara Striking post Miscellaneous
Matte Wait, stop Commands & Etiquette
Migi Right (as in side) Direction
Morote Jime Two handed choke Technique
Neko Ashi Dachi Cat leg stance Stances
Ne Wazanewaza_small Ground work, or ground technique Technique
Nihon Nukite Two finger strike Strikes
Four finger strike or spear hand Strikes
Naotte As you were, return to the previous position Commands & Etiquette
Nage The thrower in a throwing technique Throws & Takedowns
Nage Waze Throwing techniques Throws & Takedowns
Oi Zuki
Chase punch or lunge punch Strikes
Osae Uke Pressing block Blocks
O-Goshi Major hip throw Throws & Takedowns
O-Soto-Gari Major outer reap Throws & Takedowns
Otoshi Drop or throw down Throws & Takedowns
Onegai Shimasu Please teach me Commands & Etiquette
Otagai Ni Rei Bow to each other Commands & Etiquette
Obi Belt Miscellaneous
Osaekomi Hold down Technique
Ryochi Intuitive wisdom Miscellaneous
Ryu Style, as in a particular style of an art Miscellaneous
Rei Bow Commands & Etiquette
Shotei Uchi
Palm heel strike Strikes
Edge of hand strike Strikes
Sayonara Goodbye Commands & Etiquette
Shugo Line up Commands & Etiquette
Sumimasen Excuse me Commands & Etiquette
Satori Enlightenment; understanding Miscellaneous
Seiza Formal sitting position with lower legs folded under you Miscellaneous
Sempai Senior Student Rank
Seoi-Nage Shoulder throw Throws & Takedowns
Sen Before, initiative Miscellaneous
Sen No Sen Attacking at the moment of opponent’s attack Miscellaneous
Sensei Teacher (Lit. One who has gone before) Rank
Shi Four – also pronounced Yon (Shi also means death so Japanese tend to switch – After 4 the number is usually referred to as Yon – Ju Yon (Fourteen) Yon Ju (Forty) Yon Ju Yon (Forty Four), etc.) Numbers
Shihan One who points the way, Master level instructor, Instructor of instructors Rank
Shime (-Jime) Choking (Jime when used with a prefix) Technique
Shimoseki Lower side of dojo on the right side the kamiza (left when facing the kamiza, opposite of Joseki) Direction
Shomen To the front Direction
Seiken Forefist Body Parts
Sokuto Edge of foot Body Parts
Sanchin Dachi Hourglass stance with toes pointed inward Stances
Shiko Dachi Horse stance with feet turned out at a 45º angle Stances
Shizen Tai Dachi Natural Stance – Also referred to as Hachiji Dachi or Hachinoji Dachi (literally the number 8 stance because the stance looks like the character for the number 8) Stances
Sukui Uke Scooping block Blocks
Tachi (-Dachi) Stance (Dachi when used with a prefix such as Kiba Dachi) Stances
Tako Calluses Body Parts
Tanden Physical center of gravity in the body Body Parts
Te Hand, also used to describe martial arts indigenous to Okinawa Body Parts
Taezu Naru Waza Continuous motion technique Technique
Tai-Otoshi Body drop throw.  Tori drops in order to throw Uke. Throws & Takedowns
Tani-Otoshi “Valley drop” throw Throws & Takedowns
Tomoe-Nage Circle Throw Throws & Takedowns
Tsukuri A preparatory move or entry prior to making a throw Throws & Takedowns
Taisabaki Body movement or shifting, stepping and dodging Technique
Tate Zuki
Vertical punch Strikes
Tettui Zuki
Hammer fist strike Strikes
Tatsu Dragon hand Animal
Te Uke Chambered fist covered by other fist Technique
Tekatana Uke
Chambered fist covered by an open hand Technique
Tenkan Body pivoting or turning Technique
Tode Chinese hand.  An early name for Okinawan Karate. Miscellaneous
Tora Tiger Animal
Attacker Miscellaneous
Joint bending Technique
Tsuru Crane Animal
Tsuru Dachi Crane stance Stances
Tuite Grappling skills Miscellaneous
Tettui Uke Hammer fist block Blocks
Tsukami Uke Grasping block Blocks
Ude Osae Arm pinning through control of opponent’s elbow Technique
Defender or blocking Miscellaneous
Ura Zuki
Upper cut or no turn punch Strikes
Back fist Strikes
Ukemi Falling technique Throws & Takedowns
Ushiro Geri Back kick Kicks
Ushiro Kekomi Geri Back thrust kick Kicks
Ushiro Tobi Geri Jump spinning back kick Kicks
Striking vulnerable & paralyzing areas, also known as Kobushi Ate Technique
Technique Technique
Yoko Side Direction
Black belt holder, of dan rank Rank
Yame Stop immediately Commands & Etiquette
Yasume Relax Commands & Etiquette
Yoi “Stand by,” or “get ready” Commands & Etiquette
Yoko Geri Side kick Kicks
Yoko Kekomi Geri Side thrust kick Kicks
Yoko Tobi Geri Jump side kick Kicks
Yoshi Begin Commands & Etiquette
Continued alertness, remaining mind, extending ki Miscellaneous
Zazen Seated meditation Miscellaneous
Zenkutsu Dachi Lunge or forward stance Stances

Thank you to Jonathan Forrester Sensei who has undertaken to ensure the accuracy of these terms.

Basic rules of Japanese pronunciation (courtesy of Forrester Sensei): All vowels are pronounced.  There are no silent letters.  When there are double letters such as Matte – you pronounce them with a slight delay between the two (say tick-tock).  In this case Mat – te.  Vowels are always pronounced the same.  When two vowels are next to each other, each one gets pronounced.  There are no plural nouns – only plural personal pronouns.  Plurality is determined by a counter and a number and by context.