Terms that we use when we practice. 

Some of the terminology presented here is divided into:

Standard forms – terms which are in everyday KDS usage

General – terms which are correct and part of KDS practise but are generally not referred to by their Japanese name.

Miscellaneous terms – terms which appear in Karate-Do Kyohan or have been used in the past and so are included for completeness and interest.

Training aids

Bo – wooden staff 
Bokken – wooden sword 
Shinai – bamboo sword 
Tanto – wooden knife
Makiwara – striking post


Standard forms

Kihon – basic training
Kata – forms
Kumite – engagement match
Ten no Kata – basic (universal) application
Ippon kumite – one step engagement (sparring)
Sanbon kumite – three step engagement (sparring)
Jiyu kumite – free engagement (sparring)
Jiyu ippon kumite – free one step engagement (sparring)


Gobon kumite – five step engagement (sparring)


Gedan – low level 
Chudan – mid level 
Jodan – upper level


Standard forms

Zenkutsu dachi – front stance
Kokutsu dachi – back stance
Kiba dachi – straddle leg (“horse riding”) stance
Fudo dachi – rooted or immovable stance
Nekoashi dachi – cat leg stance


Heisoku dachi – feet together stance
Hachiji dachi – natural stance
Choju dachi – ‘T’ stance
Gankaku dachi – crane stance
Hangetsu dachi – half moon stance
Yamagamae – mountain posture

Miscellaneous terms

Tachikata – stance
Seiza – kneeling position

Hand / arm techniques (defences)

Standard forms

Gedan barai – downward sweep block
Age uke – rising block
Ude uke – forearm block
Uchikomi – hammer striking block
Taisho barai – palm heel sweep block
Shuto-barai – sword hand sweep block
Shuto uke – sword hand block
Morote-uke – both hands block (augmented block)
Hiki-te – pulling hand, pulling-in block


Suikui-te – scooping block
Kake-te – hooking block
Harai-te – sweeping block
Kakae-te – trapping block
Kakewake – opening block
Uchi-te – striking block
Uchi uke – forearm block
Kosa-uke – cross block
Mizu-nagare – water flowing
Osai-uke – pressing block

Miscellaneous terms

Uke – block
Barai – sweep
Te waza – hand techniques
Uke-te – hand blocks (arm blocks)
Shuto – sword hand

Hand / arm techniques (striking)

Standard forms

Oi tsuki – front (forward) punch
Gyaku tsuki – reverse punch
Empi – elbow attack
Uraken – back fist strike
Tettsui – hammer fist strike
Morote-zuki – double fist attack


Seiken – regular fist
Ippon ken – single point fist
Hiraken – flat fist
Renzuki – continuous punching
Ippon zuki – one finger thrust
Nihon zuki – two finger thrust
Shihon zuki – four finger thrust
Nukite – spear hand
Shihon nukite – four finger spear hand

Miscellaneous terms

Tsuki-te – hand attacks
Tsuki – fist thrust attack
Teisho – palm heel
Te waza – hand techniques

Kicking (attacking)

Standard forms

Mae-geri – front kick
Yoko-geri – side kick
Yoko-geri keage (Keage) – side-up kick
Kekomi – side thrust kick
Fumikomi – stamp-in kick
Mawashi-geri – roundhouse kick
Nami-gaeshi – returning wave
Nidan geri – double jump kick


Hiza-tsuchi – knee strike
Ushiro-geri – back kick
Tobi geri – jump kick
Sokuto – sword foot

Miscellaneous terms

Ashi waza – foot techniques

Kicking (defending)

Standard forms

Mikazuki-geri (Ori) – crescent moon kick


Ashi barai – foot sweep


Standard forms

Irimi – entrance


Embu sen – line of movement (Kata forms)

Yori-ashi – sliding feet

Miscellaneous terms

Sankaku tobi – triangle leap


Shorin-ryu forms

Taikyoku – First Cause

  • Shodan (1st)
  • Nidan (2nd)
  • Sandan (3rd)

Heian – Peaceful Mind

  • Shodan (1st)
  • Nidan (2nd)
  • Sandan (3rd)
  • Yodan (4th)
  • Godan (5th)

Bassai – To Penetrate a Fortress

  • Dai (Minor)
  • Sho (Major)

Kanku – To Look at the Sky

  • Dai (Minor)
  • Sho (Major)

Empi – Flying Swallow

Gankaku – Crane on a Rock

Shorei-ryu forms

Tekki – Horse Riding

  • Shodan (1st)
  • Nidan (2nd)
  • Sandan (3rd)

Jutte – Ten Hands

Hangetsu – Half Moon

Jion – named after a Buddhist temple


Jiin – named after a Buddhist saint

Meikyo – Mirror of the Soul

Nijushiho – Twenty Four Steps

Sochin – Preserve the Peace

Goju Kata



Bo Kata

Shu Shi No Kon


Nage waza – throwing techniques
Byobudaoshi – topple a folding screen
Komanage – spinning top
Kubiwa – encircle the neck
Kata waguruma – half wheel
Tsubamegaeshi – V-turning swallow
Yaridama – spear a ball
Taniotoshi – push off a cliff
Sakatsuchi – hammer upside down


Sei – regular 
Ki – irregular 
Tuski-te – attacker
Uke-te – defender 
Hente – changing hands
Morote – both hands 
Tori-te – escape techniques
Kime – focus 
Kimete – deciding blow 
Sente – no first hand 
Go no sen o toru – defence equals offence 
Tai no shinshuku – expanding and contracting the body
Yoi – ready 
Yame – stop 
Yasume – rest 
Zanshin – remaining mind 
Mokusoo – meditation 
Dojo – training / practice hall
Karateka – karate student
Gi – karate suit
Dan – black belt
Kyu – coloured belt
Sensei – teacher / master